December 15th, 2020
If the phrase “simple but effective” was invented for a specific component, it would be the sleeve bearing. It contains a bearing surface and a mating component, and its role is simply to ensure linear or rotational movement between the two parts.
They are also known as bushings, plain bearings or journal bearings. Unlike the rolling action of a ball bearing or roller bearing, the sleeve bearing has a sliding action, and are generally self-lubricating to ensure smooth continuous operation.
The resulting low coefficient of friction reduces heat and provides excellent wear resistance. Because they are low cost and relatively maintenance-free, sleeve bearings are used in many applications.
Simply, the sleeve bearing facilitates motion between two components, absorbing friction and reducing vibration. They have a high load capacity, making them suitable for a range of heavy-duty applications.
Robust sleeve bearings can deal with high loads and high temperatures – and are incredibly low wear. Their contact area has high shock load resistance, and they can compensate for misalignment of the other components.
Compact, lightweight and easy to install, applications include electric motors, transmission shafts, lift and tilt devices for manufacturing and clevis joints for hydraulic cylinder pins.
There are a few basic types of sleeve bearing. The most common is the flanged bearing, which can take axial and side loads. For higher side loads, a combination of a thrust washer and a cylindrical bearing is a good alternative. If the load is purely radial, go for a simple cylindrical bearing.
Bearings can be made from a range of materials. Plastic is a low-cost option, and comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes; however, there are limitations to plastic bearings, as we discuss in our blog post, 5 Reasons to Replace Plastic Bushings.
NORGLIDE® bearings are made from PTFE, which is reinforced with metal and self-lubricating. PTFE dampens sound and vibrations, unlike all-metal bearings which can cause a high rattling noise.
On the plus side, cast or sintered metal bushings have a low coefficient of friction when used with hard steel shafts – but that intense rattling rules out many applications.
Sleeve bearings usually contain PTFE and are self-lubricating, which both ensures smooth operation and extends the bushing’s service life. Bearings such as NORGLIDE® don’t need external lubricants like grease or oil, ensuring they work reliably under robust operating conditions and a range of operating temperatures. But an additional lubricant is sometimes beneficial in terms of wear and friction. Here additional grooves inside the surface can act as reservoirs for the lubricant.
If your application requires custom sleeve bearings, please talk to us at Saint-Gobain, engineer to engineer. We’re experts in developing, designing and manufacturing machined and moulded components for a range of applications and industries.
If you need any more technical information about sleeve bearings, please get in touch.