Radial spherical plain bearings have an inner ring with a sphered convex outside diameter and an outer ring with a correspondingly sphered but concave inside surface.
Their design makes them particularly suitable for bearing arrangements where alignment movements between shaft and housing have to be accommodated, or where oscillating or recurrent tilting or slewing movements must be possible at relatively slow sliding speeds, often accompanied with heavy loads.
The various bearing types, its designs and variants are described in the following:
A characteristic feature of SKF steel/steel radial spherical plain bearings is the outer ring, which is intentionally fractured so that it can be sprung apart to enable the inner ring to be inserted. Therefore, these bearings are non-separable and easy to handle.
The bearings are manganese phosphated and the sliding contact surface is then treated with a running-in lubricant. This reduces friction and wear during the running-in period. To facilitate lubrication, all bearings, with the exception of some small sizes, have an annular groove and two lubrication holes in both the inner and outer rings.
Heavy-duty spherical plain bearings are manufactured with the SKF multi groove system and are fitted with a LS heavy-duty (triple-lip) seal on both sides. As their name implies, these bearings are an excellent solution for applications under extreme environments and operating conditions such as:
- heavy alternating loads
- shock loads
- heavy static loads
A standard assortment of heavy-duty spherical plain bearings is listed in the product table. On request, SKF can manufacture and supply also other radial spherical plain bearings with the multi-groove system (designation suffix ESL).
Bearings and rod ends requiring maintenance should be greased prior to being put into operation. With the exception of a few applications, they should be relubricated periodically.
SKF Explorer steel/steel radial spherical plain bearings
SKF Explorer steel/steel radial plain bearings are maintenance-free (SKF Explorer steel/steel plain bearings). The sliding surfaces are treated further to improve wear and corrosion resistance. All series have an outer ring that is intentionally fractured to allow for the inner ring to be inserted. The bearings are non-separable.
Maintenance-free radial spherical plain bearings
SKF manufactures maintenance-free radial spherical plain bearings in a variety of designs and a wide range of sizes. Three sliding contact surface combinations are available:
- steel/PTFE sintered bronze, designation suffix C
- steel/PTFE fabric, designation suffix TX
- steel/PTFE FRP, designation suffix F (
All three sliding contact surface combinations are self-lubricating. Bearings with a steel/PTFE sintered bronze or steel/PTFE fabric sliding contact surface combinations must not be lubricated. Bearings with a steel/PTFE FRP (fibre reinforced polymer) sliding contact surface combination are also maintenance-free, whereas occasional relubrication is beneficial to help maximize bearing service life. To facilitate relubrication, steel/PTFE FRP bearings are equipped with lubrication facilities.