Description   Ball bearings are used to provide smooth, low friction motion in rotary applications. Ball bearings are able to provide high performance and long lifetime in order to transfer the load from the balls to the inner races. The balls have minimal contact with the inner and outer races due to their spherical shape and this allows them to spin smoothly.   A disadvantage of ball bearings is that the balls can become "flattened" over time with too much pressure on the...
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Q & A on Ball Bearings

We asked our users for their input on Ball Bearings. Here are the results of 165 users familiar with Ball Bearings.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing ball bearing design?
17 answers
Answers:
Titanium coated, carbon fiber spacers, nylon spacers, bronze spacers, silver spacers, ceramic balls, ceramic blended, full ceramic (balls and tracks), Titanium seals, inox, polished or not.
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
I would imagine CAD/CAM and other computer based software.
~Troy J, Manufacturer, Burbank, CA
Any designs that save on space and manufacturing costs.
~Jennie F, Design Engineer, Windsor, Canada
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative ball bearings?
20 answers
Answers:
I'm most familiar with Emerson, Timken, Baldor, SKF, NSK. As for the most innovative, I must admit, we are bound to the specs we are given and haven't researched new technologies regarding these products.
~Jennie F, Design Engineer, Windsor, Canada
I don't know, you tell me. I usually prefer NSK as they usually are the cheapest. (still not cheap)
~Troy J, Manufacturer, Burbank, CA
NSK, Tiramic, SKF, Nachi, Ceramicspeed, Barden, Fafnir, Koyo and Fag
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used ball bearings for?
44 answers
Answers:
Nuclear Power Crafts Turbines/Electric Generators/ Hydro-electric generators, Ships/submarine transmission, locomotives,train wagons, subways,elevators, tractors, cranes, buses, trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, industrial machines, tool machines,heavy doors, upsters/moval ladders,conveyor belts, hospital/medical equipments, electric tools, electric engines, wash machines, rollers, skates, amusement park toys, etc
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
CNC machine repair/ rebuild, including spindle assemblies, ball screw thrust bearings and anywhere a bearing assembly can be found on a lathe or machining center. This includes coolant pumps, encoder housings etc.
~Troy J, Manufacturer, Burbank, CA
In my hands on experience on the design and development of agricultural machines such as rice threshers, rice harvesters, seed cleaners, rice flour mills, and small power tillers.
~Ricardo O, Design Engineer, Munoz Science City, Philippines
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that ball bearings have been used for.
17 answers
Answers:
We have an application in which we use a bearing that is approximately 2.9" OD and 2.5" ID. To get a bearing with this small of a cross section we are forced to purchase aircraft quality bearings and they are very expensive even though our application doesn't justify the extra precision of the aircraft bearings.
~Larry R, Technical Support, Findlay, OH
Experimental aviation buildings, home and commerce windows, home clothes line, home clothes horse, alpinist equipments, small electric wreckers, automatic curtains, pallets with bearings, protection canvas for windows glasses with electric engine and bearings, engine oil pumps, heavy drawers, heavy lockers.
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
Use of bearings under the following conditions: a. Corrosive environment (locally fabricated transmission systems for pump boats in developing countries) b. high temperature conditions (moving parts for gasifiers/pyrolysers
~Ricardo O, Design Engineer, Munoz Science City, Philippines
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of ball bearings?
14 answers
Answers:
I once bought a horizontal machining center used (as is) and the spindle housing was fitted with 6000 series bearings. Sure, the spindle rotated freely and sounded fine with no load. Try to mill or drill with it and lets just say it was mush.
~Troy J, Manufacturer, Burbank, CA
No, but I have been perceiving that the wrong ball bearing will not produce satisfaction for the purchaser, because the durability will be short, and It will produce a inconvenient noise, without the smooth and suavity when working.
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
Premature failure due to wrong application. Several instances where excessive machine downtime were incurred due to wrong bearing type (sealed vs. non, etc.) selected.
~Facilities Manager, Grand Prairie, TX
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
20 answers
Answers:
It would be nice to find a bearing that is on all our customers' specs. If this were the case, we would eventually be able to consider ourselves "experts", and be familiar with the different bearings and their capabilities.
~Jennie F, Design Engineer, Windsor, Canada
1. Bearings that could withstand at high temperatures, and/or highly corrosive environments 2. frictionless bearings? 3. air suspended bearings (similar feature as maglev?)
~Ricardo O, Design Engineer, Munoz Science City, Philippines
I wold like to ride a Bicycle with Si3N4 full keramic ball bearings in all the move components, when I believe that the mechanic attrition/friction/ will be near zero.
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of ball bearings?
17 answers
Answers:
Yes, they need to consult an specialist in ball bearings, if possible, or consult a bearing table/ manual /guide, to see if the bearing is convenient/appropriate/ adequate for the application that they need.
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
Choose a main stream mfg (American or European, not Chinese) when purchasing bearings for hi speed/load applications. Don't be cheap. You'll regret it
~Brad E, Facilities Manager, San Diego, CA
If you don't understand the terminology/ identifiers in a part #, ASK about each and every number and letter and its significance.
~Troy J, Manufacturer, Burbank, CA
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using ball bearings?
16 answers
Answers:
Yes! The people who are purchasing a ball bearing would like to know more about Abec; and have more knowledge about bearings technology!
~Luiz de Oliveira Hirth H, Meteorologist/ Mechanic, São Paulo SP, Brazil
Don't use sealed bearings when can use oil in lubrication or if only sealed bearing is available, remove seals, last much longer.
~Veli K, Technical Support, Helsinki, Finland
Be aware of sealed versus shielded bearings and the effect of viscous friction!
~Mike B, Engineer, Pittsburgh, PA
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