Stainless Steel Bearings and Their Various Applications

July 30, 2015

It is one thing to describe the parts of a ball bearing and define how these components lock together, but it’s another altogether to open the door to the multitude of applications where these revolutionary friction-killers are found. It’s not that these are rare bearings. In fact, the issue is just the opposite. The trapped balls set within their concentric rings of stainless steel are so completely part of modern machinery that they can be found in any mechanism with moving parts. Try imagining a device with a rotating component and you’ve likely already found a stainless steel ball bearing hard at work.

Stainless steel is a logical choice for ball bearings due to the hardness of the material and its resistance to friction-related factors. Corrosion would compromise the free flow of the bearing. Stainless steel rejects corrosion. Manufacturing technology can also produce stainless steel with superior finishes, thus maximizing the rotation of the ball components within the concentric tracks. Other properties include the rejection of magnetic properties, an important consideration when used in the shaft of an electric motor, and a robust load-bearing characteristic. Additionally, the stainless steel manufacturing industry can tool the material to meet gruelling tolerance values, a design feature that ensures the bearing is suited for precision applications.

Scaled for high-industry applications and fine technology purposes, the stainless steel bearing is found in the following domains:

  • In aeoronautical components
  • Heavy industry machinery
  • Production line equipment
  • The automotive sector

These could be considered generalizations, but we could literally fill a heavy book with all of the uses stainless steel bearings are given. The motors that drive submersible pumps are equipped with shafts, and those shafts are enabled by the friction-cancelling prowess of a pair of stainless steel ball bearings. On reversing this application, electric generators are moved by wind power and the force of water. Marine craft and land vehicles employ the rotational energy produced by diesel engines and internal combustion engines to drive a rotor or a wheeled axle, and it’s the job of the stainless steel ball bearing to keep these parts moving while cancelling friction.

Here’s a short list of the properties of stainless steel bearings:

  • Efficient
  • Low noise
  • Superior hardness
  • Heat resistant
  • They don’t corrode

Let’s round off our discourse with a look at smaller mechanisms. Noise becomes a greater issue in such devices, though torque and load issues become less important. Manufacturers handle this design hurdle by manipulating the carbon and chromium content of the graded stainless steel alloy to produce materials with superior low noise characteristics. These components are ideal for precision tools and applications where fine ball geometry offers ultimate smoothness.

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