Stainless Steel Ball Bearings Introduction

Benefits of Stainless Steel Bearings

Wash Down Safe : Stainless steel bearings resist the harsh wash down environment found in food-processing plants.
High Temperatures : Stainless steel bearings can withstand commercial oven temperatures that can exceed 650F.
Corrosion Resistance : Stainless steel bearings are resistant to water and special grades of rust proof steel are also available for special marine or medical applications.

Stainless Steel Properties

Stainless steel is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5 chromium content. Stainless steel will not easily corrode or rust as ordinary steel does. However stainless steel is not fully stain-proof under low-oxygen, high-salinity, or poor-circulation environments. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment the alloy must endure.

Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Unprotected carbon steel rusts readily when exposed to air and moisture. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which prevents further surface corrosion by blocking oxygen diffusion to the steel surface and blocks corrosion from spreading into the metal's internal structure.

Stainless Steel Types

There are different types of stainless steels: when nickel is added, for instance, the austenite structure of iron is stabilized. This crystal structure makes such steels virtually non-magnetic and less brittle at low temperatures. For greater hardness and strength, more carbon is added.

Austenitic stainless steels have an austenitic crystalline structure, which is a face-centered cubic crystal structure. The most widely used austenite steel is the 304.The second most common austenite steel is the 316 grade, also called marine grade stainless, used primarily for its increased resistance to corrosion.

Martensitic stainless steels are not as corrosion-resistant as the other two classes but are extremely strong and tough, as well as highly machinable, and can be hardened by heat treatment. Stainless Steel 440C Series contains a martensitic-type stainless steel used extensively in bearing applications that require hardness, dimensional stability, corrosion resistance and toughness. Stainless Steel does contain some carbon so it is still slightly magnetic.


Stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion and staining, low maintenance and familiar lustre make it an ideal material for many applications. The alloy is milled into bearings to be used in applications requiring corrosion resistance from fresh water, steam, crude oil, gasoline, perspiration, alcohol, blood and food stuffs. Everything from medical devices to food processing plants require stainless steel bearings that can withstand wash-downs, sterilization and steam cleaning.


RINGS: AISI 316 stainless, non-magnetic, unground semi-precision.
BALLS: Standard balls are 316 stainless. When necessary, other types of balls are available on a special order basis.
BALL RETAINER (CAGE): Standard ball retainers are Polypropylene or Acetal. When higher heat capability is required, bearings can be manufactured with either a high temperature polymer cage or without a cage.
SHIELDS/SEALS: Open design is standard. Polymer shields and seals can be provided on a special order basis.
LUBRICATION: KMS supplies the bearings with a light proprietary oil that reduces friction and noise, and is non contaminating in most applications. When necessary, special order lubricants can be provided.

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