Applications and Uses of Tapered Roller BearingsJanuary 13, 2016
Not every industry or application restricts its rotating parts to a lateral operational plane. Shearing forces and axial thrust work in tandem to jeopardise such two-dimensional functions, pushing a drive axis in directions that cause mechanical stress. A standard roller bearing may not be up to snuff in this scenario, which leaves designers scrambling to select a more suitable replacement. Enter tapered roller bearings, friction-cancelling rails that reject standard roller pins and balls in favour of a conical outline. The friction management solution still adopts a standard raceway profile, though the terminology changes somewhat when describing a tapered variant. The cone is the inner ring. A cup forms the outer ring and cone-shaped rolling elements are substituted for standard parallel pins. In addition, pin profiles are quoted as an angular figure, and it’s this angular feature that determines the ability of the bearing when it comes to its heavyweight applications.
Turning Weighty Loads
Monolithic rotating components work around the globe to carry out diverse functions. They combine radial force with the weight of the rotating assembly, pushing modern bearings to their limits. The undercarriage of an aircraft benefits from the fitting of heavy-duty tapered roller bearings in this scenario, with the weight of the aircraft humbling any other class of frictional compensation on takeoff and landing. Next, whole farms of wind-powered electrical generators are popping up around the world. These slow-moving fans use enormous blades, fans that reach monumental proportions. Advanced roller elements with carefully calculated angular designs cope with the combined shearing and thrusting force of the blades, aiding in equalising excess energy while maintaining smooth radial motion.
It’s not only the giant engineering projects of the globe that employ tapered roller bearings. Offroad cars and motorcycles use the form to cope with the transient “jolts” that arise from bumpy rides. The radial component is handled by the rails while radial and axial force is offset by the angle of the tapered pins. This arrangement can then be adjusted for different clearance settings and all of the preload scenarios that cope with multi-dimensional loads on today’s rotating machinery. And, although the applications do lean towards multi-axle configurations, dimensional stability still favours the heavy-duty end of the size scale, meaning case-hardened or heat treated alloys are the natural material partners for this bearing design.
Whether integrated as part of a helicopter drive system or as a key friction handler within a steam turbine, this roller bearing brings added stability to the never-ending range of bearings on today’s market.
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