What Are Pillow Block Bearings and Their Types?

A pillow block bearing, often referred to as a plummer block, is a hardware component capable of supporting the functionalities of rotating shafts through its bearing surfaces and various accessories. Unlike a standard bearing, the pillow block bearing is an assembly that combines a bearing and a mounting block together. With a variety of bearings and mounting styles to choose from, such hardware proves useful for low-torque applications and provides an ease of adjustment for the benefit of the operator. In this blog, we will discuss the various types of bearings one may use for a pillow block bearing so that you can find the best solution for your needs.

While a pillow block bearing can take advantage of various bearings, the assembly will generally have one of two housing types. The first type of housing is a solid assembly, that of which comes in a single piece that cannot be disassembled any further. Meanwhile, the split housing type will generally come in two pieces, and as such, can be separated as required.

For the bearing itself, such components may come in the form of plain, ball, roller, needle-roller, or hydrodynamic types. As each form of bearing component comes with its own specifications and capabilities, it can be beneficial to have a general understanding of all. The plain bearing is the most basic type, commonly used in linear applications for the means of managing motion while deterring the harmful effects of friction. A few materials may be used for the construction of a plain bearing, including options such as plastic, graphite, or bronze. When choosing certain metals, increased lubrication may be needed.

The ball bearing variation is also quite common, and it contains a cage, inner and outer races, and balls that run between them. With this assembly, the ball bearing excels in rotary applications where it promotes the smooth movement of surfaces while reducing friction. As compared to similar rolling-element bearings, ball bearings are known for having lower load capacities as a result of their smaller contact areas.

Roller bearing components are quite similar to ball bearings, albeit featuring rollers instead of balls. Nevertheless, they can still promote smooth motion and low friction in rotary applications, and they also have a cage, races, and rollers. If you are interested in a roller bearing, there are three common subtypes that you may take advantage of. Tapered-roller bearings have tapered rollers with a large contact area, allowing them to take on high axial and radial loads. Spherical-roller bearings are limited in their speed, though they are optimal for high loads and shock resistance. The final type of roller bearing is the cylindrical-roller bearing, and these hardware components are best for high radial loads while having an average axial load carrying capacity. That being said, cylindrical-roller bearings allow for high-speed operations.

The needle-roller bearing is most comparable to the cylindrical-roller bearing, featuring needle rollers as the rotating element. Needle roller bearings are generally relied on when an application calls for radial low support while having limited space. Due to the low profile of needle rollers, such components can have their rolling elements remain parallel to the shaft while fitting in tighter spaces.

Hydrodynamic bearings are a more specialized type as compared to the previously mentioned variations, acting as oil film bearings. This means that they establish their clearance between rotating and static elements through a film or oil or air, which allows them to operate for long periods of time without failure. Furthermore, they are known for having high rigidity. Despite the benefits, they are also more expensive than other various options, and they can only bear a low load.

When you are choosing between various pillow block bearing bearings and housings, there are a few important things to keep in mind. To ensure that the bearing fits and performs well in an application, one should ensure that the shaft height, shaft diameter, shaft size, maximum load, and maximum speed all match the requirements of the application. Additionally, the materials of the pillow block bearing and housing affect performance characteristics like load-carrying capacity and rigidity. Once you have narrowed down the specifics of your needs, we encourage you to take advantage of NSN Axis to save time and money on sourcing.

NSN Axis is a premier parts distributor owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we present customers access to an inventory of over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find components. Whether you require bearings, aviation components, IT hardware, or other such items, we have offerings from thousands of leading global manufacturers, all sold with competitive pricing and rapid lead times. Explore our expansive catalogs as you see fit, and our team is always ready to assist you through the purchasing process as necessary. See why customers continuously rely on NSN Axis for all their operational needs when you kick-start the procurement process with us today!


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