What is a bearing and what does it do?

Posted by NTN-SNR on 22/12/2021

A rolling bearing is a bearing which carries a load by placing rolling elements (such as balls or rollers) between two bearing rings called races.

Behind the apparent standardization of bearings hides a complex technology. A vital but discreet component, bearings aid the efficiency of the machines in which they are used and have a huge effect on their performance.

Ball bearings, radial contact, angular contact, 3 or 4-point contact, single or double row, with ceramic balls. Roller bearings cylindrical, tapered, with one or more rows of rollers, cross roller... Each type of bearing acts in an optimal way in a given application and to specific demands. That is why every parameter counts in the production of a bearing. The slightest variation in the composition of the steel or the formula of the lubricant, a difference of a few micrometres in the shape of contact surfaces is enough to change the behaviour and the working life of a bearing.

Then there are «smart bearings», products which are continually evolving because of the materials used or the integration of additional functions.

NTN-SNR’s R&D department is working on the bearing of tomorrow every day: lighter, more compact, more resistant to pollution, more precise - NTN-SNR’s engineers never cease to push the limits of products by using special steels, different heat treatments (case-hardening, core hardening, local induction hardening) or surface treatments, particular lubrication, standard or specialized sealing, or by incorporating functions (tuning, fixation, transmission, instrumentation, assembling), or improving on the shape or the precision so that tolerance margins are reduced to the absolute minimum.

With several hundred patents to its name, innovation technology such as the instrumented bearing and solid lubricant bearing, NTN-SNR has proved the bearing is indeed a worthy object, crowned by partnerships with the greatest car manufacturers, major industries and the most ambitious aviation and space programmes.