The way angular contact bearings are designed and manufactured directly influences the precision at which they operate.
In this article, we’ll go through the main features that make angular contact bearings unique and a great choice for machines that need to operate with precision.
Higher Loads & Faster Speeds
The shoulder design of the outer raceway is the first noticeable difference you’ll see in an angular contact bearing. It creates two intersecting lines, one that’s formed at the point of contact between the ball and the two raceways and the other line that’s formed from the perpendicular plane to the bearing axis.
The angle of these two intersecting lines forms the contact angle of the bearing. Standard angles are usually 15° and 25° (compared to 8° on radial bearings).
The contact angle allows the bearing to support higher loads (weight) and faster speeds. Typically, the 15° contact angle supports faster speeds than the 25° contact angle
Components & Material
Three main parts form the angular contact bearing. We list each part below along with the standard material we use when manufacturing. Please note other material options are available. Contact us today if you need a different material for your precision bearing.
One: Bearing Rings (aka Bearing Races)
Our bearing rings are manufactured with 52100 vacuum degassed chrome steel (100Cr6) and are heat stabilized for temperatures up to 302°F (150°C).
An additional heat treatment can be performed for working temperatures up to 572°F (300°C). For working temperatures above 572°F (300°C), we manufacture the rings with high temperature tool steel.
Two: Bearing Cage
A standard TA cage made from phenolic resin with fine mesh cotton webbing allows operating temperatures of 248°F (120°C). PEEK with Carbon Fiber cages are also available on request.
Three: Ball Bearing Material
There are two common options for precision ball bearing material:
- 52100 vacuum degassed chrome steel (100Cr6), commonly referred to as bearing steel
- Ceramic, Silicon Nitride (Si3N4) which can operate at faster speeds and has lower rolling friction. Read all about the benefits of ceramic ball material.
Another very important factor to understand about angular contact bearings, is the bearing preload.
There are two different types of preload: Spring preload & Rigid preload.
Spring preload works well at high speeds and can withstand temperature changes in the machine part. In order to be effective, the spring has to be arranged in the same direction as the external axial load.
Example one, below, shows a spindle where bearing 1 has a fixed location and bearing 2 has an outer ring that’s free to move axially.
The spring force acts on the outer ring of bearing 2 and results in a permanent preload of both bearings almost independent of speed and temperature factors. Be sure to use a slip fit tolerance on the housing that is around the bearing.
Lubricating your preloaded bearings with oil will allow you to operate at full maximum speed.
Rigid preload works well at lower speeds and has higher axial/radial rigidity than a spring preload.
Example two below shows both paired and mounted bearings with a rigid preload in the axial direction. Bearings arranged like this have a defined rigid preload.
To avoid premature bearing failure, we suggest changing the preload under different operating conditions. Some conditions to consider include: RPM, temperature, load and more.
Knowing the differences between angular contact bearings and radial bearings is just one piece of information.
But really understanding how angular contact bearings work and the main features that set them apart from other bearings, will help you decide if they’re the right component for your high precision application.
Why Buy From GMN Bearing USA?
The success of our business comes from three main pillars of excellence:
- Rapid Response: 99% of inquiries are responded to within one business day and most orders ship out the same day (from Houston, Texas).
- Expert-Level Support: Our onsite mechanical engineers and technical support specialists provide answers to your most difficult questions.
- Quality 360°: Our internal quality control process is one of the highest in the industry. We make sure GMN is synonymous with quality.
Need help finding the right product for your application? Contact us today.