There are usually two bearings involved in the rotating machine components of a mechanical system. Depending on several factors such as load, cost and necessary running accuracy, engineers use a few different types of bearing arrangements. One of these types is a “floating” bearing arrangement.
Two bearings support and locate a shaft axially and radially in relation to the housing, which is stationary. There is “fixed” side and a “floating” side. The fixed side controls the shaft axially. The floating side has more freedom of movement (floating) to help compensate for misalignment and thermal expansion or contraction.
Floating bearing arrangements are common with self-aligning ball bearings, deep groove ball bearings and spherical roller bearings.
For information on whether or not preloading is necessary in some bearing applications click here.