Choosing the right bearing for any given application is important to keep it in good working order and to get the most out of it in terms of performance. Using an incorrect bearing type can also cause wear and tear and lead to damage over time, compromising the lifespan of the equipment. Here are some of the main factors to consider when selecting the right bearing for an application:
- Load. This is perhaps the most important consideration as the bearing needs to be able to deal with the necessary load to perform as it should. There are three types of load: axial, which acts in the same direction as the shaft, radial, which is perpendicular to the shaft, and moment, a tilting load. The bearing needs to be able to deal with all types of load to make it suitable for the application in question.
- Tolerance. Tolerance classes need to be considered to find the right bearing. ISO and JIS standards are used to determine how well a bearing will fit and how well it will turn – for applications where precision is essential, select tolerance class 5 or higher.
- Rotation speed. The bearing’s size, cage, accuracy, lubrication, load and other factors will affect the rotation speed. Some of the bearings suitable for high-speed applications include deep groove ball bearings, cylindrical roller bearings and angular contact ball bearings.
- Friction. Ball bearings can have a smaller friction resistance than other kinds of bearings, such as ball bearings. Friction resistance changes depending on the load, so check specifications carefully.
- Rigidity. In some applications, more rigidity is needed, for example, machine tool spindles and final drives on autos. With preload, rigidity can be enhanced but the right bearing type is needed so this must come into the selection criteria.
- Temperature. Temperatures will change during operation so it’s important to know what they will reach. The bearing will need to be suitable, and its lubrication must be appropriate for the given internal temperatures of the application.
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