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The Difference between Ball Bearing and Carbon Bearing Rotary Unions

Wednesday 21st September 2022

Today’s blog looks at the difference between Ball Bearing and Carbon Bearings in Rotary Unions.

Bearings are used to support the Rotary Union to ensure correct alignment with the seal arrangement.


Ball Bearing Rotary Unions are suitable for temperatures between -20⁰C to +180⁰C and higher speeds.  However, their use is limited at higher temperatures by lubrication issues.  Ball Bearing Rotary Unions need to be lubricated more frequently the higher the temperature but also lubricants can break down at higher temperatures.  New lubricants continue to be developed and these allow the ball bearings to push the boundaries further and further.


Carbon Bearing Rotary Unions are needed for temperatures generally above 100°C, these do not need lubricating. However, using a carbon bearing Rotary Union can mean higher torque and lower speeds when compared to the ball bearing.


If you wish to discuss the options further, our Technical Team are on hand to help with any queries you may have. The Technical Team can be either by phone on +44 1926 423 191 or by email at

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