Needle roller bearings are the smallest and lightest of the roller bearing family, which includes tapered, cylindrical and spherical roller bearings. In recent years, needle roller bearings have become the popular choice for design engineers and are being recognised for their technical advantages within specific applications. Their small, long and thin cylindrical rollers have a high length-to-diameter ratio, like a needle – hence their name.
Benefits And Comparisons
The small rollers in needle roller bearings are highly effective at reducing the friction of a rotating surface. The bearing’s large surface area, which is in contact with the bearing raceway journals, creates a technical advantage, particularly for applications that require minimal space and weight. Needle roller bearings can handle relatively heavy loads for their diminutive design.
Their size also makes them more cost-effective compared to the alternatives in the extensive bearing catalogue. Needle roller bearings are also more compact in comparison, having a smaller difference between the diameter of the bearing and the diameter of the shaft.
There are four main types of needle roller bearings, including caged roller, drawn cup, precision race and thrust roller. Their typical structure includes an inner race or just a shaft, a cage to contain the needle rollers and an outer raceway. Selecting the correct type of needle roller bearing for your particular application depends on a variety of factors such as the necessary load capacity, load type and speed, as well as the expected temperature limits, lubrication requirements and service life.
Needle roller bearings have been around for more than 60 years, but with the general move towards a reduction in weight, space and energy consumption, they’ve become the bearing of choice for many important applications.
Needle roller bearings are most commonly used in automobile, agricultural and construction components, including compressors, transmissions, gearboxes, pumps, torque converters, suspensions, U-joints and rocker-arm pivots. They’re also found in domestic appliances such as portable power tools, pump clutches and spindles.
If you require a light-weight, cost-effective and compact component to counteract any frictional issues, then needle roller bearings are an excellent option. For more information on the different types of needle roller bearings and which would suit your unique application, call our helpful team today!