Bearings FAQ

Your Bearing Questions Answered

If you have a question related to bearings, OTP’s experts likely have the answer. Below are some of the most common questions we receive from our customers—and the answers to go with them. Need additional insight? Simply contact our team today.

Q: The bearings in my application only briefly experience high temperatures. Can I switch to a standard lubricant instead of the high temperature lubricant used by the OEM?

A: Most standard lithium-based lubricants will operate a continuous maximum temperature of 80°C, and can withstand brief periods at 110°C. I suggest you measure the operating temperature at the bearing.

It is important to look at operating and maintenance costs. The labor cost to replace a failed bearing even a single time will more than offset any potential cost savings from using a standard lubricant instead of a high temperature lubricant.

Q: Should I use grease or oil in my application?

A: Grease is basically nothing more than base oil combined with a thickening agent. The thickening agent extends the operational life and shelf life of the bearing by slowing down the migration and evaporation of the oil.

Grease is typically used at lower speeds and with less torque-sensitive applications. Oil is typically better when low torque or high rotational speeds are an important consideration.

Q: When should I use spherical bearings?

A: Spherical bearings are self-aligning and can carry high loads and tolerate shock loads. These bearings can accommodate a misaligned shaft and are suitable for applications involving swivel movements, high alternating loads, very high radial loads with a unilateral load direction and high shock loads.

Typical spherical bearing applications include vibrators, shakers, conveyors, speed reducers, transmissions, and other heavy machinery.

Q: Are linear rail and carriage components from different manufacturers interchangeable?

A: Yes and no. Manufacturers use the term interchangeable for complete rail and carriage changeover, which means the height and carriage design of the complete rail system is interchangeable. However, the rail design from one manufacturer will not support the carriage from another.