Bearings - The Basics

Introduction to Bearings

    Anything that can be called a machine will invariably incorporate bearings. Bearings must fulfill a great variety of needs, and they constantly evolve in response to this.

    Deep groove ball bearing:

    (1) This is the most widely used bearing in the world.

    Angular contact thrust ball bearing:

    (2) In this type, the rolling element meets the inner and outer ring raceways at a contact angle. This bearing can carry radial and axial loads.。

    Thrust ball bearing:

    (3) Thrust ball bearings are capable of handling loads in the axial direction (axial loads). They can support heavy loads.

    Cylindrical roller bearing:

    (4) The rolling elements are the cylindrical roller type.

    Cylindrical roller bearing:

    (5) Here too the rolling elements are the cylindrical roller type. However in this instance the shape of the cage differs from that in (4).

    Tapered roller bearing:

    (6) The rolling elements are of the tapered roller type. Because the rollers are tapered, this bearing is able to carry combined axial and radial loads.

    Self-aligning roller bearing:

    (7) This bearing has an automatic aligning function to compensate for minute misalignments between the inner and outer rings during operation.

    Thrust needle bearing:

    (8) This bearing is used in parts such as compressors that deliver the air in automobile air conditioning units.

    Cage and roller:

    (9) This is one of several kinds of bearing used in vehicles' manual transmissions. It is required to be highly durable.


    The basic function of bearings is principally to reduce mechanical friction. Reducing friction means:

    1. machinery will run more efficiently
    2. there will be less frictional wear, extending the operating life of the machinery
    3. preventing abrasion burn, avoiding mechanical breakdown

    Bearings also contribute to lower energy consumption by reducing friction and allowing the efficient transmission of power. 


    Source: NSK Bearings