The temperature limit for bearings depends on the material of rings and balls, the retainer (cage), any closures such as rubber seals and finally, the lubricant. Chrome steel can support the same loads up to 120°C constant and 150°C intermittent. Above that, the load capacity drops noticeably. For 440 grade stainless steel, the figures are 250°C constant and 300°C intermittent.

The standard retainer for chrome steel bearings is steel so will cope with the same temperatures. Stainless steel bearings usually have a stainless steel retainer so no problem there either. However, bearings can have a nylon or polyamide retainer which can limit the upper temperature to 100°C - 120°C depending on material.

Bearing shields will cope with the same temperatures as the rings and balls but rubber seals should not be used above 110°C.

The next limiting factor can be the lubricant. Different oils and greases have different temperature ranges. As long as the other materials in a bearing are suitable, we can offer bearings with lubricants that will cope with -80°C all the way up to 300°C.

There are other FAQs under “Stainless Steel Bearings”, “Plastic Bearings” and “Ceramic Bearings” that also look at temperature capabilities.

Our determination to remain specialised gives us a high level of product knowledge, providing bearing and lubrication solutions to existing or potential customers, whether individuals or large corporations. We don’t just sell bearings, we help to solve your problems. - Chris Johnson, managing director of SMB Bearings.