For a common man, not familiar with most of its applications, a ball bearing is just a metallic ring containing metallic balls. But in fact ball bearings form an essential component of innumerable machines and devices, a lot of which we use in our everyday life. Actually, our daily life would become very difficult in the absence of bearings. In this article we’ll talk about various products that use bearings, and how these affect the performance of those products:
The main purpose of using bearings is to reduce the amount of axial and radial load and friction among rotating components. This is achieved by providing two races for the movement of balls in place, and then transferring the load through them. When one ball rotates, it causes the rest of the balls to rotate in turn.
Considering the size of most ball bearings, generally their loading capacity is far lower than other types of rolling items, like rollers in ring shape or cylindrical rollers. This is because of the very small area of contact between the balls and their racing surfaces. Moreover, these can characteristically bear some amount of misalignment among the inner and outer races.
Since the cost of production of ball bearings is low, these are the most economical to use, especially when needed in bulk. That is one reason for their being used so widely.
Different applications that need bearings
Ball bearings are extensively used to enhance the performance of various machines, and that includes machines designed for exercising, and even computers. Here are just a few of the important applications of bearings:
Fishing reels: Fishing reels contain ball bearings to minimize friction when the reel rotates. Fishing reels generally use ceramic bearings, due to their strength and lightweight. An additional advantage is the fact that these bearing do not become wet and get rusted even if the reel becomes wet during operation.
Roller skates: Roller skates frequently contain pin ball bearings. Introduced for the first time during 1884, these bearings allow the wheels to roll smoothly and they don’t weigh too much. Each axle of a roller skate is surrounded by such bearings. The use of bearings in skates reduces the amount of friction in wheels, which facilitates a smoother movement.
Large electrical and mechanical machinery often require deep grove bearings for reducing the level of noise and friction. It is true that such types of bearings prolong the life of equipment and machines, and make them more efficient. Equipment like dishwashers and floor polishers depend on deep grove bearings for delivering a quieter output and a high performance.
Bearings are contained by all kinds of vehicles like buses, cars, rail engines and coaches, and motorcycles. Almost any device experiencing a rotary motion needs to have bearings to reduce the friction, and thus make its motion smoother. Simply put, any machine that incorporates moving components would require a bearing of some design of the other. So, you can guess they would be needed in a lot of items of daily use, like washing machines, bicycles, DVD players, guitars, controllers for video games, air conditioners, camcorders, blenders, hot tubs and mechanical toothbrushes etc.
Ball bearings necessarily need maintenance for an improved performance and long life. Lubrication is part of that maintenance and it’s essentially needed for all kinds of bearings, as continued use causes their wear and tear. The appropriate maintenance can significantly extend the life of bearings.