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The Secret to Successful Machine Performance: Hybrid Ceramic Ball Bearings

Ceramic ball bearings (also known as hybrid bearings) are the one component that’ll easily optimize the performance of your application. Hybrid bearings have ceramic (silicon nitride, Si3N4) balls and 52100 bearing steel rings.

Choosing hybrid (HY) radial or angular contact bearings over conventional steel bearings offers key performance advantages.

Hybrid precision bearings with ceramic balls | Angular contact bearings manufactured by GMN Bearing USA

Benefits of a ceramic ball bearing: 

  • Improved rigidity, accuracy and precision 
  • Less operational vibration 
  • 40% increase in the lifespan of your application 
  • Higher speeds and lower rolling friction 

These are just a few benefits.

What is a Ceramic Hybrid Bearing?

A hybrid bearing has ball material made of ceramic, silicon nitride (Si3N4) and 52100 bearing steel rings. This type of precision bearing is an excellent choice for advanced machines that require precision.

Ceramic balls offer numerous advantages over steel balls:

  • Ceramic is a lighter material than steel, so operating temperatures are reduced
  • Higher speeds can be achieved with the same size steel ball bearing
  • Contamination causes less damage to the bearing because of the hard ceramic material.

We stock hybrid ceramic ball angular contact bearings and hybrid ceramic radial bearings. All our bearings are manufactured in GMN Germany and stocked in Houston, Texas.

Swap your steel ball bearings for hybrid ceramic ball bearings today. Request a quote for pricing and availability.

Choose Ceramic Hybrid Bearings

Longer Service Life

Hybrid precision bearings have been shown to increase the lifespan of your application by up to 40% over a conventional steel bearing.

How this is possible:

  • Low surface adhesive wear: The lower affinity to steel reduces the adhesive wear, which is caused by the cold welding effect on irregularities in the raceway and ball surface.
  • Low abrasive wear out: With steel balls, contaminants and particles from the process of running in are embedded into the surface. With every revolution of the ball, these foreign particles damage the raceway. These particles make little impact on the extremely hard ceramic ball.
  • Insensitivity to poor lubrication: Low adhesion and friction allow the hybrid bearing to perform well even under poor lubrication.
  • Longer grease service life: Lower operating temperature and favorable tribologic features, extend the service life of the grease.

Higher Speeds

The attainable speed depends on the thermal conditions in the bearing. A hybrid bearing creates less friction and generates less power loss, therefore the speed limit is increased.

  • Low rolling friction: Ceramic balls are lighter than steel, therefore rolling friction is reduced because the centrifugal force is less. The contact ellipse is less because of the higher Young’s modulus.
  • Low sliding friction between ball and raceway: At high speeds, sliding friction is responsible for most of the total friction. One of the criteria for the sliding friction is a low spin/roll ratio, if it’s above 0.25 then service life will be affected.
  • Avoid ball skidding: Balls skid on the raceway if the preload between the rings is too small. This process usually occurs in cases of an insufficient preload of the bearing or an excessive acceleration. With hybrid bearings, you can reduce the preload minimum because they have a smaller inertia and generate a smaller spinning moment.

Low Cost Lubrication

  • Grease lubrication can be used in higher speed ranges.
  • The limiting speed for minimum oil lubrication increases significantly. In many cases, it can replace the expensive oil jet lubrication.

Please note: The possible increase of the speed depends on different factors, such as the allowed speed factor of the grease used, temperature and the concept of the bearing fittings. Therefore, we don’t publish a standard additional factor for the limiting speed, but we offer an individual check of the construction. For contact, please contact us.

Higher Rigidity

  • The radial rigidity of hybrid bearings is approximately 15% higher at low speeds because of the higher Young’s modulus.
  • With higher speeds, the centrifugal force affects the distribution of the internal load and dynamic rigidity is reduced. The diagram shows a reduced loss of rigidity for hybrid bearings.
  • A high rigidity improves the accuracy and shifts the critical fundamental frequency of the bearing arrangement.

Improved Machining Accuracy

The following factors lead to an improvement of the surface quality and accuracy of machined parts.

  • Higher rigidity of bearing arrangement
  • Small thermal expansion
  • Low vibration impulse by ceramic balls

Applications That’d Benefit from Using a Ceramic Hybrid Bearing

  • Machine tool spindles: State of the art machining processes, like high-speed milling, require a new concept of bearing arrangements for spindles. The application of hybrid bearings has resulted in a remarkable improvement in performance. For many years we have successfully used spindles with hybrid bearings for our own production processes.
  • Vacuum Pumps: The reliability of these bearings is of utmost importance, as a breakdown can result in high costs.
  • Medical equipment like X-ray tube bearings
  • Emergency bearings, like touchdown bearings, for magnetic bearing systems
  • Bearings for aeronautic and aerospace applications

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