SKF Ball Bearings are used to provide smooth, low friction motion in rotary applications. Ball bearings are able to provide high performance and long lifetime in order to transfer the load from the balls to the inner races. The balls have minimal contact with the inner and outer races due to their spherical shape and this allows them to spin smoothly.
A disadvantage of ball bearings is that the balls can become "flattened" over time with too much pressure on the outer races leading to eventual failure. Therefore it is very important that the load ratings and other parameters are monitored regularly.
SKF Ball bearings are composed of four main parts: two rings (or races) the rolling elements (the balls), and the ball separator (retainer).
Radial ball bearings and angular contact bearings have an inner and outer ring. Radial ball bearings and angular contact bearings are designed to support loads perpendicular to the axis of rotation, referred to as radial loads. The outer race mounts into a housing and is stationary. This part also aids in the transfer of the radial load from the bearing to the housing. The inner race mounts onto a rotating shaft and supports and guides the shaft during rotation.
The rolling elements carry the load and distribute it throughout the raceways. The rolling elements rotate around the inner race, but not at the same speed as the rotation of the inner race.
The separator acts as a barrier between the balls preventing them from bumping into each other. Thrust bearings are designed to support loads parallel to the axis of rotation, referred to as axial loads. Thrust ball bearings have two rings of equal size.
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Ball Bearing types include:
Radial ball bearings - Radial ball bearings are designed to carry both radial and (light) axial (thrust) loads, while thrust ball bearings are designed for pure thrust loads only.
Deep groove - Radial, or deep groove bearings, can take radial and axial loads to varying degrees but are used when the primary load is in the radial direction. They consist of an inner ring, an outer ring, balls and sometimes a cage to contain and separate the balls.
Angular contact - Angular contact ball bearings are designed such that a contact angle between the races and the balls is formed when the bearing is in use. The major design characteristic of this type of ball bearing is that one or both or the ring races have one shoulder higher than the other. In order for these bearings to function properly, they must be assembled with a thrust load. This loading (or preload) creates a line of contact (or contact angle) between the inner race, the ball and the outer race. The preload can be built into the bearing or created when the bearing is inserted into an assembly. The contact angle varies from 15° to 40° and is measured relative to a line running perpendicular to the bearing axis. Angular contact bearings are one-directional thrust bearings that can withstand heavy thrust loads and moderate radial loads.
Thrust Ball Bearings - Thrust ball bearings are designed for pure thrust loads. These bearings can handle little or no radial loads. The rolling element can be a ball, needle, or roller. Slewing ring or turntable bearings can accommodate axial, radial and moment loads. They are not mounted in a housing or on a shaft, but instead are mounted directly to a seating surface. The inner and outer rings are supplied with mounting holes. The inner ring, outer ring, or both may have integral gears. These bearings are referred to as tabletop bearings, turntable bearings, and slewing rings.
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Important dimensions to consider when specifying bearings include:
Bore - The bearing industry uses a standard number system for bearings with metric diameter bores. For bore sizes 04 and up multiply by 5 to obtain the bore in millimeters. If the bore is a hex this refers to the dimension across the flats. If the bore is tapered this refers to the smaller diameter.
Outside diameter - The outside diameter of the bearing includes the housing if a housed unit, but excludes the flange if a flanged bearing. The outer ring width is the overall width of the outside of the bearing.
Overall width - The overall width of the bearing or bearing assembly includes the locking collar, if present.
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