What Are Needle Roller Bearings?

Posted by Bradley Irwin on April 15, 2016

The roller bearing family consists of four basic types including tapered, cylindrical, spherical, and needle bearings.

In fact, needle roller bearings are the lightest and the smallest in the roller bearing family. This is why they have certain advantages for specific applications. Applications requiring reduced weight and space will benefit the most from these bearings.

The high length-to-diameter ratio of the roller is what has helped give the name and operational characteristics to these bearings.

Advantages of Needle Roller Bearings

Needle roller bearings come with numerous advantages compared to the other members of the bearing family.

They have the ability to handle a rigid and larger shaft in a given application. They possess a higher load capacity compared to roller bearings of comparable OD or single-row ball.

They cost lesser than the other types of bearings.

Needle roller bearings offer great rolling characteristics in a small cross-section.

Differences Between Needle Bearings and Other Bearings

The main difference between a needle bearing and a roller bearing is the ratio of diameter and length of the rollers.

When this ratio is at an interval of 0.1 to 0.4 such a bearing can be called a needle roller bearing.

Needle roller bearings are mostly used to reduce the friction of a particular rotating surface. These bearings come with a larger surface area that is in contact with the outer surfaces of the bearing.

This is where the needle roller bearings differ from ball bearings.

On the other hand, the difference between the diameter of the bearing and the diameter of the shaft is lesser compared to other bearings. Hence, these bearings are much more compact.

Where Are Needle Roller Bearings Used?

Needle bearings are mostly used in the automobile industry. In fact, they are included in automobile components such as compressors, pumps, rocker arm pivots, and transmissions.

The drive shaft of a rear-wheel drive automobile has at least 8 needle roller bearings. More of these bearings are included if the vehicle is designed to operate on steep slopes or if the vehicle is particularly long.

Needle roller bearings have been available for the past 60-years. The basic design of the bearing has not changed much during these 60-years, but advanced developments have resulted in new cage designs to improve its service life considerably.

Last modified on April 11, 2016

Categories: Bearings, Needle Roller bearings

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