It would be hard to imagine how the modern industrial age would have developed without landmarks. When it comes to improving performance, Carter Manufacturing looks at how best to use thin section bearings.
Every type of machine that requires motion uses bearings in some way to smooth their path and reduce friction. Such important technology has a long and well-documented history dating back to the Stone Age. A huge leap forward in bearing development was facilitated by improved metal forming processes at the start of the industrial age, when Philip Vaughan received a patent for a steel ball bearing in 1794, the design has become the basic design for today’s ball bearings.
Fast forward to now and the ubiquitous ball bearing and bearing assemblies continue to be essential motion control components in a wide range of industrial and manufacturing machinery. Today, the increasing demands of robotics and advanced automation have driven the development of more compact and lightweight thin section bearings and these high precision components have become essential in many industries. For example, aerospace, defense, satellite systems, optical lenses, semiconductor manufacturing to camera gimbals.
Precision bearing specialists based in Oxfordshire, Carter Manufacturing are the European distributor of Silverthin precision thin section bearings and offer many years of experience in the application and use of thin section bearings.
Why use a thin section bearing?
Typically where applications have critical space and weight restrictions, but still have load and torque requirements that require a bearing solution, but without the space and weight requirements of standard deep groove ball bearings. There are various definitions used in the industry to highlight the difference between “standard” section bearings and thin section bearings, the most common being when the bore diameter is more than four times the radial section .
Although the size of the cross section can vary, it is usually 2 x the diameter of the ball. Of course, one design will not fit all applications, which is why these types of bearings are usually available in a variety of configurations. These are; radial contact, angular contact, four point contact, full complement, duplex pairs and different cross sections.
How to select the best thin section bearing configuration?
Selection of the type of thin section bearing configuration generally depends on the type and magnitude of load required in the application. In environments with axial loads present in one direction, Silverthin recommends its Type A Angular Contact Ball Bearing which works equally well in radial or combined thrust applications. However, this option alone is not best suited for applications that require the support of moment loads or reverse axial loading. Contact bearings, such as Silverthin Type-C bearings, are the best choice for these situations because their deep ball grooves have the ability to withstand higher loads. Although this type of bearing is mainly used in applications with radial loads, it can also support moderate axial loads, reverse axial loads and also moment loads on which Carter is best placed to advise you.
What about applications requiring heavier load capacities?
Where large moment loads prevail, Carter would specify their Silverthin Type-X point or 4-point contact ball bearing option. This is designed with “gothic arch” raceways to create 4 points of contact between the balls and raceways and is known to be excellent for moment loading and also for reverse axial loading. Carter says that although the Type X bearing can also be used for other light load conditions, replacing the Type C or A bearing is not recommended for pure radial loads.
As a general rule, Silverthin advises that when specifying the Type X bearing for axial or moment loads combined with radial loads, the speed of application (RPM) should be carefully considered. Carter’s engineering department has extensive data and can provide information on combined load, limiting speeds as well as advice on the use of radial bearings with combined radial loads, with axial or moment loading and for limit speeds and separator selection.
Understand the difference between thin section bearing types?
When the main specifics of the application, such as space, load and other operating conditions are determined, then it is time to consider the type of thin section bearing to be used. Thin section bearings are often used where wiring or tubing passes through the bore of a hollow shaft, such as a slip ring, or in wire forming machinery.
They are also used in mechanisms such as Gimbal platforms in optical and targeting systems of ships, aircraft and also in radar and satellite communication equipment on land, at sea and in the air.
Are there other applications for thin section bearings?
They are ideal for achieving smooth action in articulated parts such as robotic arm elbows or other articulated joints and can also be used in all types of work holding devices such as turntables, work tables, etc. indexing and rotary tables.
Carter can provide application advice on all aspects of its Silverthin thin section bearings. They are therefore well placed to meet design challenges where space is limited and repeatability, combined with absolute accuracy and longevity, is vital over long periods of time.
The precision thin section bearings they offer come in sizes ranging from 1″ ID (inner diameter) specified for uses as light as miniature gimbal mounts on satellites, up to 40″ OD (outer diameter) for large rotary tables both commercial and military. apps.