About Rotary Bearings: Common Questions and Answers

May 15, 2020

One of the most important machine components to date is bearings. Bearings are comprised of smooth rollers or metal balls that help reduce friction between moving parts in motion systems. They also have inner and outer surfaces or races that allow rollers or balls to travel. Instead of letting them slide to one another, bearings allow the rolling action of moving parts, preventing components and parts to get damaged while they are being used. 

Even today, a lot of people still have some questions about rotary bearings. So, here are some questions that are being frequently asked and some answers to help you out.

What kind of load do rotary bearings usually encounter?

The rollers or balls found on these bearings carry load carrier and let axes spin without restrictions. These bearings encounter radial loads that are perpendicular to the shaft. They also encounter axial loads that normally occur parallel to the shaft. Some types of bearings are required to withstand both loads simultaneously to sustain their capabilities. 

Are there any differences between the ball and roller bearings?

Ball bearings have a small contact area between balls and races, which makes them great for light to moderate loads. Having small areas of surface contact also allows them to minimise friction-generated heat. So, high-speed applications will be much easier for ball bearings.

Roller bearings, on the other hand, have cylindrical rollers. Their rolling elements allow more surface contact with their races, allowing them to handle larger loads without deformation. Moreover, their shape contributes to the moderate amount of thrust load since weight is freely distributed across cylinders instead of spheres. 

When do industries use needle roller bearings?

Needle roller bearings are frequently oriented and contained by a cage. And since these rollers have a length at least four times the roller diameter, industries often use them in tight spaces like automotive applications. Needer roller bearings also have a large surface area that helps them support extremely high radial loads. Their outer race is sometimes integrated into the housing interior. These bearings may come in a radial arrangement and a thrust arrangement.

What are thrust and tapered roller bearings?

To resolve radial loads, thrust roller bearings transmit the load from one raceway to another. Their self-aligning capability allows them to be immune from shaft deflection and alignment errors. With this capability, thrust roller bearings go in applications that deal with axial loads and high-speed axes, particularly in the aerospace and automotive industries. 

Alternatively, tapered roller bearings have tapered inner and outer ring raceways alongside tapered rollers between them. These rollers are angled so that the surfaces converge at the axis of the bearing. These bearings can simultaneously handle a large amount of axial and radial loads. However, tapered roller bearings can only handle slight angular misalignment of the inner ring in relation to the other ring. 

How to determine the right lubricant for a rotary bearing?

Bearings utilise lubrication that takes the form of oil or grease. Grease can usually last for a long time due to their thickeners that help sustain a layer between raceways and rolling elements. Grease with extreme-pressure additives can also prolong bearing life under high forces. Open bearings, alternatively, use oil because of their lower viscosity. Low torque and high-speed applications can also benefit from the oil.

These are only a few questions that are always asked by people who want to know more about rotary bearings. If you still have some questions about rotary bearings, feel free to ask us at Global Bearing Imports. We have many years of expertise in sourcing and supplying difficult to identify and locate bearings of all types to the industry as well as competitive pricing of quality bearings through the ZEN Brand.

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