What Are Needle Bearings? What is needle bearing used for?

What are needle bearings?-Introduction of needle bearings

What are needle bearings? Needle bearings are roller bearings with rollers that have high length-to-diameter ratios. Needle bearings use long, thin cylindrical rollers resembling needles. They typically have rollers that are at least four times longer than their diameter.

Many light-duty bearings never need relubrication, but high loads or high speeds require it.

Compared to other roller bearings, needle roller bearings have much smaller rollers for a given bore size. They have the highest load capacity in each radial space of any rolling element bearing, but their use is limited to bores smaller than 10 inches.

All needle roller bearings are variants of two basic designs.

The first is full of needles, which has a full complement of needles and does not include a retainer.

The second, caged needle, contains a cage for roller guidance and spacing. Caged needle bearings have smaller roller assemblies and lower load capacities than full complement bearings. Their advantage is higher speed capacity; retainers prevent high-speed friction between adjacent needles and provide more efficient roller guidance. They also have greater lubricating capacity.

What are needle bearings?-The main type of needle bearings

  • outer ring for drawn cup needle roller bearings (DC type) is made of cold-rolled steel strip accurately formed. They are suitable for applications with limited space and housing not hard enough to act as a raceway. No requirement on axial location when the DC needle roller bearing is pressed into the housing. 

  • The drawn outer ring needle roller clutch is a kind of overrunning clutch (one-way clutch), which is composed of high-quality steel stamped outer ring, plastic cage, spring, and a needle roller, and transmits one-way torque.

  • The needle roller and cage assemblies are separate bearing elements. Each needle is precisely guided and held by a cage. It has the highest load-carrying capacity and high rigidity design in the smallest structure and space. The large distance between the two guide surfaces of the cage ensures precise guidance of the needle roller and cage assembly. Needle roller cage assemblies are suitable when the shaft and housing bore are used as raceways.

  • Thrust bearings are available in sizes from 5 mm to 240 mm (0.1969 – 9.4488 inches) and have a set of needle rollers held in place by a cage.

  • Solid ring needle roller bearings are compact in structure, small in the radial dimension, and high in carrying capacity. This is suitable for areas with limited radial overall size. It is also widely used for shafts or housings with oscillating motion. Needle roller bearings only bear radial loads and do not bear axial loads. When the shaft has an axial load, it can be used in combination with other bearings. However, it does not limit the axial displacement of the shaft or housing. Needle roller bearings have a low limit speed. When the main engine is running at high speed, try to use needle roller bearings with cages. Like other types of needle roller bearings, in the case of the same radial size, needle roller bearings have a large bearing capacity and high rigidity, but large friction torque. 

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