Bushings are a type of bearings. They are the rolling elements in a machine used to provide support to the moving parts, such as a shaft, and make sure the motion of the moving parts is smooth and efficient. There is a wide range of applications that bearings and bushings are involved; in order to best fit the actual requirements of the end application, these rolling elements evolve into various types such as ball bearings, plain bearings, ball bushings and more. The ball bushings and ball bearings are of the most common applied rolling elements in machinery. Though bushings and bearings are both rolling elements that support the moving parts, they do have features that are distinctively different from each other.
Bushings are also called plain bearings, plain bushings, or sleeve bearings. They are used to reduce the friction generated between the surfaces of the moving part and the machinery. This type of bearing has a cylindrical configuration. A bushing looks more like a barrel or a tube instead of a ring. They are used when there is a rotating or sliding shaft inside a machine. The bushings used to assist a sliding shaft with linear motion are called linear bushings. Ball bushings are of this type.
The primary goal of bushings and bearings in general is to improve efficiency of the motion and reduce vibration and noise. To this end, bushings can be implemented in almost every type of application as long as the operation of moving parts is included. They can be utilized in drilling operations, gearboxes, pumps, automobiles and more.
Ball bushings are a type of bushing and they are a subtype of bearing in general. The primary goals of ball bushings are to carry loads, reduce friction, and keep a moving part in position when the moving part is operating. They can be seen on wheels, engines, motors, turbines, etc. Ball bushings have its name because there are balls inside the bushings which separate the bushings into two races.
The composition of bearings and bushings are quite akin. Ball bearings and ball bushings both have two races in construction. The two races refer to the outer ring and the inner ring of these rolling elements and the balls are placed between the rings. These balls inside the bushing rotate as the moving part operates and hence the surface contact and friction across the moving planes are reduced.
Typically speaking, the goal of bearings is to support shafts that operate in a rotary fashion. Yet, besides the shafts that rotate, there are moving parts that have the linear motion capability when operating. Ball bushings are the bearings that can be used to provide support to linear motion shafts in mechanical machinery. The use of ball bushings and some types of bearings involves lubrication while some are not. The way these rolling elements are applied has a lot to do with their end applications. Different types of ball bushings have particular designs so that the bushings are able to take on works with different requirements.
Axial bearings are also called thrust ball bearings. This type of bearing is designed to take the axial loads. The axial load refers to the force that is applied along the axis of an object. In other words, it is the force that applies on a shaft from one end to the other end of it. The axial load is also called the thrust load. The axial load is a concept in contrast to the radial load. Radial load refers to the force that applies to the shaft in the radial direction which is perpendicular to the shaft axis. Most bearings are designed to take on the radial loads when a shaft is rotating.
The materials that are used in ball bushings and bearings may vary based on their application. That being said, in most cases the bearings are made from stainless steel or steel-based materials because the steel-based materials excel at corrosion resistance. Other materials that are used in ball bushings include ceramic and plastic.
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