Slide bearings work because the friction bearing surfaces of upper and lower (or inner and outer) slides have been separated by slide bearing materials--either ball bearings or rollers--that reduce friction.
We may tend to take the slide bearings in our desk or cabinet drawers for granted, but when they malfunction they suddenly become important. Now consider how vital the slide bearings you use in other applications really are. Here's a quick checklist of how to make sure you're buying the best; if you're not directly familiar with the equipment in question, consult your engineering department for answers to these questions:
1. What applications do you need sliding bearings for?
2. What material should your bearings be made of? (This depends on your answer to question No. 1)
3. What sort of maintenance are you or your company prepared to provide?
Find out what those slide bearings are forThere's a vast difference between ball bearing drawer slides and an industrial slide bearing. Make sure you know exactly what the slide bearings you're purchasing will be used for and how much of a load they'll be expected to carry.
Choose between steel, cast iron or plastic slide bearingsBecause the load-bearing surface of ball bearings is relatively small, it's vital that any bearings or bearing slides you purchase are made from the right material.
Take good care of your slide bearingsDust, friction, choice of lubrication, load, and duration of load can all affect slide bearing life. Check with both your engineering department and the manufacturer of any bearings you're using to make sure you're doing everything to extend the life of your products. Remember: Maintenance is less expensive than replacement.
- Linear ball bearing slides have a lower friction coefficient than rotary bearings, which can translate to less maintenance and longer product life. You can further extend the maintenance on your ball slides by consulting with your engineering department or consulting the manufacturer to be certain you're using the proper lubricant, depending on temperature, friction and load.