How Does Contamination Affect Simplicity® Linear Bearings?
All linear bearings will face contamination. It can range from general shop dust to severe foundry sand, weld splatter, or dirt in agricultural equipment. Simplicity® linear bearings are designed to handle the toughest crud, but how does the contamination affect them compared to traditional ball bearings?
First understand that FrelonGOLD® - - a PTFE based liner material - - is bonded to the I.D. of an outer aluminum or stainless steel shell at the molecular level. This bearing liner material is self-lubricating and designed to run without external lubrication. It is finish ground on the I.D. to create a close fit with the shaft. This eliminates the gaps present in other designs creating an inherent wiping action, and seals most contamination out of the bearing. Only small particulate will occasionally migrate into the bearing, but the soft liner material embeds that particle, keeping it away from the shaft and eliminating the possibility for damage.
Ball bearings, however, must add seals to try and cover the gaps between bearing and shaft. These seals can move, wear, and are often ineffective. Particles will then find their way into the bearing causing the balls to skid or completely seize. As a result, they will grind against the shaft creating grooves, a loss of precision, and ultimately a catastrophic failure.
In any environment, Simplicity® self-lubricating linear bearings will excel due to the fact there is no metal-to-metal contact. But in contaminated environments, the natural sealing capabilities and the ability to embed particulate make them the bearing of choice.