Top Applications of Plain Bearings

Plain bearings play a vital role in modern machinery, enabling smooth operation and extending equipment life by preventing wear on moving parts. Plain bearings are used wherever you need to have something turn gently and smoothly. Plain bearings allow rotation in both directions and they can be easily lubricated. In many applications, you will see a direct increase in productivity if the correct plain bearings are selected for each machine.


Hundreds of plain bearings are installed in any vehicle, including the engine compartment and wheel suspensions. These bearings must be able to operate quietly, minimize weight, and minimize cost. But there can be other requirements for specific applications. For instance, there must be as little play as possible in the pedal bearing. A bearing in a fuel or coolant pump must be especially resistant to fluid damage. 

Mountain bikes:

Plain bearings are used in shock absorbers, levers, and joints of mountain bikes. As with cars and trucks, they must have low weight, tolerance, and noise. Great forces are applied to the bearings which means they can be subjected to dirt, dust and water.

Mechanical engineering:

Mechanical engineering deals with many different applications for plain bearings. You’ll find plain bearings used in almost every machine, from bottle-filling machines to conveyor belt deflectors.

Medical technology:

Plain bearings are used in many medical applications, including adjustment mechanisms for medical furniture and equipment and bearing support in hose pumps and dialysis machines.

Plain bearings are used everywhere:

Plain bearings are a simple and effective solution for bearing loads. This is why plain bearings can be found everywhere; from the inner workings of your dishwasher to the outer workings of street lights and street signs, plain bearings are used wherever there is a need to bear lateral loads. Plain bearings have a distinct advantage over spherical bearings, cylindrical roller bearings, needle roller bearings, tapered roller bearings, and spherical roller bearings, due to the fact that they cost less and are easier to manufacture in mass quantities.


In a production environment, bearings are an essential part of the system process. Whether in a machine, or an entire production line, those systems must continue moving forward to generate revenue – and this requires effective bearing utilization. However, it is important to evaluate your particular circumstances and to choose the bearing that is best for your manufacturing process, operating requirements and design specifications. Understanding the simplicity of plain bearings, as well as its different forms, will help you determine which one is a good fit for your project.

Author: Andy Ramanathan

Canadian Babbitt Bearings Ltd. is a leader in the distribution of bearings and power transmission components used primarily in the automotive industry. The Company distributes products in both Canada and the United States through a variety of marketing channels, including a network of independent distribution partners, wholesale distributors and area offices across Canada, and a direct sales force in the United States. Canadian Babbitt markets a very diverse range of bearing products, including precision miniature radial ball bearings, roller bearing units, high temperature deep groove ball bearings, low temperature deep groove ball bearings, tapered roller bearings, thrust ball bearings, precision spherical plain bearings and more.