Machine Design

Ball bearings bring the smooth feel of car steering to boats

Basics of Design Engineering Bearings

Teleflex Morse tilt-steering columns come equipped with ball bearings from Hartford Technologies.

Boat-steering controls fitted with steel ball bearings are stiffer, more responsive, and smoother than controls with nylon bushings, says marine-steering maker Teleflex Morse Inc., Limerick, Pa. (www.tele flexmorse.com).

Teleflex tapped Hartford Technologies, Rocky Hill, Conn., (www.hartfordtechnologies.com) for the modular bearings when nylon bushings couldn't handle the high loads or meet tolerance specs. The bearings support the steering drive shaft.

Hartford took existing bearings and upgraded them for saltwater service. This involved changing out carbon steel balls for 440 C stainless-steel equivalents and applying a corrosion-resistant coating to races. The updated steering column then underwent 18 months of rigorous testing at Teleflex. It is now slated for production in a line of premium pleasure boats.

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