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Bearings for the Medical Industry

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Bearings for Medical Instruments
Instruments Using Medical Bearings
Medical Instruments Requiring Bearings

AST Bearings provides a range of bearing products tailored to the demanding applications of the medical industry, including surgical and dental tools, diagnostic and laboratory equipment, pumps and much more.

When choosing bearings for medical devices & medical applications, considerations include high speeds, low noise, service life and resistance to harsh environments, aggressive chemicals or fluids. These factors coupled with strict regulations make selecting the correct bearing of the utmost importance.

All bearings should be manufactured using rings produced from high purity material. Common materials for bearings for medical instruments include:

  • Martensitic stainless steel, similar to AISI 440C
  • Nitrogen enhanced martensitic stainless steel
  • Ceramic materials, such as silicon nitride
  • 300 series Stainless Steel


Lubricant selection may be the specification most overlooked by designers and engineers. In Medical, and most bearing applications, life depends on proper lubrication in terms of both type and amount.

In many cases, miniature and smaller instrument bearings are lubricated once for the lifetime of the device. AST has thousands of greases and oils available that are designed to function in a variety of conditions and environments. Click here to learn more about lubrication.

Bearing Products for the Medical Industry

There are a wide variety of medical applications, the following bearings are some of the more commonly utilized in medical devices. For our full product listing, click here.

Miniature ball bearings have an outside diameter of less than 3/8" (<9.525 mm) or are small bearings with an outside diameter less than or equal to 1/2" (≤12.7 mm) having a ratio of outside diameter to inside diameter equal to or less than two.

Instrument ball bearings are not limited to certain sizes. They are precision ball bearings that must meet two or more of the following criteria: low or uniform starting or running torque; smooth operation or vibration limitations; a definite contact angle or preload or both; high cleanliness standards.

Ball bearings can support moderate radial loads and moderate axial loads (parallel to the shaft). They can operate at high speeds. Ball bearings with shields or seals for protection can be lubricated to last for the operating life. 

Linear bushing bearings and linear way bearings incorporate several rows of re-circulating balls or rollers for low-friction and precise linear motion. Linear bushing bearings use a round shaft and linear way bearings have a rectangular shaped track.

Sub-assemblies incorporate precision bearings and components manufactured to the most exacting specifications. AST can conduct design reviews and provide assemblies manufactured to your specifications or ours. Our highly skilled technicians can provide you with a reliable assembly at a significant cost savings.

Click here to view and download our PDF for Medical Industry Bearings.

Have questions about bearings for medical instruments? AST’s team of bearing experts is ready to assist with finding the right part for the most demanding medical applications; CLICK HERE to contact them.

AST Value Added: CLICK HERE for an original article from an AST expert detailing a range of bearing design considerations for medical technology.

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