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Dave Walden

How Long Will Simplicity® Linear Bearings Last?

October 04, 2012 - Rockford, IL  -  Posted by Dave Walden

How Long Will Simplicity® Linear Bearings Last?

Simplicity® self-lubricating linear bearings are designed to provide extended life for your linear motion.  But often we hear the question “How long will Simplicity linear bearings last?”  Here are details from a “real world”, actual test performed at PBC Linear to answer that question.


How Long Will Simplicity® Linear Bearings Last?

A rolling element linear bearing’s life expectancy is usually expressed in total inches or meters. A rolling element rotary bearing’s life expectancy is expressed in hours of operation. Both are also rated for average (L-50) and minimum (L-10) life. L-50 life is the average life that can be expected from 50% of rolling element bearings. In other words, 50% will not reach the average life expectancy. L-10 life is the minimum life (1/5 the average life) expected from 90% of rolling element bearings. In other words, 10% will not reach the minimum life expectancy. Theoretically they could fail upon installation.

Plane bearings are not rated by a life expectancy but by the wear rate of the bearing material. Wear is greatly dependent upon the proper application of the bearing and material used. If it is not properly applied, it will fail. Failure, however, is subjective and dependent upon specific application requirements. 0.002" running clearance may not be acceptable in one application while another may be able to run a bearing until the liner is completely worn through. The user may then rotate it 30 degrees and continue to run it. This broad range of acceptability makes it difficult to determine life expectancy.

The first step is to determine what wear is acceptable for your application. Then utilizing the test data below, you can estimate the wear expected for your given application.

Wear Test Sample 

CONDUCTED BY: Pacific Bearing® Company


SHAFT MATERIAL: Standard RC60 steel shafting


SPEED: 140 fpm (70 cycles/min; 1,680"/min; 100,800"/hour; 2,419,200"/day)


LOAD: 10.87 psi (53 lbs.)

BEARINGS USED: FLN12 (3/4" open style bearings)


TOTAL TRAVEL of TEST:  105,840,000"


NOTE: Wear is an average of totals taken from 4 bearings per carriage.

Wear Test Chart

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