The roller bearing clan comprises of tapered, cylindrical, needle and spherical bearings. The needle roller bearings are the lightest and the smallest of them all and hence the name. They have significant designing which can be used in various applications. Their size gives them edge in certain applications where less weight and less space are concerned. The ratio of the length of the roller and the diameter of the roller is very high making them look like needles and hence the name given to these type of bearings.
The needle roller bearings have many configurations. There are different types of needle roller bearings – needle rollers, drawn-cup needle roller bearings, needle roller and cage assemblies, heavy duty needle bearings, thrust needle roller and cage assemblies, track rollers and airframe needle bearings. To reduce the stress concentrations at the roller-end or deflection of the raceways due to load, controlled contours have been developed. The needle rollers are commonly used in planetary gears, U joints and constant mesh gears.
The drawn up needle roller bearings are used in pulley supports, general gear box shaft supports, pilot bearings and gear pumps. The needle roller and cage assemblies are used in constant mesh gears, planetary gears, connecting rods and idler gears. Heavy duty needle bearings find their use in hydraulic pumps, heavy machines and steering gear. The thrust needle roller and cage assemblies are designed in such a way that they can carry axial loads in restricted spaces and can bear high speeds.
They are commonly used in automatic transmissions as they provide lesser friction in restricted space. Track rollers serve on track type or cam controlled equipment. Their design allows them to withstand heavy shock and rolling activity owing to a thick ring on the outer side. They are used in applications such as cam followers, machine ways and mast rollers.
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Airframe needle bearings are designed to accomplish certain tasks and fulfil needs of the aircrafts in airframe applications. They are used in airframe applications such as pivot positions, slats and wing flaps. There are certain variations provided by the manufacturers of the needle roller bearings, to name a few, there are seals, re-lubrication provisions, plastic cages and close ends.
Needle Roller Bearings Market: Factors impacting the bearing operations while using needle bearings
Not just the right needle for the concerned task but there are certain factors that need to be taken into consideration which affect the bearing operation – Lubrication, Hardness, Raceway Surface finish and geometry of the housing. Typically oil lubrication is opted as it prevents contamination, acts as coolant, permits high speeds and easier to introduce in the system. They enhance the operating efficiency, durability and life of the bearings.