Bearing trends mainly focus on extending bearing life and reducing issues with wear to achieve high performance levels and save energy. This could be for medical research, surgical and dental needs, or laboratory and diagnostic equipment. Designers and engineers are tasked with designing bearings for high-speed devices, as well as simple and complex ones.
A Japanese manufacturer offers special-environment ball bearings that can be used in vacuum, clean room, corrosive, high-temperature, contamination or non-magnetic environments. Each component is designed with advanced material, lubricant or surface treatment to meet high-performance standards.
Because manufacturers are always looking to improve bearing quality, the materials used in the design process are important. A high-purity material should be used, such as nitrogen-enhanced martensitic stainless steel. It must also be corrosion-resistant and have evenly dispersed, fine carbides for lower noise and vibration levels. Ceramic ball bearings can be used, but only for specific purposes. Wear can be combated with thin-coated bearings, which are ideal for medical instruments. One manufacturer has developed a thin coating for extreme cleaning conditions.
Bearings for rotating applications prevent metal-to-metal contact. The low-friction, self-lubricating bearings allow for a cleaner operating environment. They are mainly used in low-load, high-speed applications such as blood separators, diagnostic equipment, laboratory sample processing equipment, MRIs, and bioreactor applications in biotech processing equipment.
One manufacturer replaced its recirculating ball bearings with linear ones because the recirculating units required frequent maintenance and re-lubrication, which are time-consuming and expensive processes. The new bearings are dry-running and do not require external oils or greases. This feature is especially important for medical labs, where contaminant-free operations are vital.
The manufacturer’s products determine the physical characteristics of powders and solid materials related to pharmacology, nanotechnology, and polymer science. Its physisorption and chemisorption analyzers deliver consistent and reliable data related to surface area, pore structure, and active metals for quality control and R&D applications. They also control and optimize material selections. The new bearings are specifically used in the analyzer’s elevator unit to facilitate the up-and-down motion of either the cooling bath or furnace during the sample analysis process.
Bearing preload is the process of adding a sustained axial load, independent of external loads, to the bearing. An axial preload ensures constant contact between the ball complement and bearing races reducing or eliminating both modes of play. Spring preload uses single turn wave springs to add the necessary preload forces despite dimensional variation and thermal expansion. Properly preloading a bearing can increase its life and eliminate the vibration of noise that results from specified clearance, manufacturing precision, and wear.