A guide to bearing parts

Few components of modern machinery are as important as bearings. They can be found in almost any machine or device that needs to move. Bearings and bearing parts allow rotation while reducing the stress caused by friction. In this guide, we’ll look at the parts that make up a bearing and any special considerations you should make when designing a bearing for your equipment or product.

Components of a bearing

– Outer race

The outer and inner races of a bearing form the housing in which the balls rest in the bearing. A groove is cut along the inner circumference of the race to hold the balls in place. The outer race can crack under extreme forces, so it is important to use materials that are up to the task when designing the outer race.

– Inner ring

The inner ring is a smaller ring that the shaft rides on and has a groove cut into the outer circumference rather than the inner circumference. It is located inside the outer ring, with the balls held in the bearing between the two rings. The grooves in the inner and outer rings allow the balls to roll freely but prevent them from falling out of the bearing. As with the outer ring, the durability of the material used is an important consideration for the inner ring.

– Bearing retainer

When it is necessary for balls to be a certain distance apart in the bearing – which is often the case – a bearing retainer is used to hold them in place. When the balls are in a bearing cap, they are still free to rotate on their axis, but they are no longer free to roll toward or away from each other.

– Bearing shields

Bearing shields seal the bearing and keep dust and other contaminants from reaching the critical components inside. In addition, bearing shields are also able to keep the bearing’s lubricant in place longer. For both of these reasons, bearing shields are essential to extending the life of your bearing. If dust or other particles get inside the bearing or the lubricant leaks out, friction and corrosion will quickly damage components like the balls and races. Bearing covers prevent this from happening.

– Balls

The balls, which are fixed between the inner and outer rings of the bearing, ensure that the bearing can rotate freely. Without them, friction between the races would quickly render the bearing unusable. However, it is important that the balls you put in your bearing are made to exact specifications, as a ball that is even slightly asymmetrical will reduce the effectiveness of your bearing. The surface quality of the balls is a critical factor, as it affects how smoothly they can rotate.  This affects the overall noise of the bearing, as well as the heat generated by friction, which can reduce the life of the bearing.

Sourcing high-quality components for your bearings

Bearings may be relatively simple in their design, but if one thing goes wrong, they will no longer function properly and can affect the performance of your entire machine or system. Therefore, when you are designing a bearing for a new product, it is critical to source high-quality components that are manufactured to exacting standards and from premium materials.