Sheaves and Bushings: Common Uses and Applications

June 27, 2018

If you’ve ever worked on a project, be it a car or a massive piece of machinery, then you likely understand how important the interior components of your project actually are. Here at Zen Bearings, we believe that there is nothing more important than a well-rounded education on the most important aspects of your project. With that in mind, we are going to focus on two relatively under-appreciated aspects of the bearing world: sheaves and bushings. Sheaves and bushings both have very specific uses and applications as well as a variety of different benefits. We’ll introduce you to what each of these mechanisms do and what they can specifically do for you.

Sheaves & Bushings: What Are They Good For

Alright, in the engineering world you are going to have to get familiar with a variety of different, unique pieces of equipment. Chief among those items is what we call a sheave as well as a bushing. While these two products can be used independently of each other, they are often found in the same pieces of equipment. For the sake of our educational topic, let’s separate the two items in order to have a real discussion as to what they are and what they do.

1) What are sheaves? 

If you did any historical research on the subject, you’ll find that sheaves have been used for a long time! Sheaves, when boiled down to their basic components, are primarily metal devices that work somewhat like a pulley system. They help guide belts, cable and rope into the groove of a wheel or other similar mechanism. Sheaves come in a variety of different shapes and sizes which makes them incredibly flexible in engineering.

Common Uses & Applications: Sheaves are most commonly used when you are trying to lift, pull, or transmit power from one location to another. The applications in the engineering world are almost endless.

2) What are bushings?

Bushings are much simpler than sheaves and they are easier to summarise. With that being said, bushings have as wide and varied a library of uses as sheaves and that makes them integral to the engineering world. At their most basic element, bushings are simply devices that are used to help reduce stress and friction between rotating shifts. Bearings, or bushings, are most commonly made of metal or plastic and they are specially coated in order to help reduce stress and tension.

Common Uses & Applications: You’ll find bushings in almost any piece of engineering in the world. Any time a machine generates force or energy, these bushings will be employed.


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