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How do crossed roller bearings work?

09-26, 2023 / in News / by PRS

Crossed roller bearings, also known as crossed roller slide bearings or simply crossed rollers, are a type of precision rolling-element bearing commonly used in applications where high rotational accuracy and rigidity are essential. These bearings work by utilizing cylindrical rollers arranged in a crossed pattern between inner and outer rings.

The basic overview of how crossed roller bearings work

Roller Arrangement: Crossed roller bearings feature two sets of cylindrical rollers that are arranged at right angles to each other. This arrangement resembles a cross or "X" shape, which gives the bearing its name.

Inner and Outer Rings: Crossed roller bearings consist of two rings: an inner ring (or inner race) and an outer ring (or outer race). The inner ring is fixed in position, while the outer ring is free to rotate.

Roller Guidance: The crossed roller arrangement allows the rollers to contact the inner and outer rings at multiple points simultaneously. This point contact design provides exceptional load-carrying capacity and rigidity while minimizing friction.

crossed roller bearings

Preloaded: Crossed roller bearings are often preloaded during assembly. Preloading means that the bearings are intentionally slightly compressed or tensioned to eliminate internal clearance. This preload ensures that there is no play or backlash in the bearing system, which is crucial for applications requiring high precision.

Axial and Radial Loads: Crossed roller bearings can support both axial (thrust) and radial (rotational) loads. The arrangement of rollers at right angles allows them to handle these loads independently or simultaneously, making them suitable for applications where combined loads are present.

High Precision: Because of their point contact design and preload, crossed roller bearings offer extremely high rotational accuracy and minimal deflection under load. This precision is essential in applications such as machine tools, robotics, and optical instruments.

Low Friction: Despite their high load capacity, crossed roller bearings generally have low friction due to the point contact between rollers and rings. This low friction contributes to the efficiency of the bearing and reduces heat generation.

Lubrication: Proper lubrication is essential to reduce wear and maintain the smooth operation of crossed roller bearings. Lubricants help minimize friction and prevent premature wear.

crossed roller bearings

Applications of Crossed Roller Bearings

  • Machine tools, such as CNC machining centers and milling machines.
  • Robotic arms and manipulators.
  • Optical instruments like telescopes and camera mounts.
  • Medical equipment, including CT scanners and X-ray machines.
  • Semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
  • Radar and satellite tracking systems.
  • Telescope mounts and astronomical equipment.

In summary, crossed roller bearings are designed to provide exceptional precision and rigidity while accommodating both axial and radial loads. Their unique point contact design and preload make them ideal for applications where high accuracy and minimal deflection are critical.

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