The A to Z of bearings!

There are so many different types of bearings, playing a pivotal role in the performance of machinery. Their rolling motion ensure movements are easier and they help reduce friction.

Today you can find many bearings online and they have two key functions, to reduce rotational friction and to increase the speed of the movement. Bearings are also used in telecommunication, railways, car industry, aircraft and space equipment.

Angular Contact Bearings

These types of bearings consist of two races forming part of a planetary system. Angular contact ball bearings have two raceways with balls between them that act as an interface for rotation or sliding motion. This is often referred to as “Deep Groove”. Apart from the common types like angular contact ball bearings (also known as radial bearings), there are spherical roller bearings, cup and cone needle roller and self-aligning.

Deep groove ball bearings

The most common type is the cylindrical ones. They have an inner ring, or cup, and an outer ring. Between them are balls that support the load via their contact points with both surfaces. The spaces between each ball allow the rings to be closer together giving a “deep groove” hence their name.

Ball bearings

A simple but important bearing that consists of a race with grooves in it into which fit small metal balls allowing smooth rotation around one axis – usually mounted in pairs for precessional rigidity about an axis. This is also known as Radial Bearing. Normally there are many balls grouped together with split cages to hold them in position within the race keeping them apart from each other though they are free to

Metric bearings

Bearings are sized using the bore and outside diameter of the bearing as well as width. The bore is the hole in the middle of the bearing, while the outside diameter is the size of the bearing at its widest point. Width is how wide the bearing is from one side to the other. A metric bearing is a type of bearing that has an inside diameter (ID) that is measured in millimetres. Metric bearings are typically used on industrial machinery, robotics and drones. One benefit of using metric bearings is their precise fit; this ensures smooth movement and accurate precision for industrial machinery and robotic components. Such components may require multiple ball bearings to work together as one larger component; for example, a gearbox may use several ball bearings to ensure accurate rotation without disrupting the gearbox’s overall operation.

Imperial bearings

An imperial bearing is a type of bearing that has an inside diameter (ID) that is measured in inches. Imperial bearings are typically used in applications that require high-precision movement and accuracy. Some common applications that use imperial bearings include medical equipment, manufacturing equipment, and scientific instruments. Imperial bearings are also commonly used in the automotive industry. Compared to other types of bearings, imperial bearings are more expensive and harder to find. However, they offer exceptional quality and precision for demanding applications.

Tapered roller bearings

Tapered roller bearings are very similar to ball bearings; they use balls, inner and outer rings (similar to what you would find on a bicycle wheel), races (the grooves that keep these components together) and cages (keeps the balls inline). The addition of tapered rollers separates tapered roller bearings from ball bearings. Tapered roller bearings can help reduce friction due to their wider contact surface area with the outer ring.

We hope this article was helpful. We’ll be sure to run through many of the other types of ball bearings in a future blog!