Bearing Types, Uses, and Modification Capabilities

Andrew QuillinWritten by Andrew Quillin

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Bearings are an essential part of the machinery. A bearing's goal is to ensure motion is regulated in a moving part and help reduce friction.

Bearings Manufacturing Company offers the same solution; to keep your business moving forward and reduce friction. Machine failures are unpredictable, and if you don’t have the backup bearings you need, you may be stuck with long-lead times, causing you to waste time and money. At BMC, you get a one-stop solution for all your bearings needs, including modification, manufacturing, and repair.

This article discusses bearing types/classifications and the remanufacturing process that provides a bearing equal to or better than the original.

How Bearings are Classified

Bearings are classified as either a Plain (Sleeve) Bearing or Rolling Bearing depending upon the force's direction.

A plain bearing is the simplest type of bearing. It is made of a bearing surface and no rolling element. According to IBTINC, while they vary in shape and size, these bearings function as "a band of close-fitting material that encloses and supports a moving member, or forms a “sleeve” around the shaft."

There are five types of rolling elements; Ball, Cylindrical, Spherical, Tapered, and Needle. Ball and roller bearings are classified according to load conditions. 

Roller bearings are cylindrical units. They are used to provide low-friction movement.

Let's start with the main types of roller bearings

Cylindrical Roller Bearings  

The cylindrical roller bearings have a high radial load capacity and are suitable for high speeds. They are in linear contact with the raceways.

Spherical Roller Bearings 

Spherical roller bearings can handle heavy radial loads, severe misalignment and some axial loads in either direction. 

Tapered Roller Bearings 

"Tapered roller bearings are known for their ability to support radial, axial, and combined loads (both simultaneously)," according to Direct Industry. Due to their rigidity, the loads can be hefty.

Needle Roller Bearings 

Like cylindrical roller bearings, needle bearings can be made with or without a cage; if they have a cage, they can tolerate very high speed, but if they don't have a cage, they can support significant radial or axial load.

Cross Roller Bearings

There are many types of linear bearings on the market. The most common types are linear roller, cam follower, ball spline, flat ball cage, hydrostatic, ball bushing, and the crossed roller.

The Cross Roller Ring is a roller bearing with high rotation accuracy. Because it has orthogonally arranged cylindrical rollers, it can bear loads in every direction. The main requirements in such applications are high repeatability, durability, and low friction.

Typically, bearings have precision-made rollers, pins, or balls enclosed in a cage or a frame to rotate around its axis. When the load is placed on it and moved, the rollers or balls rotate, and the load moves forward effortlessly.

Let's move on to ball bearing types...

Ball Bearing Types

A ball bearing is a type of rolling-element bearing that uses balls to maintain the separation between the moving parts. Two types of ball bearings are angular contact and radial. The difference between the two, angular contact has a higher speed rating than radial because of the balls' constant contact to both rings. 

Angular Contact Ball Bearings

Angular contact ball bearings can handle radial and axial loading as well as high-speed applications.

Radial Ball Bearings

Radial ball bearings are a bearing where the action of the load transmitted is radial to the axis of the shaft.

Specialty Coatings to Reduce Wear on Bearings

Specialty Coatings can be applied to rolling bearing component's surfaces without forming a material bond, for example, by diffusion, between the coating and base material.

Coating a bearing significantly reduces the scuffing and wear associated with starting and stopping the bearing and eliminates the liner's chemical reaction and opposing metal bearing components.

specialty coatings

As shown above, the Black Oxide coating helps reduce friction during startup, and the Dielectric Gray Alumina coating can be added to non-raceway surfaces to form an electrical insulation barrier.

Specialty Coatings is just one more way to assist in bearing needs.

The Bearing Remanufacturing Process

The remanufacturing process provides customers with a bearing equal to or better than the original. This requires removing the fatigued material on the raceways and the rollers and calculating new internal geometry. 

The fatigued surfaces result from repeated deformation between the roller and raceways. This action's stress cycle is a load and speed function and causes high stresses at the roller and raceway contact.

Generally, such damage runs to a depth of .002 inches or less. The material at the contact area of the roller and the raceway is fatigued by a bending action. If the operation continues until the material stress limit is reached, the fatigued contact area will be the nucleus for coarse-grain spalling. 

The remanufacturing process is as complex as new manufacturing with respect to tolerances, finishes, and geometry. By grinding away the fatigued material to create new contact surfaces on the raceways, we can re-engineer the internal geometry and manufacture new rollers. This process produces a remanufactured bearing that is comparable to new. Calculations, dimensions, angles, and finishes meet the accuracies of a new bearing. 

The savings result from using the existing races as raw material for the remanufactured bearing. The savings can be substantial while providing a bearing equal to or better than the original. The savings is not only in money but in time, as the raw material is already delivered.


When selecting a bearing for an application, there are considerations to keep in mind, including friction, temperature, and lubrication.

Machine failures are unpredictable, and if you don’t have the backup bearings you need, you may be stuck with long-lead times, causing you to waste time and money.

At BMC, you get a one-stop solution for all your bearings needs, including modification, manufacturing, and repair

We've helped distributor branches all over the world get the bearing and power transmission products they need. 

Talk to one of our bearing experts today to tell us what you need, and we can help you get started.

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