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3 Reasons Why Thin Section Bearings are Right for UV Disinfection Robots

3 Reasons Why Thin Section Bearings are Right for UV Disinfection Robots

August 12, 2020

Every day, robotic technology is pushed another step further. The robotics industry has been a staple in manufacturing since robotic arms were introduced to automotive lines back in the ‘60s – and the innovation hasn’t stopped.

These days, robotics manufacturers have identified a new avenue to help people across the country: UV disinfection robots. MIT has already partnered with Ava Robotics to design a robot that uses UV light to disinfect warehouses and other spaces. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this technology has massive potential. Of course, these UV disinfection robots need the right bearings to turn a great idea into a realized opportunity.

3 Key Factors for UV Disinfection Robot Bearings

Without the proper bearings, a robot would be a motionless pile of materials. UV disinfection robots use bearings to spin, turn, and enable any other function required to move about a space and complete a cleaning cycle.

As with other robotics applications, certain bearing solutions are better fits than others for UV disinfection robots. Let’s break down some key reasons why thin section bearings are a go-to bearing solution for robotics.

Weight and size

It’s no secret that thin section bearings offer big benefits in small packages. The size difference between thin section bearings and other bearing styles offers some key advantages to any robotics applications with space constraints or weight restrictions.

To start, smaller parts require less room. A thin section bearing can help you accommodate tight spaces without having to sacrifice on performance. Additionally, thin section bearings don’t need to change cross sections as bore sizes increase. This helps you save additional space within your applications.

Another key benefit is that thin section bearings are notably lighter than other part solutions. This reduction in weight can not only help you make robots lighter, it can also help reduce the amount of friction created during use and improve the long-term efficiency and reliability of your applications.

Ample load-carrying capabilities

Despite their size, thin section bearings are more than capable of carrying the load for your UV disinfection robots. Thin section bearings come in multiple styles to help you accommodate different types of loads.

  • Type A
  • Type C
  • Type X

In addition, thin section bearings can be duplexed to accommodate any situations that have more load requirements than normal. Given the diminutive nature of the parts, this allows you exchange extra performance for not much additional space and weight.

Design flexibility

Some level of part customization is common for many robotics applications. Whether your need special clearances, loads, or materials, there are multiple design options available to match your performance and environment needs. If a standard part doesn’t meet your specific needs, you can invest in custom thin section bearings that modify one or more of the following features:

  • Multiple cage options
  • Multiple shield and seal options
  • Materials selections
  • Custom sizing
  • Duplexing

Invest in the Best Bearings for Your Robotics Applications

There are many bearing solutions available, but it takes the right one to best serve your performance and budgetary needs. At SSB, our experts can work with you to identify the best, most cost-effective bearings for UV disinfection robots and any other robotic applications. Use our online product builder to select the parts you need or contact us today to talk to our experts about a custom thin section bearing solution for your application.

Solving Challenges in the Food and Beverage Industry with Food-Grade Bearings

Solving Challenges in the Food and Beverage Industry with Food-Grade Bearings

September 30, 2019

Every industry is different, which means that one bearing product may be better for one market than another. When it comes to the food and beverage industry, there are several issues that can impact the success of your bearings, including:

  • Extreme temperatures (both high and low)
  • Excessive moisture and chemicals due to continuous cleaning
  • Adherence to strict hygiene standards and regulations
  • The potential of product getting in your parts

Many or all these factors can come into play depending on your application. As a result, it’s crucial to find a food-grade bearing solution that caters to your exact needs. Here are some ways your bearings can address certain issues in the food and beverage industry.

Prepare for Extreme Temperatures

It’s not uncommon for food and beverage applications to encounter both high and low temperatures depending on the nature of the product being made. Each temperature range can cause issues if you use bearing products not designed for hot or cold environments.

High temperatures can cause a couple of bearing issues, starting with lubrication problems. Excessive heat can cause grease to purge its oil, which lessens that lubricant effectiveness and potentially even make the bearing seize up over time. High temperatures can also reduce the hardness of bearing metals if the right material isn’t used, which can lead to early failure.

Like heat, colder temperatures can also impact bearing lubricants. Low ambient temperatures affect lubricant viscosity for both oils and grease and can restrict the flow of lubrication to the bearings. As a result, colder environments can cause excessive friction and damage to the bearing without the proper parts.

To address temperature issues, it’s important to invest in parts designed for your specific environment. Special high- or low-temperature lubricants will resist the affects of temperature change better than standard solutions, while temperature-graded materials will better retain their hardness over time.

Deal with Excess Water and Wash Down Chemicals

Water and cleaning chemicals are no strangers for food-grade bearings. Regular required wash downs present quite a few problems for bearings not designed to encounter frequent contact with moisture or strong cleaning solutions.

One major issue with water and chemicals is that they can cause bearings to corrode over time. Not only does corrosion impact the lifespan of your parts, it can also cause corroded particles to come in contact with your products and contaminate them. Those are both massive issues that can be solved by investing in materials that are resistant to corrosion, like stainless steel.

Another problem with wash downs is that the process can blow the lubricants used in your bearings straight out of the parts themselves. With no lubrication, bearings will not be able to perform the way you had planned and will require you to replace those parts much sooner than you intended. Solid lubricants are like a sponge that releases oil while running and sucks it back up when stopped. This option helps you protect the lubrication while the bearing is not in use.

Embrace Strict Hygiene Standards

In addition to preventing corrosion, bearings must meet food safety concerns in other ways. Over time, there is a chance that a bearing’s lubrication may leak out of the part. While this isn’t an issue in some industries, it’s a major problem when something made for human consumption is involved.

To address this issue, it’s important to use food-grade bearing lubrication that will be fine if it happens to come in contact with food or beverage products. The USDA has set grades for these lubricants depending on where your bearings are used:

  • H1 – Designed for food processing environments with some possibility of incidental food contact
  • H2 – Designed for equipment and machine parts in where there’s no chance that lubricants or lubricated surfaces will contact food
  • H3 – Designed to clean and prevent rust on equipment like hooks or trolleys

Prevent Food from Getting in Your Bearings

Not only is it important to keep the contents of your bearings from getting into your products, it’s also good to keep your product from getting into your bearings. Depending on your applications, there is a chance that dough, meat, or any other substance may become lodged inside of your bearings. As you may expect, bearings aren’t going to work very well when jammed up with food.

Fortunately, a good seal can help you shield your bearings from intrusive food or beverage products. An option like a Buna seal can help you keep foreign debris like food and other contaminants out of your bearings while aiding in keeping lubricants in your parts.

Find the Right Food-Grade Bearings with Slim Section Bearings

Even if you know what challenges you face, it’s not always easy to find the right bearing solutions for food and beverage applications. At Slim Section Bearings, we can help you identify which thin section bearings are best for your situation, whether that involves a standard part or custom food grade bearings. Contact us today to talk to our experts about your bearings needs today.

Why Thin Section Bearings Make Sense for Military Applications

Why Thin Section Bearings Make Sense for Military Applications

May 21, 2019

No matter whether they’re for combat, surveillance, or some other type of task, bearings made for military applications need to perform. Between tough environments and demanding designs, military organizations must find bearings that not only meet exacting part requirements, but also surpass them. Fortunately, quality thin section bearings are up to that task for many different military applications.

What are Thin Section Bearings Used for in Military Applications?

Thin section bearings are a natural fit for a variety of military needs. One area of need that’s grown considerably over the years is custom bearings made for robotics. Military robots perform a wide range of tasks – bomb defusing, scouting, etc. – and these applications require thin section bearings to meet performance and space needs.

In addition to robotics, thin section bearings offer solutions for military applications ranging from miniguns and turrets to cameras mounted on various structures and helicopters. If it requires smooth, efficient, and powerful performance in a small package, thin section bearings are a natural choice for the military.

Specific Pain Points for Military Bearings

As mentioned before, space and weight are typically at a premium for military applications. In addition to these issues, there are a variety of other specific needs that military applications require, each of which can play a big role in finding the right bearing supplier.

Special bearing options

Some level of part customization is typical for bearings used in the military market. Lots of parts require special clearances or loads, while other may need different balls or cages to meet performance and environment needs. As a result, it’s important to find a supplier that offers the following bearing options:

DFARS compliance

Any business that wants to work with the Department of Defense (DoD) needs to be DFARS compliant. DFARS – also known as the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement – is a specific set of rules that dictate how entities in the U.S. government procure goods and services.

When it comes to material goods like thin section bearings, DFARS dictates that the raw materials used in these products come from domestic or specific, DFARS-approved countries. This can limit part options, as bearings made with materials from non-DFARS countries like China will not comply with DoD rules and prevent them from buying your products. As a result, the thin section bearings you invest in should be DFARS compliant for any business related to the DoD or other government organizations.

Turnaround times

Who doesn’t want their parts as soon as possible? The military market is no different, which means that it’s always good to compare turnaround times for bearings, especially if they’re being custom designed. Fortunately, thin section bearings are typically manufactured more quickly than other bearings styles, with lead times that average six to eight weeks for standard sizes. This allows you to get the parts you need sooner so you can get your products to market or avoid additional downtime depending on your application.

Work with SSB for Your Military-Grade Bearings

It takes a good bearing supplier to find the best solutions for your military applications. SSB provides quality bearing products that are made in the U.S. and are DFARS compliant (CAGE # 704Q7). Whether you need a standard or custom thin section bearing, our experts can work with you to understand your specific needs for your military applications. Contact us today to have SSB help you solve your next bearing project.

Three Considerations for Food Grade Bearings

Three Considerations for Food Grade Bearings

October 2, 2017

The right bearing solution can depend on your industry. A market like food processing has several specific requirements that can affect not only the types of bearing you choose, but also several other key details that can impact your decision. Here are three things that play a crucial role in deciding which bearings are right for your food grade applications.

Use Food Grade Materials

Not all materials are best suited for the food industry. It’s important that you consider bearings made with materials that are resistant to corrosion and any potential chemicals that may be used. Materials like stainless steel or bearings with nickel plating can be a big help for food industry applications.

Only Use Seals and Shields that Make Sense for Your Environment

Wash downs are normal in food processing, which means a good seal is important. The right bearing seal or shield can keep unwanted fluid or contaminants out of your bearings. Of course, this also means that these seals and shields also need to be approved for used around food products. If a seals or shield contaminates your products, it's of no use to you. Make sure that every part of your bearings is graded for use in your environments so that your products and your bearings stay safe.

Invest in Food-Grade Lubrication

Like seals and shields, lubricants play an important part in the long-term success of your applications. However, they can also pose a problem if you don't use the right lubrication.

Food grade bearings require special lubrication for a few reasons. First, these lubricants can be subject to high pressure areas, frequent wash downs, and harsh environments. Also, it also needs to be graded for safe use in these environments in case it ever comes into contact with food. It's important to think about where your bearings will be sued to identify certain standards for your food grade lubricant options.

Find the Right bearings for Food Grade Environments

Even after you identify your needs, it can be difficult to choose the right bearing solution for your applications. Slim Section Bearings can help you find the right thin section bearings based on your needs, whether it’s a standard, available part or a custom food grade bearing. Contact us today to talk to our experts about the bearings you need for your applications.