Different Types of Bearing To Design With
Types of Bearing, Design, and Functionality.
In short, bearings allow movement between a moving part and one that remains stationary or fixed. This mechanism can be extrapolated on in many ways in order to perform simple to complex tasks in an efficient manner. Bearings are found in countless products throughout every facet of daily life across every industry in the world. From skateboards to airplanes, from washing machines to construction cranes, this mechanism allows our world to both perform the seemingly mundane as well as increase our productivity and operating capacity in high tech industries.
There are many different types of bearings, depending on their function and application. Casing, materials, and functionality can vary greatly, as well as their structural design. Some bearings are designed for high-speed functionality, others are more geared at lasting a long time. Some are designed to operate underground and others are even designed to function efficiently in space. A common application for bearings is to simply optimize efficiency, provide functionality through rotation and movement, and keep a machine or product in working properly.
The Types of Bearing you select will improve overall the quality over time.
The evolution of the bearing did not happen overnight. As time goes on, engineers have devised new ways to implement current technologies in order to make bearings more efficient, functional and long lasting. There are many forms of bearings out there, and variations on the design have been used as far back as the ancient Egyptians. More recently, watchmakers have used this same principal with jewel bearings (usually produced from sapphire) to create timekeeping devices that function accurately. During the late 1800s, the production quality of the rolling elements used to reduce friction on the interior of bearings, drastically improved. Not only could the industry keep their manufacturing quality at a high level, but they could also do so in mass volume. There are a number of agencies today that certify manufacturers, and ensure they are meeting quality standards. For example, Levo Bearings has an ISO 901 certification (international certification), a special certification for standards in Europe, and an SBE certification.
Different Types of Bearing offers different benefits.
When two flat surfaces are rubbing against one another, there is a lot of friction created. Different kinds of rolling elements and internal materials can reduce this friction. But there are a number of other benefits that bearings can produce. They can increase efficiency by both reducing friction and also by increasing speed. These benefits also reduce the overall wear and tear on the machine, which will, in turn, extend the usability of the product in the long run. With this increased efficiency, the mechanism can also be designed to allow a product to operate at higher speeds. This becomes invaluable when creating such items as drills and energy-producing mechanisms. In addition, with the reduction of friction, this can help avoid overheating and ultimately reduces product failure.
Shape and material affect how the bearing can reduce friction.
There are many different shapes and materials that companies like Levo Bearings can use to reduce friction when engineering bearings. The case design of the actual bearing, or lack thereof, will depend on both the bearing’s application. Other factors include different shapes and materials. These are the 5 most common ways of achieving this reduction in material friction.
1. Changing the shape.
Certain types of bearing use spheres as the mechanism between the moving portion of the bearing, and the stationary portion. This is known as a rolling element. A common application of this application is ball bearings. Bearings can also use different shapes, like rollers or by forming flexure bearings.
2. Using different materials.
In ancient times, bearings were made out of different types of woods and ceramic materials. Modern bearings can use stainless steel, chrome steel, modern ceramic materials, low surface friction plastics, or hybrid solutions that combine materials.
3. Utilizing fluid.
Fluid can also serve as a medium between the stationary and movement portions of a bearing. This is a replacement for the functionality of a rolling element. This could be in the form of a lubricant, or possibly an efficient liquid material that has been pressurized. Case design and integrity play an important role in maintaining a fluid bearing over long periods of time.
4. The application of fields.
Electromagnetic fields can provide a consistent pressure inside a bearing. Like the fluid bearing, the field-based bearing uses a rolling element alternative to separate the fixed and non-fixed elements of the bearing.
5. Utilizing air pressure.
Not unlike the pressure that is created through the use of a pressurized liquid, bearings can also use air pressure as an alternative for a rolling element. For similar reasons, case design and integrity play an important role in maintaining a fluid bearing over long periods of time.
Design and function vary.
Not all bearings are created equal. Depending on what the part is needed for, the functionality of the bearing will be considerably different. Six primary forms of bearings exist, each with a unique design and function.
1. Plain bearing.
This type of bearing goes back a very long way, and is very simple conceptually. Depending on how these types of bearing are engineered, it can be highly inefficient, as it uses no rolling elements, or other alternatives to reduce friction. The basic principle of a bearing is still in place, being a fixed portion connecting to another that moves.
These are very common. Ball bearings and roller bearings are two very common types of this bearing type. As the name implies, they use a rolling element to separate the fixed and mobile portions of the bearing.
This type of bearing is a specific type of plain bearing. Like a plain bearing, this does not use any rolling elements or alternatives. This design relies on the material to be efficient. The material in this design is chosen because it has a very smooth, glass-like surface, capable of reducing internal friction. This material is generally a jewel, like sapphire. This bearing construction method is commonly used in watches as it is reliable enough to keep accurate time.
4. Fluid bearing.
The fluid bearing operates a bit differently than what we have looked at so far, though functionally it operates like a rolling element bearing. Not unlike the rolling element bearing, it has a material between two surfaces that keep them from touching. In this case, however, there is no actual rolling element. Instead, in this design, it has been replaced by lubrication or a pressurized liquid.
5. Magnetic bearing.
This type of bearing uses the power of electromagnetic fields to keep the two surfaces from touching, instead of an active rolling element. Since there is generally a very low threshold of friction (or more accurately no friction) in this type of design, it can be used for very advanced high-speed applications.
6. Flexure bearing.
There are certain types of bearing that replace the rolling element with a flexible load element cable of bending.
Different Types of Bearing allow different types of motion.
Bearings are capable of more than just reducing friction. They can also be engineered to create different types of motion. Listed below are 4 common types of motion that can be achieved through different applications of bearing engineering.
1. Axial rotation.
This is simply an object rotating around its own core. Utilizing the different materials and shapes mentioned above, this can be simple or quite complicated. A gear shaft is a common example of this, and it can be seen in many common household items.
2. Linear motion.
As implied by its name, this bearing will acts out movement in a straight line. Some great examples of this type of motion can be seen in our company’s linear modules.
3. Spherical rotation.
This type of rotation can be used in a number of applications. Rotation around a sphere can be used to accomplish something similar to a fully rotational ball and socket.
4. Hinge motion.
This can be most easily described as a common bending movement, like that of an elbow or a household door.