ISUTAMI BEARINGS
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​ ​What Is Preload of Linear Bearings?
ISUTAMI BEARINGS

​ ​What Is Preload of Linear Bearings?

A linear bearing that has been preloaded is like shoes that have been broken in. Those shoes will be much more comfortable and you’ll get much more enjoyment out of them. On the other hand, if you decide to wear new shoes to a party you’ll likely end up with blisters by the end of the night. Linear bearings need preload to function at their best. Loading a linear bearing with larger sized balls, eliminates any internal clearance within the bearing. Afterwards, the bearing will be stiffer and ready to handle the load it will carry. Often times linear bearings are sold already preloaded, so it’s a good idea to check with the manufacturer.

While preload can do good for the linear bearing it can also diminish its life span. That’s why it’s best to choose the amount of preload based on your specific application. Below is a chart with recommended preload amounts based on different applications.

Preload No Preload Light Preload Medium/Heavy Preload
Conditions Weak impact
2 rails in pair
Low accuracy
Small resistance
Small load
Cantilever
Single rail
Light load
High accuracy
Strong impact
Strong Vibration
Heavy machining
Applications Welding machine
Chopping machine
Feeding mechanism
Tool change mechanism
Ordinary XY table
Packing machine
NC lathe
EDM
Precise XY table
Ordinary Z-axis
Industrial robot
PCB punching machine
Machine tool
NC lathe and milling machine
Feeding axis of grinder
Tool feeding axis
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