Double Row Self Aligning Bearings: Definition and Common Uses

August 30, 2016

Deductive reasoning is a handy skill set to have on tap, for the logical side of the brain can quickly intuit how double row self-aligning bearings will look just from reading the label. That spark of logical deliberation can infer from the label, and rightly so, that there are two rows of balls skating around the concave raceway. A little extra consideration on the part of our hypothetical puzzle solver would likely resolve the self-aligning feature into some kind of corrective mechanism, but what kind of adjustments are being made?

Solves Angular Contact Headaches 

The addition of an extra row of rolling elements multiplies the contact area between the races and the balls. The twofold increase is partially there to support heavier loads, but the augmented layout really comes into its own when misalignment issues are part of the shaft-to-bearing configuration. The outer ring locks to its bearing housing, much as any other bearing would, but the inner ring is capable of leaving the confines of the concentrically arranged rings. The two races are still coupled, obviously, plus the inner ring retains its two rows of bearings, but this inner ring spins semi-autonomously beyond the confines of the outer race.

Common Applications for Double Row Self Aligning Bearings 

Multi-axial machine assemblies benefit from this product. The first machine of note here is one that carries out many duties across many spatial coordinates. We’re referring to the spindles and spinning machinery that rules the textile industry. Like a human arm, these spindles work at a blur to turn bobbins and pull in yarn at great speed. Next, compact gearing boxes use bent shafts and irregularly formed housings to transmit mechanical energy at an intelligently designed angle, thus taking advantage of the misalignment property of this bearing type. This feature is used in clutch mechanism and vehicle transmission packages. Some off-road vehicles also install this double row bearing inside wheel axles to act as a traction aid. Similarly, sports-tuned cars can improve corner handling aptitude by fitting this self-adjusting mechanism.

When a drive shaft design calls for double row self-aligning bearings, the application is targeting a heavy load and dynamic shafting configuration. The concave or spherical outer raceway achieves this sustainable level of functionality by going beyond the standard ninety-degree lateral contact area that’s typically associated with a radial-to-axial contact mechanism. In doing so, the inner ring seamlessly arcs to match the angular swing of the misaligned shaft.

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