Needle roller bearings have a relatively small diameter cylindrical movable element, the length of which is much larger than their diameter. Compared to other types of roller bearings, needle roller bearings have a small cross-sectional height and a significant load-bearing capacity as well as rigidity in relation to their volume. Also, since the inertia forces acting on them are limited, they are an ideal choice for vibration applications.

Needle roller bearings have a larger surface area in contact with the bearings so they can withstand higher loads. They are also thinner, thus requiring less distance between the shaft and the surrounding structures. Needle roller bearing is widely used in automotive components such as articulated joints, pumps, compressors and gearboxes. The steering axle of a rear-wheel drive vehicle typically has at least eight needle bearings (four at each U-link) and often more if the bearings are very long or traveling on steep slopes. Needle roller bearings are also suitable for compact and lightweight machine designs and serve as a pre-fabricated replacement for plain bearings.

Needle roller bearings use small cylindrical rollers called needle rollers to reduce friction between moving parts. Needle rollers are the bearing components of needle roller bearings. Depending on the bearing design, the bearing is located between two races, between the race and the shaft, or between the axle and the body. Most radial needle roller bearings are designed to support axially aligned forces in excess of 5% of the radial load. Those used in radial applications have rollers parallel to the shaft. Thrust bearings designed for axial loads include rollers with an axis perpendicular to the shaft and from which the axis is extended radially.

All needle bearings require some type of lubricant which helps dissipate heat and reduce friction. The amount of friction depends on the load carried, the type and size of the needle bearing, the bearing speed and the nature of the lubricant used. Needle roller bearing, especially those with outer rings made of high-strength steel, can also dampen shock and vibration. Needle roller bearings are designed to operate under minimal loads. Failure to meet this quota can damage the tracks due to low roller inertia. In addition, needle roller bearings are generally not suitable for static loads. Such loads can damage the roller elements.




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