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Different Types of Linear Bearings and Their Capabilities

Bearings are a standard element of countless applications where moving assemblies are present, serving to facilitate motion while deterring the friction that generates as surfaces slide across one another. If an application features components that traverse in a straight direction, then linear bearings may be the best choice for their ability to maintain precision and repeatability. Across the market, there are a number of linear bearings that may be chosen from, those of which differ in their design and load capacities. In this blog, we will discuss the common forms of rolling and plain linear bearings that are used in a variety of systems, ensuring that you have the knowledge to find the best solution for your needs.

Most linear bearing components are of the roller bearing variety, and such hardware will generally have a minor frictional surface that assists in maintaining linear motion. Rolling linear bearings function through the use of rolling elements, those of which may be balls or rollers that are implemented between the races of the component. Typically, the linear speed of the bearing will correspond to the diameter of the ball or roller, and speed will increase alongside the size of the rolling element. Loading capacity, on the other hand, is defined by the contact angle which is measurable from the bearing’s horizontal.

While there are a number of rolling linear bearing subtypes, the two most notable are ball bearings and needle linear bearings. Ball bearings are those with balls as their rolling elements, those being made from metals such as steel. As the most common type of rolling linear bearings, ball bearings are known for their high precision, ample service life, and low friction coefficient. Meanwhile, needle linear bearings feature cylindrical rollers instead of balls, and this allows for a load to be spread out over an increased number of smaller rollers. While this bolsters their contact area and mitigates deformation, the design of needle linear bearings causes them to have more stiffness in operation. Nevertheless, this can be beneficial based on the application in question.

Plain linear bearings are devoid of any rolling elements, meaning that they perform their duties through the sliding contact of two surfaces. With a more simplistic design, plain linear bearing components are cheaper, and they have a larger contact area to reduce surface pressure. With their various design differences, plain linear bearings are known to be lighter and more shock absorbent at the cost of facing more friction and wear.

Plain linear bushings are a common subtype of linear bearing, and they feature hollow cylinders with a shaft guide rail sliding across their inner surface. To deter friction, the inner surface will be coated with self-lubricating compounds. Plain linear bearings are often used for light and medium-duty applications where they take on axial and radial loads. As compared to other solutions, plain linear bearings may have a lower load capacity.

Whether you require plain linear bearings, rolling linear bearings, or other various types of industrial hardware parts, let the experts at Stacked Industrials help you procure all you require with ease. We carry over 2 billion ready-to-purchase parts on our website, and we have organized our inventory to make it as easy as possible for you to find all your requirements. With our purchasing power and market expertise, we can provide competitive pricing and rapid lead times that ensure you meet your time constraints. Get started on the procurement process today with the submission of a completed Request for Quote form as provided on our website, or give us a call or email to get in touch with a team member who would be more than happy to assist you however they can.


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