Ball bearings are a special type of bearing that contain a specific number of metal balls that rotate freely. They are used for a number of applications, but their most important function is to reduce friction between moving parts. There are a number of different types of ball bearings, but the most common type of ball bearing is similar to the one pictured in this article. The basic design features inner and outer tracks (called races or raceways), which are in the shape of a ring, and the small round metal balls rotate between these tracks. Ball bearings are used for many different purposes and can be found in everything from household appliances through to heavy industrial machinery. Let’s find out how these important bearings are made.
How are ball bearings made?
The first step in the process is to create the inner and outer raceways. These raceways are usually made from heavy duty steel rings. These rings are combined and a grinder removes some of the steel to ensure they are the correct thickness. After this process they are checked with a gauge and are then separated for further processing. The outer surface of the raceways are then ground again to ensure they are the precise shape and size. They are then rechecked to ensure that they are the correct dimensions so they can be sent for polishing. They are then polished with a special machine that uses an abrasive stone to polish the metal until you can see a reflection. The final step of this process is washing.
The metal balls are created from steel wire which is cut and then punched into round shaped pieces with a special machine. The balls are then ground to remove the bumps and imperfections. They are then transferred to other machines to create a perfectly round and polished steel ball. The final step is to harden the balls, which is done with a furnace, and they are then cleaned. The final product is checked for quality and then they are stored so they can be used in the bearings.
The finished ball bearings are put together with an assembly machine which transfers the correct number of steel balls between the inner and outer raceways of each bearing. These balls are kept in place with a ball cage, which is attached to the bearing. This is then cleaned and tested, and any damaged or overweight bearings are discarded, and the bearings are ready for labeling, packaging and shipping.