Bearings & Linear Motion Components



A bearing is a device that reduces friction between moving components by preventing metal-to-metal contact while assisting components (shafts, axles, and wheels) to freely rotate around a fixed axis, cutting down on heat generation and the amount of energy that is consumed. By replacing sliding motion with low-friction rolling motion, the life of the rotating components is increased. A bearing also keeps the shaft in the proper position, providing support and alignment and transferring the axial or radial loads to the housing.

The types of bearings that we offer include rolling element bearings, which consist of both ball bearings and roller bearings.

Balls are utilized as the rolling element in ball bearings; a retainer holds the balls in place and allows them to freely rotate. The balls are kept inside channels cut in both the inner and outer races. Because there is no surface contact between the balls and races, precision ball bearings have a lower load capacity for their size than other bearings.

Rolling Element Ball Bearings (Point Contact)

A broken apart image of a ball bearing showing each individual component. These include the retainer, inner race, outer race, and ball

Deep groove ball bearings are the most widely used ball bearings and are utilized in a wide range of applications, especially for high speeds with lower power loss. Deep-groove bearings are made to withstand both radial and axial loads.

A silver ball bearing. The bearing is circular with a smooth metal outer layer, a layer of balls, and a final smooth internal metal layer.

In angular contact bearings, the inner and outer races are displaced relative to each other to accommodate axial and radial loads, transferring force from one raceway to the other at a particular angle. The inner and outer rings' relative positions may be changed to change the contact angle, allowing the bearing to support various loads. The axial load that a bearing can support increases with the depth of the angle that it forms with its axis. Greater axial load capacity equals less radial load capacity because the axial and radial loads are inversely proportional.

Self-aligning ball bearings are suitable when a shaft is susceptible to bending. They feature two rows of balls; one row has balls of a slightly larger diameter. The outer ring features a single spherical raceway, whereas the inner ring has two raceways, allowing the bearings to self-align.

Thrust ball bearings were designed specifically to absorb axial force (not suitable for high-speed rotation or radial loads). Thrust bearings are comprised of a ring of caged balls and two (thrust) washers. They are classified by the direction in which they absorb axial force. Single-direction thrust bearings absorb axial force in one direction; double-direction thrust bearings absorb axial force in both directions.

Rolling Element Roller Bearings (Line Contact)

In contrast to ball bearings of the same size, roller bearings have a better load rating and a lower speed capability. The rolling element roller bearing utilizes a linear cylinder in lieu of a steel ball.

A broken apart roller bearing showing each individual component. These include the roller, inner raceway, outer raceway, cage, and seal

Tapered roller bearings consist of a cone and cup assembly. They feature conical rollers positioned between tapered raceways in the inner and outer rings. Axial loads can be absorbed by tapered roller bearings in a single direction, the axial load may be offset by adjusting against a second tapered roller bearing resulting in the bearings combined taking significant radial and axial loads in both directions. Tapered bearings are used in applications with high speeds and are commonly found in the automotive, industrial, aerospace, and agricultural sectors.

Spherical roller bearings operate on the same principles as self-aligning bearings, but because they use cylindrical rollers in lieu of balls, they can sustain higher radial loads and adequate axial loads, correcting for misalignment between the bearing housing and shaft.

Cylindrical roller bearings have a very high radial load rating due to the line contact between the cylinders and the raceways, optimizing the distribution of the load at the point of contact. Cylindrical roller bearings are suitable for high-speed applications where noise and heat generation are a concern.

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(Drawn cup) needle roller bearings consist of long cylinders with small diameters, called needles. They prevent friction between moving parts in applications with high speeds and high radial loads. Due to their compact size, they are a good option for applications with size limitations. The needle roller bearing is held together by an outer ring that is drawn from low-carbon steel. No further machining is necessary, making these bearings reasonably priced. Needle roller bearings are commonly found in compressors, steering systems, transmissions, pumps, and torque-converters. 

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