Roller vs. Slide: Choosing the Best Type of Linear Motion Bearing for Your Application

September 29, 2021

Machines maximise a lot of components so they can function optimally. One of the components that manufacturers often include in creating machines is the bearing.

A bearing is a machine component that is comprised of rolling elements and inner and outer races. These parts allow the machine component to carry out rolling motion, reducing the overall friction between moving parts. One type of bearing that is normally used in many industrial applications is the linear motion bearing. This specific bearing is designed to move freely in one direction. And compared to other bearings, a linear motion bearing can generate less friction and eliminate the stick-slip effect.

To date, a linear motion bearing can be further classified into numerous types. But two types of bearing that are prominent today are roller linear motion bearing and slide linear motion bearing.

Roller Linear Motion Bearing

The roller bearing is known to be non-motorised. It is effective in providing linear motion control and low starting friction. It can also provide minimum adjustment force, which makes this type of bearing suitable to applications that handle heavy loads and require low adjustment force. Keep in mind, however, that the value of the adjustment force from this bearing is not absolute and can still be affected by the materials utilised, the amount and type of grease, and the operating temperature.

A roller linear motion bearing is not known for self-cleaning, making it reliant on the application of grease or lubricant. But it can still be suitable for environments that have low levels of dirt particles and dust. This bearing likewise has a broad contact surface due to the interaction between the base and the carriage, preventing it from deteriorating quickly.

Slide Linear Motion Bearing

The slide-type bearing, alternatively, is a type of linear motion bearing that is normally fabricated in sintered aluminium bronze, carbon insert styles, polymer-lined sleeves, or metal/polymer composites. The composition of the slide-type bearing allows it to be self-impregnated with oil, which flows to and from the bearing whenever frictional heat develops. The generated lubricant film during application is then provided between the bearing and the shaft, making the bearing maintenance-free.

Compared to the roller-type bearing, the slide-type bearing’s outer rail is often fixed to the inner rail, making it more advantageous for specific applications. Take note that the slide-type bearing may not handle applications that have heavy loads. Some of the notable applications of the slide-type bearing are robotics, appliances, cabinetry, and fragile instrumentation.

To know more about linear motion bearings, you can call us at Global Bearing Imports. We have extensive experience in sourcing and supplying many types of bearings for all industrial and automotive applications. Our extensive network of worldwide suppliers gives us access to inventory 24 hours a day for 52 weeks of the year. We are experienced in identifying and locating difficult types of bearings and are often able to supply within seven days of confirmed orders.

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