Ball and roller bearings are employed in all types of mechanical systems, but choosing the correct type can be daunting. Ultimately, the ideal bearing for a specific application will be determined by the speed of operation, the direction and magnitude of the load, and accuracy and rigidity requirements.
When high speed and accuracy are necessary, super precision bearings — also known as extra- or high-precision bearings — are typically employed.
Rated by the Annular Bearing Engineers Committee (ABEC) of the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA), these specialized bearings are usually made of chromium steel as well as stainless steel, and, depending on particular radial and thrust load needs, are available as deep groove radial bearings or as angular contact bearings that can accommodate axial, radial and combined loads.
Preloading allows for enhanced bearing rigidity, and duplex bearings — matched bearing pairs built to offer built-in preloading — can be employed in order to maintain a high degree of accuracy.
Super Precision Bearings Types and Applications
Super precision bearings are available in several different types, with each offering unique features and benefits suited to specific applications. As a leader in this area, Emerson Bearing is proud to offer a range of options, including:
Ball screw support bearings
These are ideally suited to operations demanding high rigidity, low drag torque, exceptional control of axial runout, and high speeds. These bearings have a long life span and are well-suited for use in high-performance actuators.
Ceramic hybrid ball bearings
Ceramic hybrid ball bearings are composed of silicon nitride balls held between steel rings. The ceramic material makes for a tougher construction than that offered by stainless steel bearings, and is well-suited to electrical machine applications.
These bearings are highly resistant to wear and tear, allowing them to last up to five times longer than steel bearings. Also, this type of bearing has higher rigidity, higher temperature tolerance, and no electrical arcing, as well as superior vibration tolerance.
Super precision angular contact ball bearings
These bearings are well-suited to rigid, high-speed, high-tolerance applications, and are used in pairs. They are available in 15° to 25° contact angles, with bore diameters ranging from 10 mm to 240 mm. Cages and ceramic materials can be employed to improve temperature tolerance and aberration resistance. These bearings can also support bidirectional axial loads when used in pairs.
Double row roller bearings
Double row roller bearings allow for radial stiffness, precision support, and high radial capacity. These internally adjusting rollers are typically paired with double direction angular contact thrust bearings.
The super precision bearings listed above find applications in various high-tech products, such as aerospace jet engines, robotics products, and sensitive precision instruments. Choosing the right super precision bearing — and the right ABEC class — is essential for optimal system performance and reliability.