Cage keeps bearings in line and lubricated

July 12, 2001
Ball-to-ball friction in bearings generates heat, limits the speed, and shortens the life of linear-motion guides.


Ball-to-ball friction in bearings generates heat, limits the speed, and shortens the life of linear-motion guides. To solve these problems, engineers at THK designed a caged-ball system that places recirculating bearings in a retainer, or cage, that separates and aligns the bearings. The cage creates a bearing chain with spaces, or grease pockets, to hold lubricant and keep the bearings from touching each other.

Separating the bearings provides several benefits. Because the bearings are not in contact with one another, there is much less metallic noise during operation. The lack of bearing-to-bearing contact also decreases wear and allows room for lubricant, two factors which promote long-term, maintenance-free operation. Meanwhile, the lack of bearing noise or vibration means rolling resistance is more uniform, keeping performance of the linear guide consistent. And reduced heat levels and low bearing stresses lets the linear guide move at higher speeds.

The caged-ball technology is especially well suited for medical devices and semiconductor-inspection applications, according to THK, and is available in a wide variety of linear-guide models.

Sponsored Recommendations

How BASF turns data into savings

May 7, 2024
BASF continuously monitors the health of 63 substation assets — with Schneider’s Service Bureau and EcoStruxure™ Asset Advisor. ►Learn More: https://www.schn...

Agile design thinking: A key to operation-level digital transformation acceleration

May 7, 2024
Digital transformation, aided by agile design thinking, can reduce obstacles to change. Learn about 3 steps that can guide success.

Can new digital medium voltage circuit breakers help facilities reduce their carbon footprint?

May 7, 2024
Find out how facility managers can easily monitor energy usage to create a sustainable, decarbonized environment using digital MV circuit breakers.

The Digital Thread: End-to-End Data-Driven Manufacturing

May 1, 2024
Creating a Digital Thread by harnessing end-to-end manufacturing data is providing unprecedented opportunities to create efficiencies in the world of manufacturing.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!