Compressor Bearings

Air Compressor Bearings : The Right Option for Your Application

Usage of air compressor (Screw and Centrifugal) have increased steadily over the past decade and continues, due to the inherit limitations of

reciprocating air compressors and their high maintenance requirements. Increasing usage of screw & Centrifugal compressors has led to increasing attention being paid to one of the major compressor components – compressor bearings.

Bearings are vital components of compressors. Compressor reliability can be adversely affected by bearing-related problems. In the worst case, they can cause catastrophic failure, resulting in production being interrupted. Bearing types have always been a source of concern for Compressor and Pneumatic engineers. As a result, reliability-conscious professionals and operators in the industry want to avoid bearing-related issues before they occur.

An important first step is becoming familiar with the basics of bearing operation in compressors as well as how to specify the correct bearing arrangement, bearing types and materials for compressor & turbine applications.

Air Compressor Bearing

Bearings are being used widely in almost all applications in our home (ac refrigeration for example using air conditioning compressor) and industry where rotational motion is used (refrigeration, Oil and gas, Chemical, steel, paper, clutch etc. )

What are compressor bearings?

An element of mechanical design that limits relative motion and reduces friction between moving parts is a bearing, they assist in “rotational Motion”. Rolling ball bearings are used in screw compressors to provide precise positioning of the compressor rotors/ rollers and to support the rotor loads.

Both the suction and discharge ends have bearings, and the number and configuration of bearings are determined by the load on the rollers and application.

Compressor bearings are a type of internal gear used in many industrial and commercial applications. They can operate at high speeds, which is why they are often found in high-performance machinery.

compressor bearing

Types of bearing used in compressors

Rolling ball bearings are used in screw compressors to provide precise positioning of the compressor rotors and to support the rotor loads.

Both the suction and discharge ends have bearings, and the number and configuration of bearings are determined by the load and application.

Thrust bearings

A thrust bearing rotates between the two parts, reducing friction (especially in low-speed applications) and supporting an axial load. In other words, the axial bearing keeps the parts rotating. 

Ball bearings

Most widely used bearing types are ball bearings, which offer a wide range of applications. High rotational speeds are possible due to their

low friction and low noise and vibration. They can accommodate radial and axial loads in both directions, are easy to mount, and require little maintenance. 

Engineered fluid film or hydrodynamic bearings, journal bearings, tilting pad journal bearings, tilting pad thrust bearing and magnetic bearings for centrifugal compressors that are used throughout the natural gas extraction, storage, and transmission process.

Applications for compressor bearings

Reduce friction and improve rotational smoothness

Compressor bearings are a crucial part of many machines and applications. They play an important role in keeping these machines running smoothly, and its important to know how to properly care for them. Make sure to inspect and lubricate them on a regular basis, and be aware of the different factors that can damage them. By doing this, you will keep your bearings running smoothly and protect them from wear and tear.

Protect the rotating shaft and keep it in the right position

To support the rotation of the shaft, it is necessary to exert a large amount of force on the supporting part. It is the purpose of bearings to prevent damage from being done to the rotating shaft by this force, and to maintain rotation. Thus, they ensure that the machine can be used again and again without any mechanical issues.

Advantages of using compressor bearings

Compressor bearings offer many advantages for high-speed, low-load applications. These bearings are especially suited for applications that require fast startup times and smooth operation over time. Bearings can be highly customized to meet specific needs, so make sure to discuss your options

with an expert!.

Disadvantages of using compressor bearings.

When it comes to the disadvantages, there are relatively few. The major disadvantage is that bearings can wear out over time if they are not properly maintained and serviced. In addition, bearing failures may be caused by dirt or debris that accumulates on the rotating shaft for a long period of time; this will cause more friction between the supporting part and its rotational shaft than before. As your machine ages with usage, you should recognize any signs indicating a problem at hand (e.g., sudden failure).

The most important thing to remember is that if something goes wrong with your compressor , contact a certified technician immediately!

Compressor applications are critical to any production activity , The compressor being used in can be lubricated screw, dry screw compressor, scroll

compressor, centrifugal compressor along with downstream accessories like dryers and filters in the compressor applications to ensure that the compressed air being delivered to the production machinery meets the required quality. Dry screw compressor and centrifugal air compressor

model do not use oil inside the compression chamber and hence the requirement of downstream accessories is minimal.


What are compressor bearings?

Compressor bearings are a type of bearing that is used in compressors, pumps, and other machinery. They are responsible for transferring the rotational

energy from the Motor/Engine to the compressor main shaft.

Which bearing is used in compressor?

There are many different types of compressor bearings, but the most commonly used ones include needle roller bearings and tapered roller bushings.

The needle-type bearing is widely used in high speed applications where low friction is an important consideration. The tapered type of bushing

works best when large amounts of torque can be transmitted from one point to another rapidly over a short period. However, it has less life expectancy than its counterpart at similar speeds due to being more susceptible to damage by vibration or shock loads applied during operation (such as those caused by air pressure). Some manufacturers also offer hybrid designs that combine the needle and tapered types of bearings into a single bearing.

The entire range of bearings being used in screw and gas compressors include Ball Bearings, Thrust Bearings , Tapper roller/rollers bearing (Chromium copper), Deep grove ball bearings, Angular contact ball bearings, White metal Babbitt bearings, journal bearings, Polymer bearings, single row angular contact bearings, angular contact ball bearings, tilting pad thrust bearings, tilting pad journal bearings, journal bearings, hydrodynamic bearings, tilting pad journal bearing

Can compressor bearings be repaired or replaced?

Compressor bearings can be repaired or replaced, but this will usually require a technician to perform the repair.

How is the bearing of an air compressor lubricated?

The bearings of an air compressor are lubricated with hydraulic oil. The oil is pumped into the bearing through a housing for each of its shafts,

where it flows along the inner race and outward to cover all surfaces on both sides as a thin film (micro mm).

Oil viscosity should be between that of grease and heavy oil so as not to cause excessive wear or breakage when compressed air passes over them.

As bearings age they become increasingly harder to lubricate without having an adverse effect on their performance; because this can lead to

premature failure (often referred as “breakdown”) at low speeds which are created by friction with other components decreasing their


How often should the bearing on my compressor be replaced?

Unless stated by manufacturer, the life of compressor bearings (10 times longer than that of normal stainless steel) is dependent upon many

factors including operating conditions such as speed and ambient temperature. Therefore it can vary from machine-to-machine or model-to-model depending on condition at time replacement is required . Bearing failure usually occurs when other components begin wearing due to friction.

What should I do if I experience a bearing failure?

If a compressor bearing fails, the main bearings must be replaced. Also, check to see if there are any other issues with your compressor or motor that may cause the failure of your component. If so, fix them as well with the help of technical experts.

How do I know if my bearings need replacement?

Bearings will begin to wear out after time due to expansion and contraction caused by temperature fluctuations within different parts of

machine components, Impurities in the lubricating oil, Temperature rise in the lubricating oil which can be due to many reasons (contact Turbo

Airtech for accurate analysis & Repairs).

Where can I get new compressor bearings for my machine?

Compressor bearings can be purchased from most major industrial equipment suppliers or service providers like Turbo Airtech. 

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