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A Definitive Guide to Roller Bearings and Their Types

Commonly known as rolling-element bearings, roller bearings are bearings that carry a load by placing balls, rollers, and other rolling elements between races (bearing rings). Just like ball bearings, roller bearings are also designed to carry loads and minimize friction. Roller bearings are capable of transmitting loads with the help of cylindrical rolling elements that help in maintaining a distance between the moving parts of the roller bearing. At times, these bearings also contain single or multiple rows of rolling elements. With the help of multiple rows, the machine element gets considerably better radial load capacity. The use of different shapes of rollers can further help in reducing friction stemming from axial and radial loads.

3 Reasons to Use Roller Bearings

Reason No. 1: Roller Bearings Are Durable & Strong

Though ball bearings are more capable of handling misalignment as compared to roller bearings, roller bearings can absorb more shock and manage impact forces efficiently. Roller bearings have a larger contact area which is designed to work with larger loads and lower speeds. When it comes to heavy-load industrial applications, the roller bearing is the preferred solution.

Reason No. 2: Roller Bearings Can Be Easily Greased

No matter how carefully they are used and even if frequently maintained, bearings start to face fatigue after a certain point. Roller bearings in any system should be closely monitored as part of a maintenance program. This gives you time to replace bearings as and when needed.

However, proper and timely lubrication can significantly prolong the service life of your roller bearings. Lubrication helps in the reduction of friction and wear and tear, saving the contact surface through the reduction of fatigue, removal of friction-generated heat, prevention from corrosion, and prevention from dirt and debris.

Reason No. 3: It Gives More Geometry-Based Options

Roller bearings come in various shapes and sizes, and there are unique advantages to every bearing.  For instance, spherical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings have proven to be the best in managing combined radial and thrust loads. When looking for the best roller bearing suitable for your application, attributes like loading type, capacity, as well as lubricant, sealing, and shielding requirements are considered. Choosing between roller bearings and ball bearings is straightforward: go for ball bearings if you want light loads and fast speeds, and pick roller bearings for heavy loads and high-impact applications.

Types of Roller Bearings

1. Cylindrical Roller Bearings

Cylindrical roller bearings are rollers that are longer than their diameter. These roller bearings can seamlessly tolerate higher loads as compared to ball bearings. Cylindrical roller bearings carry heavy radial loads and can be used in high-speed applications.

2. Spherical Roller Bearings

Spherical roller bearings are capable of carrying heavy loads, even in situations of misalignment and shaft deflection. These can be crafted to have tapered or cylindrical bores for mounting with or without a sleeve adapter. Spherical roller bearings can be made available with various internal clearances and retainer options. They can handle axial loading in either direction, in addition to taking on heavy shock loads.

3. Needle Roller Bearings

Needle roller bearings are thinner than the traditionally available roller bearings. These roller bearings can be designed with or without an inner ring. These roller bearings are perfect when dealing with heavy-load, high-speed applications, and radial space constraints. Needle roller bearings are generally offered with an inch or metric seal.

4. Taper Roller Bearings

Taper roller bearings efficiently support thrust and radial loads. However, these bearings can only take on unidirectional axial loads. Therefore, a second laterally reversed bearing will be required for a counter-stay. These roller bearings are put to use in a broad range of applications, including heavy equipment and machinery, power generation, aerospace, and manufacturing.

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April 11, 2022

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