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  • Ball (bearing)

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    Bearing balls are special highly spherical and smooth balls, most commonly used in ball bearings, but also used as components in things like freewheel mechanisms. The balls come in many different grades. These grades are defined by bodies such as the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA), a body which sets standards for the precision of bearing balls. They are manufactured in machines designed specially for the job. In 2008, the United States produced 5.778 billion bearing balls.

  • Plain bearing

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    Plain bearing on a 1906 S-Motor locomotive showing the axle, bearing, oil supply and oiling pad A plain bearing, or more commonly sliding bearing and slide bearing (in railroading sometimes called a solid bearing or friction bearing), is the simplest type of bearing, comprising just a bearing surface and no rolling elements. Therefore, the journal (i.e., the part of the shaft in contact with the bearing) slides over the bearing surface. The simplest example of a plain bearing is a shaft rotating in a hole. A simple linear bearing can be a pair of flat surfaces designed to allow motion; e.g., a drawer and the slides it rests on or the ways on the bed of a lathe. Plain bearings, in general, are the least expensive type of bearing. They are also compact and lightweight, and they have a high load-carrying capacity.

  • ABEC scale

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    The ABEC scale is an industry accepted standard for the tolerances of a ball bearing. It was developed by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC) of the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA). The ABEC scale is designed to provide bearing manufacturers dimensional specifications that meet the standards of precision bearings in a specified class. Manufacturers who produce equipment that require bearings must also know the dimensional tolerances to design parts that will accommodate a bearing. There are five classes from largest to smallest tolerances: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9. The higher ABEC classes provide better precision, efficiency, and the possibility of greater speed capabilities, but do not necessarily allow the components to spin faster. The ABEC rating does not specify many critical factors, such as load handling capabilities, ball precision, materials, material Rockwell hardness, degree of ball and raceway polishing, noise, vibration, and lubricant. Due to these factors, an ABEC 3 classified bearing could perform better than an ABEC 7 bearing. Bearings not conforming to at least ABEC 1 cannot be classified as precision bearings as their tolerances are too loose.

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