linear bearings

All about Linear Bearings 

Saturday 16th Jul 2022 |

Devices with rolling elements and fluid films known as linear bearings are used to minimize resistance in motion systems when the motion travels along a linear (or occasionally curved) course.

They differ from radial bearings, which have rotating motion. In order to lower friction and guide linear motion, linear bearings are utilized in machine tools, doors and windows, 3D printers, as well as a range of automation applications.

They may be broadly divided into sliding & ball & roller kinds, which rely on lubrication & low-friction surfaces as well as the rolling action of rolling parts, respectively. 


The majority of vendors of linear bearing include selection manuals that walk the customer through the design dilemma. The accuracy of the application is taken into account, from simple actions like drawer slides to complex applications like machine tools. Semi-precision operations like saw guides are also taken into account. When weights are heavy and smoother motion is needed but speed or accuracy are not crucial, bronze bushings may be suitable. On the other hand, a recirculation roller bearing & profile rail may be the best option when loads are heavy & precision is required. 

Because there are longer lengths of uncovered shafting involved, sealing problems with ball bushings are a little more challenging than with radial bearings. Ball bushings are quickly contaminated by particles. Seals, wiper, & way covers all provide ways to reduce contamination, as previously said, but in really unclean settings, a sliding bushing may be a better match. However, compared to rolling element linear bearings, their friction might be fairly considerable. 

Many manufacturers offer assembled linear bearing systems under different names, such as linear sliding, linear tables, etc., in addition to providing the parts needed to put such systems altogether. Systems from several vendors are available with a range of actuation possibilities. 

Types of Linear Bearing 

Air, flat ball cage, ball spline, ball bushing, needle roller cage, cam follower, crossing roller, guiding wheel, hydrostatic, plain/journal, linear motion guide, flat roller cage, & linear roller are some options for linear bearing designs. 

  1. An extremely low resistance bearing that sits on an air cushion is called an air bearing. 
  2. A flat ball cage is a circulating or non-recirculation bearing arrangement in which the balls are imprisoned in a structure that spaces them evenly. 
  3. Depending on the quantity of splines, a ball spline bearing contains balls that make contact with grooves in a corresponding spline shaft on for at least 4 sides. 
  4. A ball bushing is made similarly to a bushing, but it includes rows of balls to enhance rigidity, precision, & smoothness while lowering friction. 
  5. Caged needle bearings have a composite cage and are low resistance, high load bearings. 
  6. A wheel on an axle that spins on bearings called a cam follower. When precision & straightness are essential, linear methods employ roller & cross roller bearings. 
  7. A guide wheel is a durable, cost-effective substitute for conventional linear bearings. 
  8. An air bearing and a linear hydrostatic bearing function similarly. The movement of such bearing body is almost smooth since it is supported by a thin coating of oil or water. 
  9. Journal bearings comprised of an inner cylindrical portion made of soft metal that accommodates a spinning shaft as well as a split cylindrical shell of hard, robust metal held in a stiff support. 
  10. A linear motion guide is a rail with a linear profile and a set of matching bearings that follow it. 
  11. A flat rolling cage resembles crossed roller bearings, with the exception that all of the rollers’ axes are parallel rather than crossed. 
  12. A linear roller is a group of rolling bearings that circulate and are supported by a flat or rounded guide. 
  13. A full assembly that consists of a bearing as well as a rail or guide is referred to as a bearing or rail assembly. 

Material of Bearing 

Bronze, ceramic, graphite, plastic, & stainless steel are among the bearing materials that may be used in linear bearings. Corrosion, self-lubricating, & rotating motion are examples of special material characteristics. 


When choosing linear bearings, it’s essential to take the bearing’s breadth, length, internal diameter, & dynamic load capability into account. 

The bearing housing options include flanged, pillow block, rectangular, open, or none of the above. 

Either the bearing is open or closed. 

Features of Linear Bearings 

Customizable preload, clean room compatibility, lubrication ports, recirculation bearings, self alignment, vacuum compatibility, wipers, & seals are a few of the features & choices for linear bearings. 

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