To understand when to use pillow block bearings, it is first essential to understand just what is meant by the term. As a very general definition, this type of bearing is a single unit that is comprised of several different components.
The different components include a pedestal that holds the bearing the housing. In other words, the bearing and the housing are all one unit and come as a single piece or as a split housing design. They are can also be referred to as bearing housings or plummer blocks; this will often depend on which part of the country you are in and the specific application. In Texas, the term pillow block is the most commonly used across all industries. Plummer blocks, at least throughout most of the United States, typically only refers to the housing and pedestal with the bearings independently purchase and added to the housing.
All pillow block bearings are used to hold a rotating shaft. They are generally used for light to moderate applications. The other option, the plummer block, is more commonly used for heavy duty applications. The advantage of this is that the heavier weights tend to cause a shorter life cycle for the bearing. As the bearing can be removed from the plummer block without replacing the whole unit, this is often the most cost-effective option.
Both of these types of bearings allow for the bearing itself to be protected by the housing. The bearing turns inside the housing which is typically made of cast iron or other types of cast steel or alloys.
Options to Consider
The pedestal or base allows pillow block bearings to be mounted to any surface. The base will have pre-set holes for ease of mounting to equipment as needed. Solid bearings are one unit that cannot be split. The spit bearing allows the top and bottom housing to be separated to allow easy positioning of the shaft. The top and bottom are held together with bolts to either side of the bearing.
In addition to the base or cap and the bearing, the pillow block will also be equipped with different types of seals. These seals are designed to prevent dirt, dust or debris from getting into the bearing and around the rotating shaft. These seals help to extend the life of the bearing by preventing wear and damage to the shaft. Pillow block bearings are an important part of any fabrication operation in Texas.