What Are Angular Thrust Ball Bearings?

September 10, 2015

A ball bearing is comprised of a number of friction-reducing hard balls that run in grooves in two concentric ring surfaces, which is mounted on a rotating shaft. Its primary purpose is to reduce the effect of the rotational friction generated by the rubbing action, so heat produced by the high-speed contact is lessened. Ball bearings are also intended to support axial and radial loads using a minimum of two (bearing) races that help loads be transmitted through the balls. Generally one race is fixed and the other is attached to a shaft or hub or shaft. The balls rotate as the bearing races rotates.

Conventional thrust ball bearings are typically used for low-speed applications. They are manufactured as single- or double-direction and not intended to handle any significant radial load. Thrust ball bearings are used in swivel stools and light load turntables.

Angular Thrust Ball Bearings

In contrast to conventional thrust ball bearings angular thrust ball bearings are designed for, and capably accommodate, combination radial and axial loading. They have specific geometrically designed angular shoulders and contact bearing raceways that create ball contact angles which support higher axial loads. Angular thrust ball bearings are also designed with additional special lubricants, cage materials, corrosion-resistant coatings, and pre-loads.

Angular thrust ball bearings are produced in a variety of size and design that easily operate at high speeds. Their design is more suitable for applications where high axial stiffness and low-friction torque are required. Angular thrust ball bearings are also capable of functioning in high load carrying machines and equipment, such as supporting drilling rig rotary tables.

Types of Angular Thrust Ball Bearings

Commonly-used angular thrust ball bearings types include:

• Single-row / single-direction angular thrust ball bearings
• Double-row / double-direction angular thrust ball bearings

Single-row / single direction angular thrust ball bearings have high thrust axial load capacity and locate a shaft axially in one direction only. The single design, for example, of washers and ball and cage assembly, may be individually mounted. To achieve maximum performance, sets of single-row bearings may be mounted in duplex fashion. Two bearings are adjusted against each other when used in primary application areas. For example, in rotary tables the second bearing has a higher load carrying capacity than the first bearing because it must carry the weight of the drill (when it is stationary).

Specifically-designed double-row / double direction angular thrust ball bearings are high precision bearings for use in applications such as machine tool main spindles. This type of thrust ball bearings have a higher rigidity and can endure higher speeds and contain more and smaller diameter balls and have a 60-degree contact. Angular thrust ball bearings for ball screws have a 60-degree contact. They are typically used with a pre-load and in combination with two or more bearings.


Angular thrust ball bearings are commonly used in high-speed / high precision applications in agriculture, utilities, and chemical and general industries.

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