How to avoid bearing the cost of fortune

  • Bearing failures can be costly, disruptive and, in some cases, dangerous
  • The three main reasons for bearing failure are: bearing fatigue, incorrect lubrication and the wrong selection of bearing type and material
  • Work with experts to learn how to make the right decision first time round, and stay on top of the latest technology developments

How should I choose a bearing? It’s a question we hear our customers across every sector and of every size ask.

Making key considerations at the specification stage to determine what bearing should be used in each application is a must, and can help designers to always make the right decision. There are three main considerations for specification success:

Bearing type

You need to consider what type of bearing to suit the application. With plain bearings, ball bearings, roller bearings, needle bearings – the list goes on – we know it can seem overwhelming. Especially when you consider that each of these types has many variations.

The majority of our customers know exactly what their bearing needs to do, but need advice on what type of bearing can deliver those capabilities most effectively and cost-efficiently. This is not only in relation to the initial purchase cost, but ongoing maintenance, lifespan and even how efficiently the equipment works.

Unrestricted to any single type of bearing like some suppliers, this is where we add real value through independent advice.

Material selection

The choice of material is the next big decision and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Plain bearings are manufactured in sintered bronze, sintered iron, copper, rolled bronze, cast bronze, various plastics, various composites, stainless steel and other alloys such as BowMet® [LINK], which is made from the ToughMet® alloy. Ball, roller and needle bearings can be offered in high carbon chrome steel, stainless steel, plastic and other materials.

The bearing industry evolves at a rapid pace too, as new materials are being developed all the time so it’s advisable to work with suppliers which stock the latest innovations.


Bearings should preferably be maintenance-free. Considerable thought must be given to speed, loads, corrosion and of course, maintenance.

In some sectors, such as marine for example, it is either difficult, cost-prohibitive or impossible to service bearings because of the environment in which they are operated. In others, owners or operators are too busy to take the time to keep bearings adequately lubricated. The good news for you, and them, is that maintenance free solutions do exist, like those provided by our Oilless® or BowMet® ranges.

Working with a supplier that can take a holistic approach to all bearing types and all materials will enable you to make the most of every efficiency.


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