What is a Pillow Block Bearing Used For?

Pillow block bearings support shafts that run parallel to the mounting surface. This makes them a very simple but vital part of conveyor systems, industrial fans, farm equipment, jib cranes, car washes, and much more. With that much at stake, let’s make sure you get the right one and use it the right way.

Split or Solid Housing

Pillow block bearing housings can be either split or solid, sometimes called “unsplit.” A solid housing is a single unit, whereas with a split housing you can remove the cap (the top part) from the base.

Lubrication Options

Type E 2-Bolt Pillow Block Bearing

Of course, if you’re working with shafts and bearings, you have to think about lubrication. Pillow block bearings come with a lubrication port at the top of the housing. This allows you to add lubricant to the bearing housing without applying it to directly to the bearing. However, lubrication can still go wrong. You have to make sure you have the right lubricant for the job, which entails accounting for things like the environmental moisture the bearing is exposed to, temperature and its effects on viscosity, ensuring the proper lubrication for the bearing metals themselves and the right amount and pressure of lubrication to apply.

Solid lubricants are increasingly common. Bearings with a solid lubricant are made of a specially impregnated alloy that absorbs and releases lubricant throughout the life of the bearing, minimizing the number of opportunities for something to go wrong.

Accurate Sizing Ensures a Long Life

No amount of lubrication can save a bearing or a shaft from the damage of a size mismatch. If the mismatch is small, you may not notice the loss of efficiency until you find yourself replacing the bearing or the shaft earlier than planned.

The diameter and load of the shaft are the two most important considerations in sizing your pillow block bearing. Check your documentation for the shaft, and if you’re not sure, double check with MDS’s team before buying anything.

What to Replace & When

If you are replacing the bearing, you should replace the bearing housing as well to ensure a “factory fit” and to eliminate any mismatch in wear which will affect performance and efficiency.

If you have any questions about pillow block bearings, request information from MDS today.

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