Needle Bearings

A needle bearing, also known as a needle roller bearing, is a bearing that utilises cylindrical rollers in the same way that a conventional roller bearing does. What differentiates a needle bearing from a roller bearing is the diameter and length of the roller itself. If the ratio of the roller’s diameter and length is between 0.1 and 0.4, it is classified as a needle bearing. Needle bearings are used to reduce the amount of friction of a rotating surface. There are several types of needle bearings. Radial needle bearings use rollers that are parallel to the shaft axis and are cylindrical. In contrast, thrust needle bearings are flat and utilise needles in a radial pattern. Needle bearings are more compact than ball bearings as they have less added clearance. Full complement needle bearings have the highest radial load capacity. Needle bearings have a wide variety of uses but are most commonly found in the automotive industries. Needle bearings are used heavily in compressors, pumps and drive shafts – particularly of rear wheel drive vehicles.

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