Key Facts about Self-Lubricating Plain Bearings

June 29, 2022

Machines today rely on mechanical components to ensure that they work and operate appropriately. One of the components they utilise is bearings.

Bearings are mechanical components that can support the rotating shafts inside the machines. The rotating shafts of the gears, wheels, turbines, rotors, and others can all be supported by bearings. Some machines that utilise these mechanical components are refrigerators, air conditioning units, and vacuum cleaners. Aeroplanes, automobiles, and electric generators can also benefit from bearings.

One of the primary purposes of bearings is to minimise friction between the rotating shaft and the part supporting the rotation. Once they are installed, they can conveniently make the rotation inside the machines to be smoother. Bearings can also prevent the rotating parts from getting damaged.

The Process of Self-Lubrication

Some bearings are known to be self-lubricating. Self-lubrication is the ability of the bearings to transfer microscopic amounts of material to the surface, creating a film that can reduce friction and provide lubrication throughout the rail or shaft.

What is great about self-lubrication is it can save resources on maintenance works. It can also eliminate hazardous waste from the lubricant. Self-lubrication can likewise keep the frictional forces on the bearings and the drive system intact and consistent. Ultimately, it prevents grease or oil from being added, deterring contaminants from damaging the bearings.

Self-lubricating bearings can be extremely useful in starter motors, fans, fuel pumps, brakes, and steering transmissions of automotive and mechanical equipment. They can also work with washing machines, air conditioning units, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners, and other household appliances. Even industrial equipment pieces, electric motors, and gearboxes can benefit from these bearings.

Self-Lubrication Major Fallacies

Fallacies and misconceptions about self-lubrication have wronged many industries that utilise these bearings. Through false advertising and marketing strategy, some “self-lubricating” or “lubricated for life” bearings are being utilised on systems or components that depend heavily on their accompanying benefits. And while they are expected to provide lubricant throughout their service life, manufacturers that have acquired misleading “self-lubricating” bearings may end up damaging their systems. In reality, these bearings may require lubricant replacement as time passes.

Self-Lubricating Bearing Qualities

Bearings meant to self-lubricate must meet certain qualities to make them effective and legitimate. For one, their lubrication must be an integral part of their whole bearing composition. Their lubrication, which is either oil or grease, must also not be added to their default bearing design. Over time, their lubrication should not become ineffective and break down. Ultimately, their lubrication should be constantly generated to the surface of the shaft.

Self-lubricating bearings work by releasing lubricant through their pores in the sliding layer. The lubricant is then dispersed throughout the layer uniformly, ensuring that the low friction performance of the bearings will not be reduced. The affected area of the bearings during this process depends heavily on the speed, stroke length, load, and other application elements.

To find out more about self-lubricating bearings, you can call us at PM Distributors.

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