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Wire Race Bearings

Woodfield Systems produces Wire Race Bearings (WRB). This specialist product provides unique engineering solutions to many designers' problems.

The military has for many years been taking advantage of the properties of a WRB, particularly in the larger diameters of turret bearings. Examine the classic 4-point contact WRB pictured to the right and think of the solutions it offers...

  • Stainless steel wires and stainless steel balls means minimal corrosion and minimal lubrication, ideal for an arduous service life from the Arctic to the Desert with the minimum of attention. Ban the grease gun!
  • A WRB is ideal to be built into a product and not built around it, as is often the case with the standard roller. The flexibility this offers to the designer gives real freedom in overall concept. Imagine, if you will, that with a WRB you can design a bearing to any diameter you wish rather than having to be restricted to standard sizes.
  • Engineering is all about cost and here again WRBs score heavily over the conventional approach, particularly where a non standard diameter is the order of the day.
  • WRBs offer significant weight saving over roller and cage bearing and it is not difficult to generate 50% savings which can be quite valuable in situations where mass is a problem. For example a Wind Turbine every Kg at the Turbine takes many more to support it! Many applications can be addressed with a bearing weight of less than 40 grams/mm of circumference.
  • The working surfaces are the wires and the balls. You can insert them in virtually any material, aluminium is commonly used and our latest variant is a carbon fibre housing!
  • WRBs are flexible; being only wire and balls, that allows them to accommodate flexure, distortion, high shears, differential temperature, and dissimilar materials. The list is endless.
  • Low torque across the temperature and flexural range. What better example than a 1200 mm turret bearing mounted on a massive chassis carrying a 2 tonne turret with the shear force of a rapid fire cannon but delivering a uniform torque as low as 50 Nm.
  • False Brinelling is a common problem with conventional roller bearings often shortening the service life of the whole product. WRBs don't suffer from this problem and famously are being retrofitted to a number of the British Army's vehicles.
  • Stainless steel is legendary for its resistance to abrasion but consider the whole life benefits of being able to fit a fresh set of wires nearly as easily as new brake pads.
  Schematic of a Wire Race Bearing manufactured by Intake Engineering, Kent
Wire Race Bearings manufactured by Intake Engineering, Kent
Inside a Wire Race Bearing manufactured by Intake Engineering, Kent
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