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Buying ball transfer units: what to consider?

What is a Ball Transfer Unit?
A ball transfer unit (also known as a ball transfer) consists of a steel housing in which a large ball is trapped. By rolling on the smaller internal balls, this large ball can move in any direction.
Ball Transfer Unit Example
How is a Ball Transfer Unit Used?
Ball transfer units are used to easily move objects in any direction. Ball transfer units are particularly widely used in the logistics sector. Think, for example, of roller conveyors at the airport, where all luggage is transported when it comes out of an airplane. But they are also commonly used in metalworking and machinery construction. A high-load ball transfer unit is ideal for rolling heavy metal plates. With ball transfer units, it is also possible to move steel pipes both radially and axially.

Ball Transfer Unit Application

Which Ball Transfer Unit Should I Choose?
Ball transfer units come in many different types and sizes. It is essential to use the right ball transfer unit for your application. Variables to consider include load capacity, model, and material.

Load Capacity
The load capacity is indicated for each product. We have ball transfer units with load capacities ranging from 3KG to 4500KG. The required load capacity depends on the type of object you need to move. Also, be sure to consider the dynamic pressure that a ball transfer unit undergoes. For example, if you want to transport a steel pipe using ball transfer units, calculate the impact when placing the pipe on the ball transfer units. This is called dynamic pressure. It is similar to someone collapsing into a chair. This person may weigh 80KG, but when they fall into the chair, much more weight will be placed on the legs than just the person's 80KG weight. The maximum load capacities listed on the website all refer to the maximum dynamic pressure.

The model depends significantly on your application. There are ball transfer units intended for insertion. In this case, a hole is often milled to the size of the ball transfer unit, and then the ball transfer unit is pressed into it. It can also be secured with a bit of adhesive. There are also ball transfer units designed for built-in use, but they also have a flange at the top of the pot, allowing it to be securely fastened with bolts or screws. If you have limited installation space, you can also opt for a surface-mounted model, where the flange is at the bottom of the pot. This can be fastened with bolts or screws. As a last option, you can choose ball transfer units with threaded studs. This allows you to easily screw them into a tapped thread, possibly reinforced with a nut. You can make an initial selection based on the mounting method in the menu.

The most common materials used for making ball transfer units are steel, stainless steel, and nylon or POM. For a standard application, a steel housing with a steel ball inside is sufficient. Stainless steel is a logical choice when the ball transfer unit will be used in a humid environment, as stainless steel prevents quick oxidation. POM is used in cases where objects need to roll over the balls, and these objects are not suitable for contact with steel. Think of sensitive materials such as solar panels or glass sheets. Sometimes, plastic balls are also chosen when the ball transfer unit must not leave marks on the product. A steel ball is lubricated with grease or oil. POM has the property of very low friction, allowing objects to roll over it easily without the need for ball lubrication. Another advantage of plastic balls is that they are quieter than steel balls. The downside is that they have a much lower load capacity. So, consider this carefully in your choice.

How Should I Mount the Ball Transfer Units?
Contrary to what many people think, a ball transfer unit should actually always be placed with the ball facing upward. Objects roll over it; the ball transfer unit is not meant to be used as a wheel. When you mount the ball transfer units, it is essential to consider the size of the objects you want to transport over them. As a rule of thumb, the maximum distance between the ball transfer units is the width (or length) of the object divided by 3.5. This way, the object is always supported by 3 ball transfer units simultaneously.
The placement of the ball transfer units can vary greatly, as shown below, depending on the desired direction of movement.

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