Bearing speed is affected by a variety of factors including bearing geometry. Bearing rings must be ground to very tight tolerances and polished to a smooth and shiny finish. Bearing steel must be of high quality with small, evenly spaced carbides. Large carbides and inclusions reduce the quality of the steel and create “tear outs” and “comet tails” in the raceway. This not only slows the bearing, but shortens the life of the bearing. Similarly, superior ball quality must be maintained for optimal performance. 

PKB uses only the most reputable steel and ball vendors to ensure reliable, repeatable quality in all of its domestically produced miniature ball bearings. The bearing retainer, or cage, must be produced from high quality materials and must be piloted in such a way that it does not drag on any of the bearing components. Retainer drag will not only slow the bearing, but will result in premature failure of the bearing assembly. Proper lubrication will enhance bearing performance and extend bearing life. Too much or too little lube, or the wrong viscosity of bearing lubricant, will also impair bearing performance.

Some limiting factors include component quality, lubrication density, retainer material and design. The upper level assembly into which the bearing will be placed can also limit the bearing speed. Atmospheric conditions such as contamination, ambient or fluctuating temperatures, and moisture all impact the bearings speed capabilities. It is important to discuss the bearing’s operating environment with PKB to be sure that vacuum conditions, salt baths, and other environmental factors are considered for optimum performance. Special coatings, various ball and retainer materials and a myriad of bearing lubricants are available to satisfy specific environmental conditions, speed, temperature, and other factors.

Bearings are an essential component in many product and assemblies. The bearing allows the shaft to turn and controls speed and vibration in an assembly. Getting product to market expeditiously, is crucial to any project plan. A bearing designed from standard envelope dimensions with minimal special features will help contain project costs and reduce component lead-times. 

PKB manufactures bearings for all miniature and instrument applications. PKB miniature bearings are found in surgical hand-pieces, bone saws, drills, and fluid pumps for the medical industry. PKB produces bearings for miniature motors, actuators, and electrical sub-assemblies for robotic applications such as pick-and-place robots and packaging equipment. PKB instrument bearings are used in guidance and missile applications, as well as specialty products produced for rocket booster components.

PKB manufactures miniature ball bearings up to a 1.125″ OD, at its factory in Troy, NY. Engineering assistance is available to help recommend or create a bearing option, for your precision application(s). 

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