When design engineers evaluate linear bearings, they always ask about performance attributes such as speed, load capacity and lifecycle. Then they want to know the price. It’s rare, however, that they ask about the bearing’s sensitivity to misalignment. And that’s a big mistake, because misalignment represents one of the leading causes of premature linear bearing wear and failure.
Linear bearings that should last for years based on expected life calculations can quit after a just few months if they are not aligned to the geometric tolerances they require to run smoothly. Shortening the working life of linear bearings, misalignment can be a significant cost driver for both the machine builder and owner. Machine builders suffer from higher warranty costs when bearings fail prematurely—not to mention the less tangible cost of a damaged reputation for quality. Machine owners, meanwhile, have to contend not just with the cost of buying and installing new bearings but also any downtime costs.