For decades, the Schaeffler Group's INA brand has stood for creative application solutions, great engineering and manufacturing expertise and a strong customer focus. Thinking outside the box, that is, taking new paths to develop ideas and think beyond barriers, is just as important now as it was when the company was first established.
Dr. Georg Schaeffler, who founded the company with his brother Wilhelm in 1946, demonstrated what it means to think outside the box as early as 1949. At this point, his development of the needle roller and cage assembly – a pioneering innovation – helped the needle roller bearing achieve an industrial breakthrough. Georg Schaeffler’s inventive spirit and his will to succeed have become a permanent part of corporate culture in more than 35 plants worldwide.
Needle bearings use a roller style rolling element to reduce friction of a rotating surface. Needle Bearings have a high load carrying capacity with a very small cross section height. They are available with or without an inner ring. The needle rollers are guided parallel to the axis using a cage retainer, thrust bearings can also be supplied with no retainer, which is referred to as a full complement of rollers.
Needle bearings have a larger surface area that is in contact with the bearing outer surfaces compared to ball bearings. Additionally there is less clearance, or the difference between the diameter of the shaft and the diameter of the bearing, so they are much more compact. The typical structure consists of an inner race (or sometimes merely a shaft), a needle cage which orients and contains the needle rollers, the needle rollers themselves, and an outer race.Needle bearings are heavily used in engine components such as rocker arm pivots, pumps, compressors, and transmissions.
A needle bearing is a type of bearing that features roller elements which are longer and thinner than traditional roller bearing elements. Due to its considerably smaller roller diameters, the needle bearing is ideally suited for applications where reduced overall bearing heights are required. Notwithstanding the small roller diameters, needle bearings have good load bearing capacities and are often used in large numbers in automotive engines and other high stress, precision applications. Needle bearings are available in a wide range of designs including caged or full compliment bearings and sealed or open bearings. There are also angular contact varieties of this bearing available which combine needle roller and ball bearing elements.
Roller bearings use sets or cylindrical roller elements instead of the more traditional balls. Needle roller bearings follow the basic design principles of a normal roller bearing with an inner and outer race which contain and orientate a set of roller elements between them. The inner race is pushed onto the shaft of the machine and the outer race is held captive in an end cap or outer frame. The rollers then offer low friction support for the shaft when it rotates. The main difference between conventional roller bearings and needle bearings is the roller diameter.