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Thin Section Bearing Lubrication Options for Hard-to-Reach Applications

Thin Section Bearing Lubrication Options for Hard-to-Reach Applications

January 3, 2020

Proper relubrication of your thin section bearings can help you extend the life and performance of your parts. However, there are some scenarios where regular maintenance and bearing lubrication are either difficult to perform – or even outright impossible.

In those cases, you’ll need to find an alternative to ensure that your bearings perform without ongoing support. Fortunately, there are some options available for situations where relubrication just isn’t going to happen.

Solid Lubricant

A solid lubricant is a good option for any thin section bearing that won’t receive any maintenance during its lifespan. Solid lubes utilize a porous, sponge-like polymer that’s added to the bearing to provide a lifetime supply of oil over time. As the parts run, the lubricant will release the proper amount of oil so that the bearing can operate without issue.

In addition to providing a lubrication option for impossible or hard-to-reach parts, another advantage of solid lubricants is that they’re a relatively clean solution. Solid lubes can be made with food-grade or other specialty oils and won’t leak like some standard greases, which makes it a good fit for applications that can’t afford lubricant spills or other issues.

Oil Baths

Depending on your application, you may be able to utilize an oil bath to keep bearings regularly lubricated in out-of-reach areas. An oil bath uses a reservoir that’s either fully or partially filled with oil to allow running parts to effectively lubricate themselves over time.

Essentially, the bearing or some other rotating part is partially submerged in the oil. As that part rotates, it draws oil up and lubricates itself while splashing excess oil onto the other parts within an enclosed space, such as a gearbox. This method can help you limit the number of times the oil is refilled or provide the application with the lubrication it needs before the entire unit is retired.

Sealed Bearings

A sealed thin section bearing is another potential option for an application where relubrication is either difficult or impossible. These parts have built-in closures to protect the inside of the bearings from dirt, water, and other potential contaminants. However, this seal would also require you to dismantle the part to add more lubrication. As a result, manufacturers include enough lubrication within the part for it to last for the expected lifetime of the bearing.

While a sealed bearing may not provide the same lifespan as a properly maintained and regularly lubricated open part, it can be a good solution for situations where maintenance isn’t realistic. If your bearing’s life calculation matches up with your expectations, a sealed bearing’s lubrication will last for as long as you need that individual part.

Invest in the Right Bearings and Lubricants for Your Applications

There is no single best thin section bearing out there, but there is a right choice based on your applications needs. SSB can work with you to determine which style of thin section bearing matches your lubrication limitations, whether that means one of our available styles or engineering a custom thin section bearing around your specific design.

Ready to invest in bearings that are right for your performance needs and budget? Contact us today to talk to our experts about your bearings needs today.

Reasons Why Businesses Choose Thin Section Bearings

Reasons Why Businesses Choose Thin Section Bearings

August 9, 2018

The right bearing plays a key role in the efficiency of your applications. For many businesses in the medical, defense, robotics, and semiconductor manufacturing industries, thin section bearings are the right fit for their needs.

So, what do thin section bearings provide that can make them a better option than other types of bearings? Here are some key reasons why thin section bearings are the right choice for your applications.

Space and Weight Limitations

Bearings don’t need to be big to get the job done. The size difference between thin section bearings and other bearing styles is a major benefit for any application with space or weight restrictions.

The compact design of thin section bearings is beneficial in a few ways. First, the small size of a thin section bearing make it so that these parts don’t take up as much room in an application. Second, the reduced weight makes the overall application lighter and can reduce the amount of friction created during use. That’s a major advantage for both initial design of an application and the long-term efficiency of your operation.

Multiple Configurations Available

Another benefit of thin section bearings is that it gives you options. These parts are offered in a variety of sizes and configurations, allowing you to pick and choose between radial, angular, 4-point designs. If size is the bigger concern, SSB manufactures parts up to 20” in diameter. Metric sizes can also be manufactured.

While there are a variety of thin section bearings available, these parts can also be specially designed to fit your specifications. Customization opportunities include:

Quick Turnaround Times

Time is not always on your side. Fortunately, SSB’s thin section bearing production process is very efficient, meaning that you won’t have to wait as long for these parts compared to most other types of bearing.

A typical lead time for most standard thin section bearings ranges between six to eight weeks from the order date. This expedited timeline can help you avoid unnecessary—and costly—downtime.

Consider Thin Section Bearings for Your Applications

Thin section bearings offer several advantages not typically found with other styles of bearings. At SSB, we manufacture quality thin section bearings made in the U.S. and offer related services. Contact us today to order thin section bearings from SSB or to talk to one of our experts to determine the right solution for your applications.

Three Bearing Lubrication Myths

Three Bearing Lubrication Myths

October 2, 2017

The right bearing lubricant can be the different between a long lifespan for your part and some serious issues for your applications. When using the wrong lubrication can destroy your bearings and create costly downtime, it's important to make sure you have the right information to properly lubricate your thin section bearings and other parts. This means that it's time to dispel some bearing lubrication myths that you shouldn't trust.

Myth No. 1: All Lubricants are the Same

This is not true in the slightest. There are many different types of bearing lubricants. Each one of these options features different benefits that can greatly impact its success in certain applications and environments. These include:

  • Grease lubricants
  • Oil lubricants
  • Solid lubricants
  • Graphite
  • Specialized plating

Another reason why you shouldn't consider all lubricants to be the same is that some lubrication types don't mix well with others. Certain lubricants are simply not compatible with others, which can lead them thinning or thickening if you try to replace your bearing lubrication without checking what was used before. This can result in more wear and tear for your bearings. However, there are some types of lubricants that pair well together, such as oil and solid lubricants.

Myth No. 2: Re-Lubrication Happens Once a Year

Every case is different, but there's a good chance that you should re-lubricate your bearings more than once each year. There are a few factors that can impact your re-lubrication schedule, such as the overall use of your bearings the application environment. It's not uncommon for heavy use and harsh elements could mean that you should re-lubricate once a week, while lightly-used parts in ideal conditions may only require annual reapplication. The biggest factor is that you have a regular re-lubrication schedule no matter how long it takes between dates.

Myth No. 3: You Can Store Bearing Lubrication Anywhere

Not exactly. Lubricants can be easily contaminated, so any storage area with dirt, dust, or other similar substances can ruin your product. Contaminated lubrication is bad for business, so you'll want to store bearing lubrication in a dry, cool, and clean space where containers can be rotated and used on a first-in, first-out basis.

Use Proper Lubrication for Your Bearings

A good lubricant can help your applications run smoothly for a long time. Of course, the right bearing lubrication isn't the only piece to the puzzle. It's important to find the right bearings along with proper lubrication.

As a premier thin section bearing supplier, Slim Section Bearings can help you find the right parts for your applications, as well as which lubricants are best suited for your needs. Contact us today to talk to our experts about your bearing needs.

Warning: Using the Wrong Lubrication Could Destroy Your Bearings

Warning: Using the Wrong Lubrication Could Destroy Your Bearings

June 30, 2017

A bad choice of lubrication can even make the best parts go bad. How? Incorrect lubrication can lead to serious issues like overheating and excessive wear, both of which can lead to bearing failure. Not only can these problems force you to repair each affected part, it can lead to additional costs related to downtime and repair. Fortunately, there are lubrication best practices for bearings that can help you ensure that your applications aren't negatively impacted.

How to Prevent the Use of the Wrong Bearing Lubricant

The first thing you'll want to do is to make sure you are using the right type and amount of lubricant for your specific bearings. It may seem obvious, but a simple misreading and misuse will lead to a lot of trouble in the future, especially for when you have to relubricate bearings in the future.

Of course, it's not always obvious which lubricant is the correct for for your parts. You'll also need to consider how much lubrication is necessary. Most fill rates sit between 25 and 35 percent of the available space in the bearing, but some parts may differ. Not sure where to start? Here are some common lubricants and their traditional applications.

Types of Bearing Lubrication

General grease (NLGI #2)

The most common lubricant for bearings.Standard bearings come with Polyrex EX grease. Greases are designed for a wide temperature range, which makes them a good option for motor applications.

Synthetic grease

A wide variety of these greases fit application parameters, including low torque requirements or extreme temperatures. These greases are a natural fit for aerospace applications.

Solid lubricants & oils

These options give you a way of carrying oils while releasing the proper amount over time. Solid lubricants are usable in many wash down applications. In addition, a variety of solid lubricants are FDA rated H1 or H2, making them great for food and beverage applications.

Graphite (dry or solid) lubricant

Graphite offers lubrication at higher temperatures than typical liquid and oil-based options. It's also ideal for extreme low torque considerations, such as high speed applications.

Specialized plating

Features the FENCR Process, in which a diffused layer of carbon rich iron nitride is applied to the bearings so that the product will not chip or spall. This is ideal for product that needs to be corrosion resistant, such as those in extreme moisture environments. Specialized plating is not FDA rated.

While there are many lubrication options you can choose from, it may be difficult to select the right one for your applications. If you aren't sure which lubrication is the best choice, the bearing experts at Slim Section Bearings can can help you narrow down your options. Contact SSB today to talk to our experts about your bearing needs.