Sleeve Bearings are Super Important Components!

Posted on Jun 30, 2021

Sleeve Bearing

Sleeve bearings are an altered tube or pipe with the inner surface machined to a  shaft of a certain diameter. They make linear movement between two sections simpler. Sleeve bearings are made of metal, plastic, or fiber-reinforced composite sleeves that minimize vibration and noise by using a sliding motion to absorb friction between two moving parts. Let us find out why these inconspicuous components are crucial for many machines.

What Materials are Sleeve Bearings Made from?

Sleeve bearings are generally made of brass, silver, or steel. Brass layers and acrylic sleeves are also manufactured for certain applications. Bronze sleeve rollers which often contain lubrication plugs (PTFE or graphite) are a common type of simple rolling bearing that performs well in long-term graphite applications. Another substance, known as oil-impregnated bronze coatings, used for light to medium applications contains pores that absorb the oil released in force and reabsorbed when it's gone.

Sleeve Bearing Types

Flanged and cylindrical sleeve bearings are two traditional designs. Flanged sleeve bearings consist of a protruding flange that provides an axial load bearing surface at one end of the sleeve. A cylindrical bearing is different in that it has diameters straight outside and inside and is inside the housing.

Considerations when Selecting the Right Bearing

Several considerations, including durability, friction, noise, temperature, mounting, lubrication problems, cost, and ease of installation and replacement, need to be taken when deciding between sleeve bearings (also called bushings or plain bearings) and ball bearings for a given application. Each of these factors affects the bearing performance and in turn the efficiency of the machine it is used in.

Sleeve Bearing, Oil Gas World

Sleeve Bearing Applications

Being the most common type of plain bearings, sleeve bearings are suitable for a wide range of applications. Sleeve layers are designed for linear, oscillating, or rotating shafts and work by sliding. Even compact and lightweight single and sleeve bearings are usually of good use. Lower cost, reduced servicing, lower noise, and simpler installation give several advantages for sleeve bearings.

The sleeve bearing performance is distinguished by improved load capacity in particular due to its higher contact area, the shock load resistance. Conformal liner sleeve bearings offset the misalignment and vibration damping problems, these low-friction one-piece bearings reduce the size and weight of the housing thanks to a thin section. Common uses for sleeve bearings include:

  • Automotive industry - drive shafts, fasteners, pins, and crank components
  • Agricultural industry - gear rod assemblies, steering gear
  • Off-road industry - Fork bearings for hydraulic cylinder pins
  • Marine industry - locating bearings for driveshafts
  • Food Industry - Processing and packaging applications where lifting and tilting devices are used

Lubrication is Important for Sleeve Bearings!

Lubrication is a crucial factor for bearing product life. Many bearing problems can be resolved by correcting a lack of lubrication. This can be as simple as changing the type of lubricant used or modifying the oil rings and oil distribution grooves. Runners and wipers can also be integrated into the bearing to help distribute the oil better.

If oil recovery is an issue, an end seal and drain groove can be added. Lubricant leaks are most often the result of the oil seal failure, and therefore in some cases, a different type of seal geometry may be recommended. Labyrinth seals appear to work particularly well with sleeve bearings, but there are many parameters to choose the right seal for your application.

Hydrodynamic vs. Hydrostatic Lubrication

When considering lubrication, the variations between the sleeve bearing and antifriction bearings are also most noticeable. If the load and relative speed of sliding are poor, lubrication requirements may be limited and indeed unnecessary. The only problem is that there is no circulating lubricant to assist the process of the heat generated.

Oil, water, or even gas may be forced to balance and isolate the external load between the surfaces at adequate pressure if the loads are large. This is called hydrostatic lubrication. An internal pumping operation can be carried out if a low pair of tightly conforming surfaces is subtly modified to create a lubricant-filled wedge-shaped space as the surfaces are rotated. This is known as hydrodynamic lubrication.

Self-lubricating Sleeve Bearings

Any external lubrication is not needed for self-lubricating or oil-impregnated sleeve bearings. The concept behind self-lubricating bearings is that there is a solid lubricating film created by the transfer of a small amount of material from the bearing layer during the initial run-in time of the sleeve bearing. The film comes into direct contact with the moving parts and, to prolong the service life of the bearing, protects the mating portion.

Self-lubricating is amazing as it comes with these benefits: removal of oil holes and grooves that cost the machine money, reduction of the running cost of the machinery because less maintenance is required, the simpler mechanical design of thicker walls and excellent wear resistance, and a safer environment without reliance on oil lubricants.

Potential Risks of Sleeve Bearings

There are several problems with the sleeve bearing that should be addressed. An improvement to the clearance between the shaft and bearing can solve problems with friction or inadequate lubrication in some cases. The babbitt material may need to be replaced or the surface changed in certain cases, and structural adjustments may need to be made to the housing of the bearing. This process to replace this babbitt called spin casting or centrifugal casting.

IMTS Exhibition

IMTS gathered worldwide Bearing manufacturers into this online platform. Browse and search for your next supplier with us.

Should you run into any difficulties, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Quick Link to Suppliers

Related Categories

0Inquiry Item Contact IMTS

International Manufacturing Teletrading Sources (IMTS) is your key to unlock the door to the industry from anywhere around the world, at any time.