THE high speeds, intense pressure, and constant motion of many modern machines, both in the factory and in the automotive domain, put a great strain on moving parts. The more a part moves, the more friction is increased. The more friction that exists, the more wear and tear there will be. Part of the answer to this dilemma is the use of machine components known as “bearings.”
Bearings “bear” or “support” the weight of moving parts that push up against them. They keep those parts to which they are attached or with which they are in contact from moving more than they ought to while allowing them to still make all necessary motions. By reducing or eliminating undesirable movements, bearings extend the life of machine parts and save all of us a lot of money.
One of the earliest and most common type of bearing is the ball bearing, which consists of spheres that are held between two rings, called “races,” and which roll round so as to greatly reduce friction.
While there are many types of roller bearings, we shall concentrate here on one of the most important, which is more specifically labeled “cylindrical roller bearings.” As the name implies, small cylinders are involved. In this type of bearing, these cylinders are relatively short and fat- shaped something like shot gun shells. They are quite good at bearing heavy loads and can usually out-perform ball bearings in this respect. While quite effective at what they do, cylindrical roller bearings are a little touchy as to alignment. That is, they can rapidly lose load-bearing capacity if at all misaligned. If kept well-aligned, well-lubricated, and reasonably clean, however, they can function great for a long period of time.
Technically, needle bearings are roller bearings as well, their full name being “needle roller bearings.” The name “needle” comes from the fact that the roller involved are relatively long and thin. More specifically, the difference between roller and needle bearings is that needle bearings have rollers at least four times as long as they are wide. It is simply a matter of the ratio of diameter to length. Being longer, needle bearings have a greater contact surface with their load. They also have a higher load-bearing capacity than ordinary cylindrical roller bearings, though multi-row versions of the latter can be quite high-capacity. The down side of needle bearings is that they tend to “tire down” and wear out faster than many other bearings will.
What Makes for a Superior Bearing?
Whether you need a ball, roller, needle, or other style of bearing, you want one of high quality. Some of the factors to check include:
- A high load-bearing capacity
- A long expected life span
- Made of durable materials
- Tight enough to minimise friction
- Allows some room for play
- Easy to lubricate
- Easy to clean
- Correct size and type for your application
- From a well-reputed brand
If you need a bearing but are not sure about which one will best suit your needs, you should ask the experts for some assistance. Online companies like Bearing Boys, for example, put up both a large selection and needful explanations for your benefit. Many knowledgeable workers, whom you can easily contact via telephone or Internet, will be more than happy to help you sort through your options till you find the very best one.
Bearings are one of those things that few of us think of until something goes wrong with one. There are many types, sizes, brands, and applications of modern bearings, and modern machines are helpless without them.