Pillow block bearings are a type of housed bearing unit used with a machined mounting surface and found in mechanical power transmission systems where they support shafts and couplings. The shaft is perpendicular to the mounting screws and parallel to the mounting surface. Pillow block bearings can come in many types, such as ball bearing, cylindrical bearing, tapered roller bearing, or synthetic bushing. In this blog, we will discuss the basics of pillow block bearings.
Pillow block bearings are sometimes known as plumber blocks. Despite this, plumber blocks have small differences in their construction and the two devices are used in different applications. As such, it is important to understand the difference between the two. Plumber blocks are used to transfer high power and support heavy industrial loads, while pillow blocks are only suited to lightweight uses. Because of this difference, the construction material and bearing types may also vary, though they are most commonly made from gray cast iron. Pillow block bearings can be classified into two types, based on their housing construction. These types are solid housed bearings, which are single-piece housings, and split housed bearings, which are two-piece housings.
When selecting a pillow block bearing that is ideal for your end use, there are many things to consider. First, you should select a bearing type that is suitable for your application, considering things like load type, shaft size, running speed, misalignment, and so on. These could be plain bearings, ball bearings, as well as tapered roller bearings, spherical roller bearings, and cylindrical roller bearings. The next step is to select the correct housing material. This will primarily depend on the application and environment. Next, choose a suitable shaft attachment. Units can have set screw, eccentric lock, single/double set collar, concentric lock, or tapered adapter.
Fourth, consider using a split type pillow block bearing if it is necessary or would make the installation more simple. Fifth, if the application will involve high loads, you should use a bearing unit with a suitable bearing type. Finally, as seals vary, you should also consider which type is most ideal for your application. These can include clearance seals, light contact, heavy contact, and auxiliary seals. Taking all of these factors into account, as well as carrying out proper installation and good maintenance, will ensure that your pillow block bearings last for a long time without the need to replace them.
Pillow block bearings are extremely versatile and can be used in a broad range of applications. The systems in which they can be used include: belt drives connecting motors and pumps, long shafts connecting motors and industrial gearboxes, conveyor belt rollers, ventilation systems, and paper machines. As stated, pillow block bearing housings are most commonly made from gray cast iron. Despite this, other materials, such as ductile iron, steel, stainless steel, various types of thermoplastics, and polyethylene-based plastics can also be used. The bearing element itself can be made from chromium steel alloy, stainless steel, plastic, or bushing materials such as cast bronze, oil-impregnated sintered bronze, or synthetic materials.
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