A flanged ball bearing is a configuration of a standard ball bearing that features an extension or lip on the outer ring of the bearing which is designed to aid the mounting and positioning of a bearing in a delicate application. Just as ball bearings are available in sealed or open, they are also available flanged or plain - a flange is simply another option for the design engineer or manufacturer. Flanged bearings are most commonly used in applications where the bearing must be locked in place. Depending on the application, the bearing will need to be locked axially (along the shaft) or radially (perpendicular to the shaft). In either case, a flanged bearing will help withstand axial thrusting.
Any application that requires a bearing to be mounted in a high-vibration area will benefit from the use of a flanged bearing. Automotive applications are a good example, as nearly all vehicle components must be able to withstand high vibrations. In automotive applications, in addition to vibration, the bearing must be able to withstand high temperatures. As such, adhesive or interference in the fit in the assembly of a bearing is often unacceptable. For these situations, to ensure the long-term reliability and durability of the bearing, flanged bearings are often the only choice. Flanged bearings will maintain their position even within hostile environments and vibration and, if necessary, can be supplemented with a retaining clip.
Extreme temperatures will also necessitate the use of a flanged bearing. Near the engine, where temperatures often surpass 350°F, added materials between a ball bearing and shaft will experience an increased rate of thermal expansion. For instance, if a steel bearing is pressed into an aluminum housing, the housing may expand earlier than the steel bearing and therefore lose contact with the bearing. The use of a flanged bearing in this case will hold the bearing in place axially, regardless of the imbalance of the expansion rate. In addition to automotive applications, flanged bearings are used in food processing machinery, conveyors, material handling, HVAC belt drives, textile machines, baggage systems, medical processing equipment, and other light-duty industrial applications.
The installation of flanged bearings is relatively simple. The drawback of these bearings is that many types are expensive and will increase the overall cost of a machine. There are several types of flanged bearings and the ideal type depends on the housing style. Flanged bearings can be one of a number of bearings. Roller bearings, for example, which include tapered, spherical, and cylindrical bearings, feature rollers within the inner and outer rings. Needle roller bearings are similar to cylindrical roller bearings but are much smaller. Plain bearings, also known as bushings, utilize a sliding action as opposed to a rolling action. Finally, the ball bearing, which is among the most well-known bearing types, consists of several balls held in place by a cage within the inner and outer rings.
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