Common Types of Bearings and How to Identify Them

December 7, 2021 5:25 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Although they’re simple pieces of equipment, bearings are critical components of any industrial machinery. Bearings are essential in allowing free rotation while reducing friction between stationary and moving parts.
There are several different types of industrial bearings, and this post will cover the main ones.

Sleeve bearings

As the name suggests, these mechanical bearings form a close-fitting sleeve around shafts inside machinery. Each sleeve bearing has a thin film of lubricant between the bearing and the shaft to reduce friction between the different components. You’ll often find these bearings in machines that operate with lighter loads at lower speeds.

Roller bearings

Roller bearings are composed of one or two rows of steel balls (known as rollers) between inner and outer rings that are spaced out by a retainer. Grooves cutting into the inner and outer rings guide the bearings’ movement while a machine is in operation. Roller bearings are the most common bearings on the market and are used for machines that operate at high speeds.

There are five subcategories of roller bearings, which all have slight variances in how they operate. Here are the five types of roller bearings:

  • Radial ball bearings: A radial ball bearing is a general term given to several different types of bearings. The different types of radial ball bearings are deep groove, fitting slow, angular contact thrust and self-aligning ball bearings. Each one operates in a slightly different manner, but they all have either one or two rows of balls inside a ring that help guide movement.
  • Cylindrical roller bearings: These bearings have cylinder-shaped rollers inside of a cage that guides turning movements. The surface of the rollers is slightly crowned at the ends to further reduce stress and friction. Like the different types of radial ball bearings, these industrial bearings can have one or two rows of rollers.
  • Needle bearings: Needle bearings are similar to cylindrical roller bearings, but the rollers are smaller, and there are more rollers in each bearing. Some styles of needle bearings don’t have a cage holding the rollers in place, while others have a retainer that separates the rollers. These bearings are great for accommodating movement in tight spaces.
  • Spherical roller bearings: Spherical roller bearings have two rows of rollers, and the inner ring is set at an angle to the bearing axis. They’re internally self-aligning due to their curved grooves and barrel-shaped rollers.

Tapered roller bearings: These bearings have angular lines formed by tapered roller surfaces that meet at a common point on the bearing’s axis known as the apex point. The inner ring with the rollers is non-separable and is known as the cone, but the outer ring is completely separate from the cone.

We have all the bearings you need

The next time your business needs more mechanical bearings, look no further than M.B. McKee Company, Inc. We have three convenient locations, ensuring fast delivery for companies all across Texas, parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas. We also ship anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. Contact us today to learn more about our vast inventory and low prices.

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