The Boca Bearing Co., based in Florida, US, has launched a new extended line of full ceramic balls, full ceramic and ceramic hybrid deep groove radial bearings, full ceramic thrust bearings, and full ceramic and ceramic hybrid insert bearings.
Ceramic bearings are suitable for use in many specialty applications, with ceramic being a suitable material for any application seeking to achieve higher RPM’s, reduce overall weight, or for extremely harsh environments with high temperatures and corrosive substances.
Ceramic silicon nitride balls, for example, exhibit much greater hardness than steel balls resulting in at least 10 times greater ball life due to the ability to hold the surface finish longer, according to Boca.
The ball has smoother surface properties than a steel ball, resulting in less friction between the balls and bearing race surfaces.
Thermal properties are also improved over steel balls resulting in less heat build-up at high speeds.
Ceramic has 35% less thermal expansion, 50% less thermal conductivity, are lighter weight, and are non-corrosive.
Similarly, the inner and outer races of antifriction bearings often become frosted, fluted, or can get a corrugated pattern imprinted on them.
These are not mechanical scars but are due to electromagnetic forces and can lead to bearing failure and they are usually found in modern systems that routinely feature pulse-modulated adjustable-speed motors and inverters with high switching frequencies and short rise times.
The best solution substitutes ceramic hybrid bearings for the more traditional, chrome steel counterparts to eliminate scarring and also run cooler due to less micro-weld adhesion.
Ceramic hybrid ball bearings use ceramic balls and steel races, with ceramic balls weighing up to 40% less than steel balls, depending on size.
This feature reduces centrifugal loading and skidding so hybrid ceramic bearings can operate up to 50% faster than conventional bearings, meaning that the outer race groove exerts less force inward against the ball as the bearing spins.
This reduction in force reduces the friction and rolling resistance, while the lighter ball allows the bearing to spin faster and use less energy to maintain its speed.
Suitable applications for ceramic hybrid or full ceramic bearings include cryo-pumps, medical devices, turbine flowmeters, food processing equipment, semiconductors, machine tools, robotics, and optics.
The Boca Bearing Co. stocks a full range of ceramic balls, ceramic hybrid bearings, and full ceramic bearings.