Ball bearings are spherical balls made of various materials, primarily steel, and are designed to carry a load and rotate smoothly in an attempt to reduce friction. One of the biggest issues with any ball bearing is lubrication; it is introduced to prevent, or try to prevent damage to the spherical ball bearings from a combination of the load and friction. One of the biggest design issues when using any ball bearing is to introduce effective lubrication into the surface of both the ball bearing and the surface(s) that the ball bearing(s) is (are) rolling against. System designs tend to focus on how small a rotation of the ball bearing is required before the lubrication can be introduced. Depending on the load on the ball bearing, this rotation requirement can be met without damage to the ball bearing, or with planned, known amounts of damage. When known amounts of damage are expected, ball bearing replacements can be scheduled.
Revitae Technologies has a very different approach to make the ball bearing more self-lubricating, without any damage (for an appropriate load). Instead of requiring a rotation of the ball bearing(s), our approach re-designs the shape of the ball bearing itself. The new ball bearing is still spherical, but the surface of the ball bearing is no longer a smooth surface. We take the traditional ball bearing and introduce many small, identical spherical protrusions in a uniform, proportional manner on the ball bearing surface. These protrusions can be viewed as semi-spherical or partial-spherical components on the surface. Whatever the size of the ball bearing in terms of surface area or diameter, this new, improved ball bearing will always have a defined number of protrusions (proportional semi- or partial-spheres) on its surface. As the improved ball bearing gets smaller or larger, the size of the protrusions will grow smaller or larger proportionally.
Envision an existing smooth ball bearing and then add a defined set of spherical protrusions the perfect size to fit onto the ball bearing surface so that each identical semi-/partial-sphere is touching each other on each others outer surfaces. This improved design retains the shape of a perfect sphere; only the improved ball bearing rolls on the surface of the semi-or partial-spherical protrusions and the spaces between them allow for extremely efficient lubrication delivery and dispersion. This new, improved ball bearing rotates as a sphere, but the new surface design has interlocking channels for lubrication to enter into and flow around. By introducing this spherical protrusion technology, the surface area of the ball bearing is increased allowing for more lubrication to be attracted and more lubrication to be present between two or more bearings. This new, improved ball bearing design allows for very efficient distribution and dispersion of the lubricant and will lubricate itself better than existing smooth ball bearing designs.
Pressurized lubrication: Engineers have long tried to improve lubrication of ball bearing by adding pressure to the lubrication. This approach has had limited success; the smooth spherical ball bearings only pick up the lubrication when they rotate. This improved ball bearing can be used without damage, or with far less damage, in systems with pressurized lubrication. With channels around the spherical protrusions on the surface of this ball bearing, lubrication can be pressure induced and surround and be more readily and effectively available for the rotating surfaces before the ball bearing begins to rotate. As noted above, the lubrication will have a larger surface area to adhere to; allowing more lubrication to be present between rotating ball bearings.
Ball Bearing Wear: Using this concept, when the ball bearing is overloaded and friction begins to wear or damage the surface of the ball bearing, the spherical protrusions will begin to get more flat (less spherical). This would only tend to occur when there was not enough lubricant available. The advantage of these improved ball bearings is that whatever lubricant is available, it will be distributed/dispersed more efficiently allowing the ball bearings to last longer (than “normal” ball bearings) and the channels between the spherical protrusions are able to carry away damaged micro pieces of the ball bearing surface limiting damage to the same or different bearings.
I retain all rights to this idea. For licensing, contact me for specifics. This applies to ball bearings, roller bearings and any other round or spherical shape that uses lubrication to reduce friction.