A Complete Guide to Needle Roller Bearings

Bearings are machine components that assist objects in rotation while reducing friction between moving parts. There are a wide range of different bearing types, all of which operate in various ways to suit a myriad of applications. For example, needle roller bearings are one common type which feature roller elements that are longer and thinner than conventional roller bearing elements.

As needle roller bearings have smaller roller diameters than their counterparts, they are the perfect solution for operations where reduced overall bearing heights are necessary. Despite having smaller roller diameters, they provide optimal load bearing capacities and are often utilized in automotive engines and other high-stress, precision applications.

Needle roller bearings take advantage of the traditional design principles of standard roller bearings with an inner and outer race that contains and orients a set of roller elements between them. The inner race is pushed onto the shaft of the machine, whereas the outer race remains confined to the end cap or outer frame. Meanwhile, the rollers offer low friction support for the shaft as it rotates.

Because the roller elements within needle roller bearings have reduced diameters, this means that they have a lower profile than other bearing types. This characteristic enables the needle roller bearing to be utilized in applications where small inner to outer surface tolerances are required. More than that, they allow machine designers to keep overall design dimensions down, saving space and weight in applications such as automotive engines.

There are an array of needle roller bearing configurations, including caged, full complement, sealed, or open variations, in addition to angular contact varieties which combine needle roller and ball bearing elements. Caged needle bearings are designed with steel or brass “cages” that hold a reduced number of rollers in constant positional orientation, resulting in reduced friction. On the other hand, full complement bearings have a race area full of rollers, increasing the friction coefficient of the bearing, its stability, and load bearing capacity.

Some needle roller bearings may feature an additional set of ball bearings that run on the exterior of the roller set and allow for an improved angular load capacity. For instance, self aligning needle bearings are popular, those of which have two outer races with mating, cupped inner surfaces which gives them a degree of axial misalignment absorption. Similarly, needle-type thrust bearings are also quite common and feature roller sets arranged radially in a fan formation.

When selecting a needle roller bearing for your projects, it is important to keep your operational requirements in mind. As some roller bearing types offer differing advantages, it is important to understand their fundamental differences. To ensure you have a vast selection of bearings to choose from, you should make it a priority to find a distributor with a wide-ranging inventory of high-caliber offerings.

ASAP Aviation Unlimited is a leading distributor of needle roller bearings, as well as high-quality aircraft parts, all of which have been sourced from a conglomerate of well-known manufacturers that we trust. With over 2 billion new, used, obsolete, and hard-to-find items on our database, customers can easily meet rigid time constraints and inflexible budget parameters.

Explore our expansive listings and take note of any items of interest. When you have narrowed down your search, we invite you to use our Instant Request for Quote (RFQ) service to obtain a competitive quote for any desired part number. Within 15 minutes or less of submitting an RFQ form, one of our experts will reach out with a customized solution that keeps your part requirements in mind. For one-on-one assistance, contact us via phone or email today!


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