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In simple terms, bearings are just devices that make it possible for objects to roll and move. They achieve this by reducing the amount of friction between the moving object and the surface that it moves on. The main thinking behind bearings is that they allow objects move more freely and easily if they roll than if they slide. Take the wheels on a bicycle as an example. They make it possible for the bicycle to move across a surface more quickly and efficiently than it would if it used a sliding motion. This essentially enables the wheel of the bicycle to move in a linear and rotational way.

The design and structure of a bearing is relatively basic and simple to understand because it consists of a ball that is designed to transport a radial or thrust load or even both of them. A radial load is seen in a pulley system while a spinning bar stool is a thrust load. A combination of the two can be seen in a car wheel, when it is moving in a straight line it is carrying a radial load but when the car turns a corner the tyres then carry a thrust load.

At Bolton Engineering Products we offer a huge range of bearings that are designed for your particular needs. A ball bearing is common and a more simple form of bearing but they do have a limit when it comes to thrust and radial loads and if they carry too much weight then they can become deformed.

To overcome this issue, the weight in which the bearing can hold can be increased through using more balls and assembling them into a cage in order to form a four-point contact ball bearing. Linear bearings incorporate multiple ball bearings but they offer improved movement in one direction as a result of lower friction.

Shaped like cylinders, roller bearings have a larger surface area which means that weight is distributed evenly making it possible to move a larger weight, however, they can only carry radial loads. Similar to roller bearings, needle roller bearings are smaller in diameter and they are often used where there is a smaller amount of space. To handle heavier weights, needle roller and cage assemblies are available that are self-contained and simple to mount.

Designed to carry thrust loads, thrust bearings can consist of either balls for lighter weights or rollers for heavier weights. Ball thrust bearings are often seen in a bar stool while a roller thrust bearing is often used in vehicle transmissions for gear support.