Bearings are crucial frame wear parts in mechanical equipment. Their primary function is to support a mechanical rotating body to minimize the friction coefficient of mechanical loads during the transmission process of this equipment. Roller bearings are a type of bearings used in many applications across various industries.
What are Roller Bearings?
Roller bearings are mechanical assemblies that guide and support oscillating or rotating machine elements such as wheels or axles, shafts, etc. They consist of tapered or cylindrical rolling components commonly captured between outer and inner races. They assist the transfer of loads between machine components and offer low friction and high precision that enable high rotational speeds while minimizing noise, energy consumption, heat, and wear.
Roller bearings – also known as rolling-element bearings – are exchangeable and cost-effective machine elements that typically follow international or national dimension standards at all times. This is why they are used extensively in all auxiliary drive shaft and main shaft applications to support pure radial load. This allows for the elongation of the axial shaft as a result of temperature changes with zero additional load effect on the bearing.
They exist at the ends of the compressor and turbine shafts. They’re mounted within a housing, though separated from the house by a layer of squeeze film damper or pressurized oil. As a result, they can withstand high axial loads and possess higher load capacities than ball bearings. They are also standardized, just like ball bearings, though to a lesser degree.
Why are Roller Bearings Necessary?
As mentioned earlier, the primary role of these bearings is to minimize friction for unstrained applications. For that reason, they generate less heat during operation and minimize the need for repetitive lubrication.
Other significant benefits of using rolling-element bearings are that they:
- Allow for axial displacement
- Reduce servicing and maintenance costs
- Facilitate swift changes in direction without any technical modification
- Accommodate interchangeable procedures, as you can easily exchange the inner ring
The most commonly used roller bearings usually come with at least one of the following three arrangements:
- Floating bearing configuration
- Adjusted bearing configuration
- Non-locating or locating bearing configuration
Primary Types of Roller Bearings You Should Know
Though thousands of unique types exist, you should know about these five major bearings made to meet specific application requirements. Here are the top 5 types of bearings, arranged in no particular order:
Tapered bearings comprise a cone (inner ring), a cup (outer ring), rollers, and a cage. These are profiled to distribute loads evenly across the bearing efficiently. In addition, this roller bearing creates a line contact between the rolling element and raceway during operation, distributing the load across a more extensive area.
They can be found in various mechanical applications, from heavy machinery and equipment to manufacturing, power generation, and aerospace.
Cylindrical bearings usually have moderate thrust loads and high radial-load capacity. In addition, they come with cylindrically-shaped rollers that are end-relieved or crowned to minimize stress concentrations.
Cylindrical and needle bearings share similar designs. But the roller length, as well as the dimensions of the diameter of the former, are closer in magnitude. This type of roller bearing is used extensively in high-speed applications.
Needle bearings refer to a particular type of cylindrical roller bearing in which the length of the roller is larger than the diameter. This roller-bearing type handles radial load applications, especially when you want a low profile. It is available with or without an inner ring.
Needle roller bearings are excellent for combating radial space constraints in high-speed, heavy-load applications. Drawn cup styles allow large grease reservoirs and high load capacities while offering a slim cross-section design. In addition, they come with metric or inch seals.
Spherical roller bearings are double-row, self-aligning, combination thrust, and radial bearings. They use a crowned or spherical roller as the primary rolling element for effective functioning. This roller bearing can carry heavy loads despite shaft deflection ad misalignment. It can also handle heavy shock and axial loading in both directions.
Spherical roller bearings are available in different bore dimensions that range from 20mm to 900mm. This means installing this roller bearing with or without a sleeve adapter.
Thrust roller bearings pair with pure thrust loads. Therefore, they can handle little or zero radial load. This roller bearing type uses rollers similar to the other bearings you know.
The Other Essential Types of Roller Bearings You Should Know
It is also essential to know the following types of roller bearings:
Thrust tapered roller bearings come with a truncated roller, with the big end having a spherical surface. Tib of the raceway ring, i.e., seat washer and shaft washer, guide the roller accurately.
The apex of every conical surface intersects at a particular point on the centerline of this bearing. The one-way bearing can easily bear a one-way axial load, while the two-way bearing can bear a two-way axial load.
Thrust spherical roller bearings are usually in an oblique fashion. The shaft can have some inclination while the axial load capacity is enormous. The raceway surface is spherical and comes with self-aligning performance. You’ll use oil lubrication when this roller bearing is in operation.
Applications of Roller Bearings
Since different bearings with unique configurations are available, you can utilize them by fitting various machinery and equipment in different industrial sectors.
Some of the examples of widely used applications of rolling-element bearings include:
- Aviation cargo systems
- Agricultural industry
- Medical equipment
- Heavy-duty rotating machinery and equipment, etc.
Roller bearings are those mechanical assemblies consisting of tapered or cylindrical rolling elements often captured between races. They replace ball bearings because they provide heavier load capacities and can withstand high axial loads. They help support rotating shafts and minimize friction between stationary machine members and shafts.
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