Steel Manufacturing Blog: Keeping it Steel

Optimizing Slide Bearing Design: The Benefits of Non-Continuous Lengths

Posted on Mon, Jun 24, 2024 @ 04:25 PM

The Steel Supply Company frequently sees requirements for Teflon® or Fluorogold® Slide Bearings where the assembly is longer than 48” and the designer calls for a single continuous upper and lower member. This can be done but is almost always unnecessary.

Slide Bearings Butt Ended 350 x 156

Fig. 1 Fluorogold® Slide Bearings
arranged side to side to
increase bearing surface.
Shown are FC-1010-CS.



Slide Bearing assemblies can be pieced together in sections without compromising the performance or durability at all. Fig. 1 shows stock bearing plates pieced together side by side with the typical gap of 1/64” (0.397 mm). This gap does not compromise the bearing assembly or performance. Movement can be in either direction, horizontal or vertical. Note: The gap can be eliminated by machining the edges, however this will add cost with the main benefit being aesthetics.

The only reason to require a single piece is in cases where rust will become a factor due to moisture and salt air being present. A typical Slide Bearing installation requires only tack welds to hold the bearing in place. Fig. 2.Slide-Bearing-Tack-Weld-260-x-280

Fig. 2    
FC-1010-CS Fluorogold
Slide Bearing showing typical tack weld pattern.



For applications not exposed to extreme elements this is more than sufficient. It will hold the bearing solidly in place and corrosion is not a factor. Bearing sections can be placed side by side and run to any length required.

For more extreme environments, such as offshore drilling platforms, docks, marine applications, etc., the designer may want to protect against premature corrosion. In situations like this the bearing is seal welded around the entire perimeter to block any moisture from gathering under steel plate. To accommodate this case a single piece bearing is required. In manufacturing this longer assembly a staggered heat treatment and bonding process is employed and the bearing can be made to almost any length. Note this process is time consuming and labor intensive.

The Steel Supply Company can assist with the design of Teflon® or Fluorogold® Slide Bearings as well as Thermal Break Bearings, Vibration Isolation Bearings and any other bearing your project may require.