Shaft Bearings and Their Common Types

A shaft bearing is a common mechanical component, often placed within assemblies to bear applied loads while facilitating the rotational or sliding movement between parts. With their general, yet important, role, shaft bearings commonly find use in a wide variety of applications ranging from industrial machinery to aerospace vehicles. To accommodate a diverse set of industries and needs, shaft bearings come in various types and designs, each varying in its qualities and characteristics.

The plain bearing is one of the most common forms of shaft bearing, coming in the form of a simplistic, low cost element that features a cylindrical sleeve and internal shaft. The sleeve is generally constructed from a low friction material, that of which may be graphite, bronze, or plastic. The low friction material is crucial for the functionality of the shaft, allowing it to rotate within the sleeve. For more basic designs, plain bearing components are most often implemented within mechanical applications where ample lubrication and high tolerances are not necessary. Despite this, plain bearings often wear over time as a result of the surface contact between the sleeve’s inner diameter and shaft outer diameter, reducing the overall service life of such components.
Alongside plain bearings, rolling-element bearings are also quite commonplace. A rolling bearing is generally more complex than a plain bearing, featuring spheres or small cylinders that roll between races for the means of taking on loads, reducing friction, and permitting tighter mechanical tolerances. All rolling-element bearings consist of three primary components, those of which are the inner race, outer race, and rolling mechanical components placed between each. The ball bearing is a subtype of rolling-element bearing, featuring spheres between races that mitigate friction. For other types, the rolling elements may be less spherical as various cylindrical shaped rollers are common.
Depending on the environment that a shaft bearing will operate in, there are various accessories that one may take advantage of. For instance, contamination may be a concern in some installations, posing a risk to the health, performance, and lifespan of bearings. Through the use of seals and shields, internal components can be guarded as necessary. The size of the bearing itself is also an important aspect to consider as there is a wide variety of sizes that are in standard and metric values. Generally, one should always take into account operational speeds, lubrication requirements, size, weight, costs, safety, applied loads, bearing surface values, and much more.
If one requires a more robust option for an aircraft or automotive assembly, a high precision shaft bearing will often provide for increased reliability and extended service intervals. Nevertheless, such quality bearings will often be more expensive than their standard counterparts, making the choice a balance between requirements and cost. Regardless of whether you are searching for new bearings, replacement components, or are simply viewing the market, there is no better sourcing solution than Simplified Purchasing.
Simplified Purchasing is a website owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we offer customers access to over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find products that have been sourced from leading global manufacturers that we trust. Take the time to explore our expansive set of offerings as you see fit, and our team is always ready to assist you with customized quotes for your comparisons and unmatched lead times. Even if you are facing a time constraint and need parts fast, we can expedite the shipping process using our expansive supply chain network stretching across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Experience the future of part procurement today with Simplified Purchasing when you get in touch with one of our representatives. 


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