Types Of Bearings

Bearings are inside almost every mechanical device, reducing friction and transferring loads. Just as there are limitless varieties of machines, so there are many types of bearings.

Discount Bearings sells all the most widely used types of bearings as well as those that are less common. This ranges from compact ball bearing races to heavy-duty double tapered roller sets. If you need pillow block bearings, cam follower bearings or super precision bearings, we can help.

Find the Right Bearing

If you’re replacing an existing bearing, you probably already know what you want. Maybe though you’re tired of doing the same job over and over and want to upgrade to something more durable. If you’re working on a new design, you face a different challenge: You want the best bearing for the job.

Here, we’ll provide some general advice on the many types of bearings and their applications. We’ll explain the classification of bearing systems and the merits of each. If you want to know about the types of ball bearings and roller bearings, you’re in the right place.

Bearing Classifications

It starts with the load. Is it toward the center of the shaft (axial) or in the direction of the shaft axis (thrust)? Most applications involve both to some degree. It’s important to know which dominates because that dictates the most appropriate design.

Bearings for lighter loads generally use rotating balls. These can handle both radial and thrust forces, but will deform if overloaded. That’s because a ball offers a very small contact area. (Spalling or a clear wear path indicates overloading.)

Roller bearings provide a larger contact area and are preferred for higher loads. Their weakness is a limited ability to handle thrust forces.

Tapered roller bearings put the rollers at an angle relative to the shaft axis. This arrangement lets them handle large axial and thrust forces. They are used back to back in pairs when thrust forces are bidirectional.

Ball thrust bearings (one of many types of ball bearings) are another approach, designed for axial loads only.

Other factors to consider include shaft speed, diameter, degree of misalignment anticipated, and the space available. (Needle bearings are often used in confined spaces.) Lubrication may also be important, depending on the application.

Commonly Used Bearings and Their Applications

Ball bearings are almost certainly the most widely used type of bearing. These are found everywhere from motors and compressors to packing equipment and pumps — anywhere there’s a shaft to hold, guide or support. They can range in size from fractions of an inch in diameter to several feet.

Roller bearings and taper rollers are often used in transmissions where axial forces are often considerable. You’ll also find them in conveyor systems where they can handle heavy loads.

Poor lubrication is a leading cause of bearing failure, so consider how this will perform in the application environment. Food processing is one particularly challenging industry, due to the frequency of washdown cleaning with steam and caustic solutions.

Get Exactly the Bearing You Need

Understanding the many types of bearings and their applications takes time and experience. At Discount Bearings, we have worked with bearings for years and are your source for knowledge. Whether you need advice on a new bearing application, or you’re looking to reduce downtime and maintenance costs, we can help.

Search for a part on our site or describe what you need on our contact us form, and we’ll be in touch!