In principle, the technology of linear bearings can be compared with that of roller bearings, though the movement of linear bearings differs. Roller bearings use rotary movement, while linear bearings move to convey the force they are transmitting. A linear bearing could be thought of as a roller bearing in which the plane is unwound. Both tracks are parallel to each other and the rolling element is placed in the gap between the tracks. In rolling bearings, the rolling elements are either balls or rollers. In the rolling contacts of a linear bearing, the contact takes place analogously to roller bearings, in that unwanted contacts with the machine parts are also prevented.
The main difference between linear and roller bearings is found in their rotation - in linear technology, tracking and return take place through linear motion. Another difference between linear and roller bearings is found in the way their service life is calculated. The service life of a roller bearing is determined by the number of revolutions or operating hours, while that of linear bearings is determined by the distance they travel. Despite their differences, linear and roller bearings also share similarities. For example, the materials, lubrication, and sealings are all very similar in both types of bearing.
Linear bearings are available in several types, one of which is sliding bearings. In bearings of this type, the operation is very similar to that of rotational slide bearings. A disadvantage of linear bearings is present here, in that they have more movement (play) than roller bearings.
Linear bearings have a broad range of uses. Among others, they are used in printing machines, flame cutting machines, many types of presses, as well as in computers and measurement devices. Furthermore, they can also be used to construct sliding devices such as linear tables. In this application, the linear bearing serves to provide a constant, friction-free guide of straight-line motion of an element of a machine. This function is perhaps the most important difference between linear and roller bearings.
Ostensibly, the term ‘linear technology’ goes well beyond the transmission of forces. Drive components are also integrated in the area of guiding elements, wherein another difference between rotation drives and linear drives can be found. In this case, linear technology is characterized by a limited stroke. Despite their difference, linear and roller bearings are both highly popular and have a broad range of important uses throughout many industries. When buying linear bearings, ensure you are getting them from a trusted source.