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Tapered Roller Bearings: The Basics

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Tapered Roller Bearings Basics

Just about everyone sees bearings in action every day. We may pay no attention; but bearings are out there keeping the world running! Bearings do exactly what their name implies: They bear forces; forces that come from weight and movement. Some are designed to be disposable; others for long-term wear. Roller bearings are designed for long-term use.

Designed especially for heavy-duty applications; the tapered roller bearing is a basic bearing that is commonly used in many industries; transportation, manufacturing, even fashion. To understand these simple yet amazing bearings; some basic vocabulary is needed:

  • Cup: The outer shell of the tapered roller bearing; the cup slips over the cone and provides the outer raceway for bearing movement. A tapered roller bearing is made up of the rollers, a cup, and a cone.
  • Cone: Inner workings of the tapered roller bearing; the cone contains tapered rollers (bearings) and an inner raceway. The cone goes inside the bearing cup to create the complete tapered ball bearing.
  • Taper: The cup, cone and rollers are all "cone-shaped". One OD is larger than the other; beveling the bearing and its rollers.
  • Roller retainer: Also called a spacer, this is used for multiple tapered roller bearing applications; retainers keep bearings in place and are designed for accurate fit and ease of assembly. Retainers are typically sold separately from bearings.
  • Raceway: A smooth track that rollers glide along. Tapered roller bearings have 2 raceways; an outer (cone) and an inner (cup). Because of the dual raceway, tapered roller bearings can accommodate both axial and radial thrust loads.
  • Thrust: Basically, thrust means force. Bearings literally bear thrust so that an axle can move. Imagine your heavy car just sitting on the axle. It wouldn't move. Add bearings; the axle moves with forward and backward thrust. Tapered roller bearings are able to bear both axial and radial forces at once.
  • Axial: Forces that move along (or in the same direction as) the axle. These forces can be, for example, simply due to the weight of the car body.
  • Radial: Forces that move perpendicular to the axle. In your car, these are the forces involved in forward and backward motion.
  • Load: Amount of force that is applied. Tapered roller bearings bear both axial and radial load.

Tapered roller bearing facts:

Design: The tapered roller bearing design is a very simple one: A tapered cup "raceway" that fits over a complementary tapered cone that houses also tapered, rolling bearings. The genius of the design is that tapered roller bearings can be used singly or in multiples; as needed.

Versatility: Tapered ball bearings are commonly used in many industries including the construction, mining, agriculture, and transportation industries. Because they are able to accommodate both axial and radial forces simultaneously, indications for the use of tapered roller bearing are nearly limitless!

Durability: Often used in heavy-duty applications such as in construction and mining equipment; the tapered roller bearing stands up to both heavy weight and heavy use.

Distribution of Forces: Multiple tapered roller bearings can be arranged to work in sync to bear opposing forces or to evenly distribute energy. Tapered double outer (TDO) and tapered double inner (TDI) are 2 examples of specific design specs for tapered roller bearings that require 2 tapered roller bearings and a spacer.

Ease of Use: Tapered roller bearings are clearly marked so that proper assembly is easy to achieve. For multiple assemblies, the roller retainer is marked to correspond with the tapered roller bearings to provide ease of assembly.

Global standardization: Markings and fit of tapered roller bearings are globally universal. This means that, regardless of where you live in the world, you can purchase and assemble tapered roller bearings using the same, simple techniques. Standardized ID, OD, and shaft measurements allow you to use components interchangeably. Number markings on the bearings give vital information. For example, 1st digit indicates engineering style; 2nd digit gives OD size; and last 2 digits length of shaft.

Find everything right here at See our wide variety of tapered bearings with many ID,OD and shaft choices. We are "the ball bearing capital of the internet"! Contact us for your bearings needs today!

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