Technically yes. You can run bearings dry for slow moving applications such as tonearm bearings or clock bearings. However, if bearings are used without lubrication, we recommend that they are made of a corrosion resistant material such as stainless steel. Standard steel bearings may rust in the presence of moisture which is why they are coated with a thin, protective oil before being packaged.
For most uses, lubrication provides a vital thin film between contact areas to reduce friction, dissipate heat and inhibit corrosion on balls and raceway. If you don’t use a lubricant for high speed applications, this could result in a huge amount of heat build-up resulting in premature bearing failure.
That said, lubrication comes in all shapes and sizes, and it may not always look how you expect it to such as dry lubricants made from molybdenum disulphide or tungsten disulphide. This dry coating is burnished or sputtered onto the balls and raceways to give smooth operation and higher running speeds than unlubricated bearings.
Still not sure? Call us on +44 (0) 1993 842 555.