Machine Design

Segmented Bearings At Work

In the graphics on the far right, a cross section of a linear guide for high-precision pick-and-place applications shows how two segments (instead of four complete bearings) support the carriage. The bearings provide backlash-free slide assembly without sacrificing load capacity or smoothness in the aluminum slides.

In the adjacent photo, a segmented bearing acts as a rack-support mechanism for a power and manual-steering gear. The self-aligning bearing, which has roll, pitch, and yaw capabilities, supports the steering rack against pressure from the pinion and eliminates stick/slip. The bearing has a load capacity exceeding 500 lb for 2 million in. of travel and operates at temperatures up to 500°F. The design is said to reduce friction by as much as 100 times compared to plain bushings, thus increasing steering sensitivity and lowering power requirements.


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