What Are Flange Bearings and How Are They Used?
Bearings are one of the most commonly used machine parts because their smooth, rolling motion makes it far easier to transmit a load. By translating the force of a load into the rotational movement of a ball or roller, bearings can help reduce friction between moving parts. As a result, they effectively reduce long term wear and tear while facilitating smooth motion between components on a moment-by-moment basis. As a highly versatile device, there are many different types of bearings to consider, with one of the most common being flange bearings. Named for their flanged design, these bearings have a lip on the exterior of the outer race that differentiates them from their standard counterparts.
What Is a Flange Bearing?
A flange bearing is a type of industrial bearing that is characterized by a flanged design. Like standard bearings, they consist of a set of balls or rollers that are positioned within a cage and mounted between two races. As the primary load bearing portion of the component, the balls or rollers rotate in one direction to facilitate smooth motion between the inner and outer races. These races exist as a pathway for the balls that have a perfectly suited set of grooves for them to roll along. Finally, within the two races is the cage which separates the balls or rollers from each other so that the load is distributed more evenly, meaning there are less chances of them getting stuck. Flange bearings consist of all these core components, but with an outer race that is flanged, meaning that it has a lip.
Flange Bearing vs. Standard Bearings
All industrial bearings have a set of balls or rollers, at least two races, and a cage, but flange bearings are the only type to have a flanged exterior. The outer lip of a flange bearing is primarily used to help with mounting the component. Sometimes, it may have pre-cut holes for the placement of bolts or other fasteners. Otherwise, the flange may be completely solid and is used mainly for creating a tighter fit within its housing.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Flange Bearings
When deciding on a flange bearing for your project, you should consider the materials from which they are made, as most flanged bearings are fabricated from multiple different materials. For example, the cage might be made of nylon or acetal, while the balls might be made of ceramic or glass. Generally, if you are planning to use the bearings in environments with corrosive chemicals, it is important to choose all non-corrosive materials for your flange bearings. Moreover, you should also consider the size of the flange, as some flange bearings have a large flange which provides extra surface area for mounting, while others have a slim flange that can fit more easily in certain environments. Finally, it is always helpful to consider the shape and features of the flange; some flange bearings may have a lip that is uniform, whereas others have protruding “wings” with pre-cut holes for installing bolts or screws. Ultimately, the needs of your operation should determine the material composition, shape, and size of flange bearing that you choose.
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