Bushings or bearings? Believe it or not, it makes a difference. We use bushings in our compressors to reduce wear and maintenance time.

When it comes to the smooth operation of your air compressor, you have either bushings or bearings – or in some cases, both – to thank. Both components are designed to bear the stress of a machine’s parts and mitigate friction, particularly between a rotating or thrusting part and a static housing component.shutterstock_118240183

Bushings and bearings have essentially the same function, making it difficult to discern why a machine’s engineers might favor one over the other. In Mattei machines, however, we prefer bushings over bearings. Here’s why bushings can better ensure the effective performance of your compressor and can save you hundreds in maintenance costs:

How Do Bushings and Bearings Differ from One Another?

Bearings are typically constructed with two rings, or races, separated by a set of tiny metal balls. These balls roll along the indents of a retainer between the two rings, facilitating movement of the inner and outer races.

Depending on its application within a machine, bearings may be used for radial loading (with a rotating part) or thrust loading (with a thrusting part). In some cases, they may be used for a combination of both. The rolling balls within the bearing bear the load of the rotation, allowing rolling or thrusting parts to move smoothly against stationary parts.

On the other hand, bushings, sometimes called sleeve bearings, are simply a tube of metal that enable relative motion by sliding rather than by rolling. Bushings don’t rely on multiple parts to eliminate friction like bearings do, but instead ride on a film of oil, which acts as the balls in a bearing. Within a machine like an air compressor, bushings are pressure-lubricated.

Why Bushings are Superior to Bearings

While bearings can be used to effectively eliminate friction, there are a number of advantages that make bushings the superior choice for applications in air compressors.

First of all, since bushings do not contain any rubbing metal parts, there’s little to no risk of decreased performance due to wear. In fact, since the lubricant within a bushing plays the same role as the balls in a bearing, each oil change performed on your compressor is like installing brand new bearings. This lubrication boosts the performance of your bushings and increases the overall efficiency of your machine.

What’s more, because bushings are not subject to corrosion like bearings, operators can bypass inspection periods, set change periods, air end replacement, and unproductive down time. Ultimately, employing bushings cuts costs and time losses while guaranteeing the reliable performance of your machine.

The Verdict: Stop Beating Around the Bush(ing)

From extracting minerals in mines around the globe to powering the latest generation of electric race cars, air compressors make motion possible. Within those compressors, however, it’s the small bits that facilitate big movement. Bushings provide the most energy- and cost-efficient solution for eliminating friction and supporting the the kinetic functions of your compressor.

At Mattei, we value efficiency and durability. That’s why all of our industry-leading rotary vane compressors are outfitted with pressure-lubricated bushings. The bushings inside Mattei compressors help to ensure the performative excellence and low maintenance demands that we’re known for. For more information on bushing technology and the parts powering the most reliable industrial compressors on the market, contact your Mattei distributor today.

Topics: Air Compressor, Rotary Vane Compressor

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