Thin Section Bearings applications and characteristics

Thin Section Bearings applications and characteristics

by Kevin Sweeney
22 February, 2023
4 min read

What are thin or slim section bearings? Simply, these are bearings whose width dimension is narrower than a standard bearing. Why would one use a narrow width bearing instead of a standard bearing? Narrow or thin section bearings are used where space limitations exist. 

Thin Section Bearings types and characteristics

In the world of bearings we can identify the 61700, 61800, and 61900 standard series radial ball bearings as true thin cross section bearings as compared to standard 6000 and 6200 series radial ball bearings. We also identify the 71800 and 71900 series angular contact ball bearings as thin section versions of the more common 7200 series angular contact bearing.

In addition, there is another series of thin section bearings with much larger diameters offered through Kaydon bearing company, who developed the thin section bearing standard in 1954 based on inch sizes. Kaydon series bearings are offered in inch series as standard but also have a metric offering. The Reali-Slim line of bearings is the industry standard for both quality and assortment of sizes offered.

The same series of bearings are offered as angular contact bearings identified as 71800 and 71900 series bearings. PIB offers this series from SKF, TPI, and FAG bearing manufacturing companies.

Reali-Slim® bearings

The Reali-Slim inch-standard bearing is the most widely specified thin section bearing in the world.

Applications include but are not limited to: 

  • Aerospace and defense 
  • Astronomy instrumentation 
  • Fixturing and Workholding equipment 
  • Food processing equipment 
  • Glass working equipment 
  • Index and rotary tables 
  • Packaging equipment 
  • Machine tools 
  • Medical systems and medical devices 
  • Optical scanning equipment 
  • Tire making equipment 
  • Radar, satellite, and communications equipment 
  • Robotics 
  • Textile machinery 
  • Tube and pipe cutting machines 
  • Semiconductor manufacturing equipment 
  • Sorting equipment 

The use of narrow bearings is increasing due to advancements in technology and the increasing development of the type of equipment needing narrower and smaller, more precise bearings. Kaydon Reali-Slim bearings can be specified in very high precision up to ABEC 9 where required. 

Reali-Slim bearings save weight, create space, reduce friction, increase design flexibility, and provide excellent running accuracy. 

Ultra-Slim® bearings

Kaydon provides the largest range of thin section bearings. Kaydon Reali-Slim®, also known as Ultra-Slim® bearings, are available in various materials, and offers many retainers and or separator and cross-section options. Through PIB Kaydon Ultra-Slim® bearings offer bore sizes from 3/4 inch to 40 inches (19 mm to 1 m) and many internal fit up choices, lubricants, corrosion resistance options, and contact angles.

Thin section bearings, like standard bearings, can be made from AISI52100, 440C Stainless, Cronoduir, M50, or other bearing materials. Thin section bearings can also be manufactured with or without separators and many high-speed applications use ceramic balls.

Contact Pacific International Bearing company for assistance in selecting slim or thin section bearings.

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Written by

Kevin Sweeney

Founder and CEO at Pacific International Bearing Sales Inc (PIB)
Education: BS Business and Economics California State University Hayward Ca
CBS (Certified Bearing Specialist)

My role with Pacific International Bearings (PIB) is currently CEO. Since 1976, I have been deeply involved in the bearing industry, working in manufacturing sales at NTN Bearing and subsequently in Bearing Distribution. Before establishing PIB in 1990, I gathered valuable experience in bearing manufacturing and distribution. The last 45 + years in the bearing industry have been both rewarding and challenging, assisting customers across a large number of diverse bearing applications.
Outside of the bearing industry, my interests are family, woodworking, motorcycling, cars, gardening, and golf.
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