Pillow Block Bearings: Housing Materials And Types

If you require shaft support, you need the right type of pillow block bearings. Also known as a plummer block or bearing housing, this device is a pedestal. A pillow block is most frequently a mounted unit. They support the shaft at the point where the mounting surface runs parallel to the shaft axis. Pillow blocks are made of various components, are composed of different materials and come in different types suitable for diverse applications. Below, you will find information on components, types, and housing materials, providing you with sufficient information to make a decision on what types of pillow blocks will be suitable for use in your facilities in Louisiana.


In general, a pillow block bearing consists of two main parts: the casing and the bearings. The bearings differ for various pillow blocks. They may be fixed or replaceable. This latter type is an insert bearing. Bearings are also usually self-aligning. In addition to these, other components usually comprising a standard pillow block include.

 * Housing
 * Grease Nipple
 * Outer Ring
 * Rubber Seals
 * Set Screws
 * Slinger
 * Steel Balls
 * Steel Retainer/Cage
 * Wide Inner Ring

The materials that make up the casing and the bearings may differ. Block bearings, for example, may be composed of pressed steel. These are best left for light duty applications.

Common Housing Material

Pillow block bearings depend on upon the protective casing called housing. Materials used in construction vary in terms of properties and, therefore, application. Typical housing material for pillow blocks is

 * Aluminum
 * Cast Iron
 * Cast Steel
 * Pressed Steel
 * Plastic: Common plastic materials used for pillow block casings include Acetal, Nylon/Polyamide, and PTFE/Teflon.
 * Stainless steel

They reflect the intended use, availability of materials, desired properties and the budget of the company in Louisiana for this device.

Pillow Block Bearings – Types

As in material, bearings come in different types. They vary according to the intended use and material. A company in Louisiana, for example, may want to reduce friction in linear applications or for rotary applications. Some may self-align while, in others, the focus is on maintaining high stiffness. The basic types used are:

 * Plain bearings: Typically made from bronze, these bearings employ a sliding action to guide, constrain or reduce friction in undeviating or linear applications
 * Ball bearings: The rolling element is a ball. Used for rotary applications
 * Roller bearings: In this case, the rolling element is a roller. They may be conical (Tapered roller bearings), crowned or spherical (Spherical roller bearings) cylindrical (Cylindrical roller bearings) or needle rollers (Needle roller bearings)
 * Hydrodynamic bearings: These most expensive and complex type of bearings are fluid film bearings

These bearings are all an integral component of pillow blocks. Each has its own purpose. It is up to a company to investigate exactly what they require before committing to any purchase decision of the right pillow block bearings for their facilities.

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