The Best Bearings are Made from Powdered Metal

January 30, 2018

The best bearings really are made from powdered metal. Does that sound like a bold statement? Well, what if we support that audacious declaration with evidence? It’s a deal, we’ll prove that the powdered metal process produces some of the finest rolling elements and races in the industry. Let’s start with that old chestnut, the introduction of a porous material, one that encourages a parts-reduced product range.

Considering the Parts-Reduced Factor 

If someone cuts an engine in half, perhaps for an engineering class, then that class quickly realizes how many parts are needed to make even a basic vehicle engine operate. Thousands of moving parts do operate finely rendered machines, but that amazing engineering feat has a flipside, a drawback that’s hard to ignore. Simply put, parts break down. A reduced mechanical architecture is almost always the superior approach to any kinetic energy situation, but such mechanisms are rare. Bearings, for instance, require dozens of moving parts. These are the rolling elements that race fluidly between two or more girdling rings. Powdered metal variants on this theme can reduce or even entirely remove those moving elements. At this point, this bushing assembly slides two aligned rings past each other while the porous metal parts exude a self-lubricating agent.

Uniformly Distributed Material Strength 

Back in the factory, the powder metal processing equipment negates material waste. The gear uses heat and pressure to convert a powdery discharge into a near solid metal ring. Porous by nature, the rings are loaded with a lubricating fluid. Curiously, unlike the stress placed on a dry bearing, one that’s been produced in a machine forming facility, there’s no material tension stored inside the powdered metal parts, nor are there any heat treatment expansion/contraction errors. Those heat induced errors alter the dimensions of the bearing ever so slightly, but not in a way that could be noticed by a human eye. No, those thermally injected dimensional aberrations only become obvious after the machined bearing has been in service. As for the powdered metal products we’re promoting, well, there’s no machine stress or heat treatment errors here, so the uniformly shaped product is always dimensionally stable.

Evidently, there’s that oil-loaded form to consider. Then, beyond that self-lubricating feature, the best bearing in the business question is reinforced by the production environment. In other words, there’s no cold or hot machine working used in this process, just the uniform compaction of a high-quality powder metal discharge, one that’s laced with oil. If that’s not enough evidence, consider a manufacturing process that produces some of the most dimensionally exceptional bearings in the industry.

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