From roller skates to airplanes, bearings are used everywhere around us. They are devices that are used to assist rotational or linear movement while reducing friction and controlling stress. Similar to wheels, bearings help things to roll, which eases the friction between the surface of the bearing and the surface it’s rolling over. It’s knowingly easier to move, both in a rotary or linear way, when friction is reduced, this also boosts speed and productivity.
Bearings are unique in that they are utilized by essentially every industry; every sector that uses machinery or involves motorized parts uses bearings in its equipment. They are present possibly in many of the machines which we use on an everyday basis, everything from cars, bicycles, blenders, dental drills, space shuttles, computers, wind turbines, and gas meters makes use of these integral components, even fidget spinners also consist of them.
The rise in Demand of Bearings
The demand for bearings is expected to grow in the coming years as motor vehicle manufacturing, which makes up the largest market for bearings, is showing steady high demand. Bearing use in engines, turbines, robotics and automation, machine tools, construction, and power transmission machinery are also expected to rise. The global construction market is rapidly expanding, and the railway and aerospace sectors continue to make use of bearings in various applications, including gearboxes, tilting mechanisms, shock absorbers etc.
There are many different kinds of bearings that are made to handle thrust and radical load or at times the combination of both. Because different applications require bearings that are made to handle a specific kind of load and different amounts of weight, the differences between types of bearings are usually based on load type and ability to handle the weight.
- Ball Bearings– They are extremely common as they can handle both radial and thrust loads, the only drawback is that they can only handle a small amount of weight and are also prone to deforming if overloaded. They are found in a variety of applications, such as roller skates, fidget spinners etc. FAG, Koyo, NTN are few of the trusted brands when it comes to Ball Bearings.
- Roller Bearings– These bearings carry a load by placing round elements between two bearing rings. The relative motion of the pieces causes the round elements to roll with very little rolling struggle and with slight sliding. Roller bearings are usually used in applications like conveyer belt rollers, where they must hold heavy radial loads.
- Ball Thrust Bearings– These kinds of bearings are designed in such a way to handle almost exclusively thrust loads in low-speed and low-weight applications. For example, bar stools make use of ball thrust bearings to support the seat. Steco, TATA, and SKF are a few of the leading brands.
- Roller Thrust Bearings– They just like ball thrust bearings, handle thrust loads. The only difference lies in the amount of weight the bearing can handle- roller thrust bearings can support significantly larger amounts of thrust load, and are found in car transmissions, where they are used to support spiral gears. Gear support, in general, is a common application for roller thrust bearings.
- Tapered Roller Bearings– This style of the bearing is designed to handle large radial and thrust loads, as a result of their load flexibility, they are found in car hubs due to the extreme amount of both radial and thrust loads that car wheels are estimated to carry.
- Spherical Roller Bearings– These bearings permit angular rotation about a central point at two right angle directions. They are used in many applications, where rotational motion is allowed to change the alignment of its rotation axis. NBC bearings are used in car suspensions, engines, drive shafts, heavy machinery, sewing machines etc.