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Types of Rolling Bearings: A Comprehensive Guide

Importance of Bearings in Mechanical Systems

Rolling bearings are an important mechanical basic component used to support mechanical moving parts, carry loads and allow them to rotate, oscillate or reciprocate in a straight line. Rolling bearings require a higher degree of precision and reliability than general mechanical components. They are available in a wide range of different construction types. Specialized manufacturing plants usually mass-produce them due to their special manufacturing processes and high demand for finished product quality. This guide will focus on the common ways of categorizing rolling bearings. It will also introduce the basic concepts of spherical and linear rolling bearings, types of spherical plain bearings and classification methods for housed external spherical ball bearings.


Classification of Rolling Bearings

Rolling bearings have a wide variety of structural types, and there are many ways to categorize them. The more common rolling bearing classification method is based on the structure type and size of the bearing classification. Structure type classification is based on the direction of the load-bearing role, rolling body shape, each set of bearings in the number of rolling body columns, and work can be centering, and so on several aspects of classification, the name of the bearing is also the content of this to be integrated to name; size classification is based on the size of the bearing dimensions for type. The following is a specific introduction to the variety of rolling bearings.

Classification According to Load Direction And Contact Angle

  • Radial bearings - rolling bearings are mainly used to bear radial loads, with the nominal contact angle from 0 ° to 45 °. The little contact angle is different but also divided into the following:

  • Radial contact bearings - radial bearings with a little contact angle of 0°;

  • Angular contact radial bearings - with little contact angles greater than 0° to 45°.

  • Thrust bearings - rolling bearings are mainly used for axial loads with nominal contact angles greater than 45° to 90°. According to the different little contact angles, it is also divided into:

  • Axial contact bearings-Thrust bearings with a nominal contact angle of 90°;

  • Angular contact thrust bearings - with a nominal contact angle greater than 45° but less than 90°;

Classification According to The Type Of Rolling Body

  • Ball bearings - the rolling elements are balls;

  • Roller bearings - bearings in which the rolling bodies are rollers.

  • Cylindrical roller bearings - bearings in which the rolling elements are cylindrical rollers;

  • Needle roller bearings - bearings in which the rolling elements are needle rollers;

  • Tapered roller bearings - bearings whose rolling elements are tapered rollers;

  • Spherical roller bearings - bearings whose rolling elements are spherical rollers;

According to The Classification of Bearing Centering

  • Spherical bearings - The raceway is spherical and can adapt to the two raceway axis lines between the angular deviation and angular motion of the bearing;

  • Non-aligning bearings (rigid bearings) - bearings that can resist the angular deviation of the axis line between the raceways.

Classification According to The Number of Columns of The Rolling Elements of The Bearing

According to The Bearing, Parts Can Be Separated By Classification

  • Separable bearings - bearings with detachable parts;

  • Non-separable bearings- bearings in the final package, the rings can not be arbitrary free separation of bearings;

Classification According to The Shape of The Bearing Structure

Bearing according to its structure shape (such as with or without filling groove, with or without inner and outer rings and the form of the ring, the structure of the retaining edge, and even with or without cage, etc.) can also be divided into a variety of structural types.

Classification According to The Size of The Outer Diameter of The Bearing

  • Miniature bearings - bearings with a nominal outside diameter of 26mm or less;

  • Small bearings - bearings with a nominal outside diameter of 28 ~ 55mm;

  • Small and medium-sized bearings - bearings with a small outer diameter of 60 ~ 115mm;

  • Medium and large bearings - bearings with a small outside diameter of 120 to 190 mm;

  • Large bearings - bearings with a small outer diameter of 200 ~ 430mm;

  • Extra large bearings -bearings with a nominal outer diameter of 440mm or more;


Classification According to The Application Areas of Bearings

  • General-purpose bearings - bearings used in general-purpose machinery or for general purposes;

  • Specialized bearings-bearings used exclusively or mainly for specific hosts or special working conditions. Such as automobile bearings, railroad bearings, etc;

Classification According to Whether It Meets The Standard Size

  • Standard bearings - bearings whose external dimensions conform to the provisions of the classic size series;

  • Non-standard bearings - the external dimensions of any size do not meet the standard size series of bearings;

Classification According to Whether The Bearings Have Seals or Dust Caps

  • Open bearings - bearings without dust caps and seals;

  • Closed bearings - shafts with one or two dust caps, one or two seals, one dust cap and one seal;

Classification of Bearings According to The Unit of Expression of External Dimensions and Tolerances

  • Metric bearings - external dimensions and tolerances using the metric (metric) unit of expression of the bearing;

  • Inch bearings - bearings whose external dimensions and tolerances are expressed in imperial units;

Other Categories of Rolling Bearings

Combination BearingsNeedle roller and thrust ball combination bearings
Needle roller and angular contact ball combination bearings
Needle roller and double-direction angular contact ball combination bearings
Needle roller and axial cylindrical roller combination bearings
Needle roller and double axial cylindrical roller combined bearings
Bearing UnitRailroad bearing units
Machine tool spindle bearing units
Automobile wheel hub bearing units
Automotive clutch bearing units
Automotive tensioner wheel bearing units
Computer disk drive spindle bearing units
Textile bearing units
Washing machine-bearing units
Dental drill-bearing units, etc.
Areas of ApplicationAutomobile bearings (automobile wheel bearings, water pump bearings, automobile clutch bearings, tensioner wheel bearings, automobile gearbox bearings, automobile engine bearings, etc.)
Railroad bearings (railroad locomotive bearings, railroad wagon bearings, railroad bus bearings, etc.)
Machine tool bearings (machine tool spindle bearings, machine tool screw bearings, etc.)
Electric motor bearings
Motorcycle bearings
Rolling mill bearings
Computer bearings
Precision instrument bearings
Robot bearings
Conveyor bearings
Wind turbine bearings
Agricultural bearings
Textile bearings
Structure and Utilization CharacteristicsExternal spherical bearings
External spherical bearings
Tapered bore bearings
Axial bearings
Thin section bearings
Split bearings
Flanged bearings
Seated bearings
Full rolling element bearings
Non-grinding bearings
PerformanceHigh-speed bearings
Precision bearings
High-temperature bearings
Low-temperature bearings
Low noise bearings
Long life bearings
Corrosion resistant bearings
Insulated bearings
Non-magnetic bearings
Coated bearings
Sensor bearings: rolling bearings with one or more integrated sensors consisting of electromechanical or electronic components.
Self-lubricating bearings
Vacuum bearings
Bearing Material ClassificationChrome steel bearings
Stainless steel bearings
Carbon steel bearings
Ceramic bearings:  full ceramic bearings: rolling bodies and rings are made of ceramic materials  mixed ceramic bearings: rolling bodies are made of ceramic materials; at least one ring is made of bearing steel.
Plastic bearings
ConfigurationMatching bearings
Mating bearings
Universal mating bearings

Classification of Housed Spherical Ball Bearings

Bearing housing machining methodBearings with casting seat
Bearing with stamped seat
Bearing housing structure typeTop wire spherical ball bearings with seats
Housed Eccentric Bushing Outer Spherical Ball Bearings
Tightening sleeve outer spherical ball bearings with seats
Material of bearing housingBearing with cast iron seat
Bearings with cast steel seats
Stainless steel housing bearings
With plastic housing bearings
The shape of the bearing housingBearings with vertical seat
Bearings with square seat
With diamond-shaped housing bearings
With round housing bearings
With slide housing bearings
With ring-shaped housing bearings
With suspended housing bearings
With suspended housing bearings
With triangular seat bearings