Types of Needle Roller Bearings
- Dec 14, 2018 -

Needle Roller Bearings


Needle roller bearings utilize small, cylindrical rollers, referred to as needle rollers, to reduce friction between moving components. The needle rollers are the load-carrying components of the needle roller bearing. They are located between two races, between a single race and a shaft, or between a shaft and a housing, depending on the design of the bearing.


Drawn cup needle roller bearings are the most common type of needle roller bearing. These have a deep but thin-walled outer ring which is drawn from sheet metal. The bore is commonly left open, but can also be capped on one side. They are intended to fit over a shaft. Smoother operation is experienced without an inner ring. There are three main types of drawn cup needle bearings, drawn cup with a cage and open ends, drawn cup with a cage and one closed end, and full complement bearings with open ends.

Drawn cup needle roller bearing

Roller and cage assemblies consist of needle rollers contained by a cage or retainer. They do not have any bearing rings and are assembled between a shaft and housing. They have high load-carrying capacity in a small work envelope.

Needle roller and cage assembly

Needle roller bearings with machined rings are used for higher load-carrying applications. There are two main types of needle roller bearings with machined rings - needle roller bearings without inner rings, and needle roller bearing with inner rings. Needle roller bearings without an inner ring are used with hardened and ground shafts, which allows for use of a larger shaft, offering increased stiffness. Needle roller bearings with inner rings are used in applications where a hardened, ground shaft is not possible or feasible.

Needle roller bearing with machined outer ring and no inner ring   Needle roller bearing with machined rings

Most types of needle roller bearings include and single set of rollers within a cage. However, by placing two sets of rollers adjacently within the bearing, the radial load capacity increases significantly. In this configuration, the ability of the needle roller bearing to sustain even minimal axial loads is compromised, as the bearing cages will generate excessive friction. Roller gauges and cage tolerances for double row bearings must be equivalent.Double row needle roller bearing without Inner ring

Drawn cup roller clutches have a thin-walled, drawn outer ring and are designed to transmit torque in one direction, and be free-running in the opposite direction.

Drawn Cup roller clutch

Alignment needle roller bearings have an outside raceway that is separated from the outer ring, which acts as a sleeve. This raceway features a concave external profile which fits into the sleeve with plastic rings. The result is a roller bearing which can compensate for minimal, static misalignment of the shaft.Alignment needle roller bearing without inner ring

Thrust needle roller bearings are used in applications where the load is sustain axially, not radially. The rollers have axes which are perpendicular to the shaft of the bearing's bore. These types of bearings are acceptable for heavy axial and shock loads. If the associated machine components can be utilized as raceways, this type of bearing will take up no more space than a thrust washer. If not, then a thrust washer must be installed on the machinery.

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