Ball Bearings use in cars and bikes
One of the largest industries that relies on ball bearings is the transportation industry. This is because ball bearings are used to facilitate rotational movement, and all forms of transportation rely on rotational energy, usually via wheels. However, there are many different types of transportation that require ball bearings for different uses.
Bicycles and Skateboards
A common application for ball bearings is within bicycle and skateboard wheels. These are usually standard ball bearings, only a few centimeters in diameter. They have a very straightforward role, to facilitate the rotation of the wheels. These bearings are usually of average quality as they have low speed and load requirements, and they should be re-lubricated regularly to improve performance levels.
In automotive vehicles, bearings have a variety of uses. The minimum number of bearings a car can be produced with is around 36, and most vehicles contain more. They are found in the engine, transmission, AC compressor, and of course, the wheels. These applications are evident in cars, motorcycles, mopeds, and buses.
Aircrafts also have a variety of uses for ball bearings necessary for function, including the landing gear struts, engine, flight control systems, hydraulic fuel pumps, and electric and wing flap actuators. There are also bearings used in the interior mechanisms, such as hinges, latches, and baggage compartments. The aerospace industry requires high performance and durable bearings to function in outer space and at high temperatures and speeds.
Trains and Railways
Railed transportation such as trains, railways, and trolleys, use a variety of ball bearings for applications such as wheel axles, drive units, and traction motors. These bearings usually require high durability for extended, continuous use. As these public transportation industries are heavily relied upon by large populations, many quality bearings come with condition-monitoring sensors, as well as specific coatings and lubrications that will reduce friction with little maintenance requirements.
Heavy Duty Vehicles
Large vehicles are widely used in heavy duty industries such as construction, mining, and agriculture. This includes vehicles such as tractors, cranes, rollers, excavators, and more. Heavy duty equipment requires heavy duty bearings, that are specifically designed to withstand extremely heavy loads and challenging operating conditions. Bearing features include strong materials, large size, efficient seals, and special protective coatings to avoid corrosion. Many manufacturers produce a specific category of agricultural bearings made to survive the dirt, heat, and long hours of tractor use.
Boats and Ships
Just as with the other vehicles, ships use a multitude of ball bearings to function. While they may not utilize wheels, boats use propellers to create forward motion, which is another way to use rotational energy other than a wheel. They also use bearings within the engine and for cooling systems. Ceramic or hybrid ball bearings are commonly used in ships and submarines, as they require minimal lubrication, making them suitable for underwater applications.