By Chris Wilson
Spherical roller bearings are a type of rolling-element bearing that is designed to withstand arduous operating conditions and environments. The main draw of these types of bearings is that they are self-aligning, which gives them the ability to accept shaft misalignment from shaft deflection, mounting, or other issues that can create excess friction and heat with other bearing styles. This makes spherical roller bearings a natural fit for vibrating equipment and other applications where misalignment is an ongoing issue.
Spherical roller bearings can accept shaft deviations and misalignment due to the curvature of the raceway and rolling element of the outer ring. These bearings are typically designed with two rows of barrel-shaped rollers that are inclined at opposite angles to the bearing axis. A guide ring can then be used to help keep these rollers in place.
These two rows of roller are designed to follow along separate raceways on the inner ring and a single spherical raceway of the outer ring, with the center of the outer raceway falling in line with the bearing’s axis. As these parts work in union with each other, spherical roller bearings can accept deviations while handling large radial loads at the same time. While spherical roller bearings are typically manufactured with straight bores, tapered bores can also be available depending on the bearing manufacturer.