Sleeve bearings are also called journal bearings or bushings. They are designed to specifically reduce friction and to guide movement in a linear and sometimes in a rotary system. While ball bearings, roller bearings and needle bearings function by means of a rolling action, sleeve bearings do not; they function by means of a sliding action. By design, sleeve bearings have a cylindrical shape and the inside and outside diameters are the same.
A sleeve bearing owes its smooth operation and longevity to the durable, self-lubricating material used in their make-up. After all, sleeve bearings are designed to carry a load reliably and if you choose a good brand, that is precisely what you can trust them to do. Self-lubricating sleeve bearings are by definition oil-impregnated. Sometimes they are made of oil-impregnated sintered bronze. As these bearings will in operation make direct contact with moving components, it is essential that they are designed and manufactured from the right self-lubricating material – poor lubrication leads to unsafe operation, accelerated failure and premature wear and tear.
The fact that a sleeve bearing is designed in this way means that oil holes and grooves are not required, reducing costs, requiring less maintenance, resisting wear exceptionally well and resulting in overall safer operation of machinery. As a result, a typical sleeve bearing will offer a high load-bearing capacity while at the same time being compact and lightweight. When compared to other types of bearings, they are considered to be reasonably priced and are noted to be a particularly high-value product in our range of bearings.
Inferior quality sleeve bearings may malfunction, mainly as a result of poor design or lubrication. In these instances, it is usually the inner bearing that wears out the sleeve, creating an imperfect shape that is no longer a true cylinder, which in turn results in shaking and vibration. In some instances, the bearing is incorrectly or unevenly lubricated and extreme temperatures or fluctuating conditions cause the lubricant to become viscous – in this instance, the bearing will seize and movement will not be possible. Leading manufacturers of bearings have discovered that protecting the bearing from dust and dirt can help to avoid these issues. Protective seals are therefore usually included in the bearing design to protect it against contamination.
Sleeve bearings are used in a multitude of applications and machines including cars, household appliances, heavy-duty machinery, fans and many more. Great care must be taken to ensure that the correct bearing is chosen for the job.
At Technoslide we design and manufacture sleeve bearings of the highest quality. Our range of bearings is designed to offer both exceptional strength and a excellent service life. While we have a standard range of plain and sleeve bearings available, we can also assist clients who need unique custom bearings manufactured according to their specifications. Simply let us know what your requirements are, and we will ensure that a professional assists you, give you the correct advice and see your project out to the end.
For further information on our bearing design and manufacturing services or to learn more about the functionality and limitations of sleeve bearings, get in touch with us. We are available via email and telephone.