If you’re thinking about buying a pillow block bushing, you might be wondering whether they require lubrication. Pillow block bushings are mountable bearings. Also known as plummer blocks, they are used to support a rotating shaft. You can place a rotating shaft through the bearing in the center of a pillow block bushing.
Pillow block bushings will isolate vibrations while simultaneously supporting the rotating shafts with which they are used. As the rotating shaft moves, however, the pillow block bushing will be exposed to mechanical wear and tear. A little lubrication, however, will protect the pillow block bushing from damage.
The Importance of Lubrication for Pillow Block Bushings
Because they contain a bearing, pillow block bushings require lubrication. Without lubrication, they’ll be exposed to friction that shortens their usable life.
Bearings are parts that assist in the rotation of other parts, such as a shaft. In the center of a pillow block bushing is a bearing. Placing a rotating shaft through this bearing will support it. The bearing will restrict the movement of the rotating shaft while ensuring that it’s properly aligned. Lubrication, of course, will minimize friction. The bearing will be exposed to less friction as the shaft rotates and moves.
Look for a Porous Sleeve
While pillow block bushings require lubrication, you don’t have to lubricate them each time you use them. Some pillow block bushings are designed to hold and release lubrication slowly over a period of time. Known as self-lubricating pillow block bushings, they are characterized by the use of a porous sleeve.
When inspecting a self-lubricating pillow block bushing, you may notice that it has a ring around the bearing. This ring or sleeve is made of a porous material, such as bronze. Adding a few drops of lubricant to this porous sleeve will result in long-lasting lubrication. The porous sleeve will absorb the lubricant. Once absorbed, it will then gradually release some of the lubricant.
In addition to a sleeve, most pillow block bushings have a wall. The wall consists of an elastic and flexible material around the bearing. Regardless, if a pillow block bushing has a porous sleeve, you’ll only need to lubricate it occasionally. Those with a porous sleeve are essentially self-lubricating.
To minimize friction and protect against damage, pillow block bushings should be lubrication. The good news, though, is that some of them are self-lubricating. They feature a porous sleeve that offers long-lasting lubrication. The porous sleeve will hold lubricant, and it will gradually release lubricant.