Bearing Taxonomy Part 3 – Radial Ball Bearings

Bearing Taxonomy Part 3 – Radial Ball Bearings

In this article we will be diving into the “Radial Ball Bearings” category as it contains some of the most widely used types of bearings.

This category of ball bearings are primarily designed to support radial loads, but certain subtypes are also able to withstand axial loads to some degree.

1.2.1 - Deep Groove ball bearings

This particular type of ball bearings is without a doubt the most common and widely used design of ball bearing – simple design, low cost and minimal maintenance. They are built by enclosing a “ring” of balls held in place by a retainer between two races. 

Because they can carry both types of loads, they are very versatile. As they have very low rolling friction and being designed for low noise and vibration, it makes them very well suited for high-speed applications.

Deep Groove Ball Bearings are being used in the following industries (but not only): automotive, agricultural, food processing, Medica/Dental/Pharmaceutical, material handling, machine tooling.

Deep Groove Ball Bearing
Angular Ball Bearing

Angular contact ball bearings

The Angular Contact Ball Bearing is designed to handle a higher amount of axial load then radial load. The outer and inner races are displaced with respect to each other along the bearing axis. 

Because of this shift in the races, more axial load can be moved to the housing of the bearing thus making it a best fit in applications were rigid axial guidance is needed.

Like the Deep Groove bearings, the Angular Contact bearings are most commonly used for cars, gearboxes and agricultural equipment to name just a few. Because of the non-stop contact of the balls with both rings, this type of bearings has a much higher speed rating the other similar types.

Duplex angular contact ball

The Duplex Angular contact ball bearings are similar to their single row counterpart but it adds another row of balls. These two rows are matched and it provides a more accurate alignment on both types of loads: axial and radial.

This design virtually eliminates vibrations and it provides a much higher load capacity while providing a longer life and an improved reliability for the systems with which they are integrated with.

The Duplex Angular Contact ball bearings can a very stiff bearing arrangement that are able to accommodate tilting movements. As such, they are used (commonly) in the Materials Handling, Machine Tool, Steel Mill, and Wind Energy industries for high-speed applications.

Four-point contact ball bearings

Four-point contact ball bearings

The 4-point Contact ball bearings have similar architecture to radial single row angular contact ball bearings and consists of races that are designed to support axial loads in both directions. A (limited) radial load can be supported for a given axial load.

This design allows for the bearings to be separable, where the outer ring with ball and cage can be mounted separately from the inner ring.

Some of the advantages of the 4-point Contact ball bearing are: a high load capacity, they take a lot less axial space than duplex designed bearings, easier mounting and a better oil flow.

Self-aligning ball bearings

The Self-Aligning bearing is designed and used to accustom misalignment between the housing and the shaft of a system. This category includes a number of subtypes for more specific purposes: spherical roller bearings, toroidal roller bearings, and self-aligning thrust bearings to name a few and are available in either open or sealed designs.

Typically,  the Self-Aligning ball bearings have two rows of balls, a common sphered race in the outer ring and two deep uninterrupted race grooves in the inner ring.

Self-aligning ball bearing


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