Flange Bearing vs. Pillow Block

Pillow block bearings and flange block bearings are essential components in a wide range of industrial applications. Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying flange bearings and pillow block bearings to ensure these vital parts stay silent and stay working.

What is The Difference Between Pillow Block & Flange Block Bearings?

Type E 4-Bolt Pillow Block BearingPillow block bearings are used when the shaft is parallel to the mounting surface. In most pictures and diagrams, this is shown horizontally, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Pillow block bearings can support shafts running horizontally, vertically or at an angle – as long as the block is mounted on a surface running the same way.

Flange block bearings are essentially the right-angled equivalent. Flange block bearings support shafts that are perpendicular to the mounting surface. Again, this is often shown with a vertical shaft, but that does not have to be the case. It’s all about the angle between the shaft and the mounting platform, not between the shaft and the ground.

Design & Size Considerations

4-Bolt Flange Bearing

Here at MDS, we offer bearings with cast iron housings. But steel, aluminum, and thermoplastic housings are also common. The load and heat of your application will determine which is most suitable. The price varies with the material, so particularly if you need a large number of bearings, choosing the right material for the job can save you a significant amount of money. They also both come in 2- and 4-bolt configurations, with most pillow block bearings having two bolts and flange bearings being about equally common in the two variations.

Determining the right size bearing mount comes down to the size of the shaft. Especially if this is your first time ordering a bearing mount for the job, check the documentation for the shaft before placing the order. A mismatch between the shaft and the bearing may result in machinery operating inefficiently for some time or failing under certain conditions, so be sure to verify.

Type E for Extra

MDS offers “Type E” pillow block and flange bearings. These provide extra seals to protect the lubrication from leakage or contamination. Particularly in high stress applications or highly controlled environments like food production, “Type E” bearings could protect your product lines as well as your machinery.

Have more questions? Contact the MDS team to talk through our full line of mounted bearings.