Wednesday, November 11, 2020

What Is the Difference Between Bushings and Bearings?



















If you’re new to the manufacturing industry, you may be confused about the difference between bushings and bearings. Some people say they’re the same. Others say they’re different. Which is it? They can’t be both! Below, we’ll demystify some of the confusion surrounding these parts.
When Bearings and Bushings Are the Same

In the automotive industry, the terms bushing and bearing are often used interchangeably, so if you’re coming to manufacturing with some background knowledge on cars, it’s easy to see why you’d be confused. Bearings (or bushings, as it were) are used in gearboxes, auto transmissions, and shock systems in vehicles.

When Bushings Are Bearings


You know how all squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares? This is how it works with bearings and bushings too—at least outside of the automotive industry. All bushings are bearings, but not all bearings are bushings.

Bushings are also known as sleeve bearings because they come in a cylindrical (or sleeve) shape that enables two components or surfaces to move with a sliding motion. You might also see them referred to as plain bearings. These bushings can be straight up-and-down cylinders, which are used for radial loads, or they may be flanged, which makes them suitable for radial and axial loads. Then, there are thrust washers, which are bushings that can withstand applications that involve thrust forces with moderate velocities.

When Bearings Aren’t Bushings


We know that all bushings are bearings, but what kind of bearing isn’t a bushing?

The easiest way to distinguish the two is to remember that a bushing is always a single part—a cylinder with or without a flange—while any bearing that has multiple components is not a bushing. Ball bearings, for example, are not bushings because they have several parts, including a raceway and rolling elements. In other words, the difference between bushings and bearings in some instances is that bearings are more complex. A simple sleeve bearing is a bushing, but a more complicated bearing is not.

What Else You Should Know About Bushings


We categorize bushings into sleeve bushings, flange bushings, and thrust washers, but they can be further categorized by type of lubrication.

Self-lubricating bushings are used in applications where regular lubrication is not possible or difficult. These bushings have small pores in them that are impregnated with lubricant. This lubricant is released when the bushings are in use, then reabsorbed when they are at rest, greatly reducing the need for maintenance. Graphite-plugged bushings are one example of a self-lubricating bushing.

Plain bushings can only be used in applications where there is already a system in place for lubrication or when there is sufficient staff to perform ongoing lubrication and maintenance. These are more economical than self-lubricating bushings, but once you factor in the added labor costs, self-lubricating bushings usually come out ahead in the long-term.

Learn More About the Difference Between Bushings and Bearings


If you’re still not sure whether you need a bushing or bearing for your application, our sales team is happy to help. Atlas Bronze experts are always available to explain all of our different options and listen to your needs in order to determine the right fit for you. Contact us at 1-800-478-0887 to speak with one of our experts and get started.



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