Cam Follower Bearings and Their Benefits

Cams are a small component that many might not be aware of, but they may be found in dishwashers, automobiles, sprinklers, and many other applications and serve important functions. In general, their purpose is to transform rotary motion into linear motion, and there are many types that may be implemented. Despite their capabilities, cams themselves would be fairly useless if not for cam follower bearings.

With a cam follower, the cam is able to convert rotary motion. The cam follower bearing also provides to reduce the amount of sliding friction and wear that is enacted upon the cam during operation, thus extending its service life, reliability, and performance. If the application in question is linear-motion, cam followers may be used to aid lateral or vertical travel. There are various types of cam follower bearings that are commonly used, and these include standard stud, heavy stud, yoke, and needle roller cam followers.

The standard stud cam follower bearing is one that allows for easy mounting due to the stud being threaded. This type of cam follower is most optimal for moderate loads, and they may feature a seal for assembly. When using standard stud cam followers for applications in which misalignment is a concern, cam followers with crowned outer rings are most recommended.

If there is an application in which high amounts of loading and shock are present, then the heavy stud cam follower bearing type can be a much better fit. The heavy stud type provides for additional strength to undertake increased stressors while having minimal deflection, as well as may also feature crowned outer rings to aid in alignment.

While standard and heavy stud cam follower bearings may be suitable for many applications, others may present loading conditions that stud type cam followers are not capable of withstanding. In these cases, yoke type cam followers and yoke bearings are used. Yoke cam followers are capable of clevis mounting, providing for support on both sides of the follower, as well as allow for a high strength pin to be used. Similar to the standard and heavy stud cam follower, the yoke cam follower type may have a crowned outer ring for mounting and can be used alongside a seal for assembly.

Needle rolling bearings and needle roller cam followers are those that feature a heavy outer ring cross section. These types of cam followers are useful for applications in which there is a need for great dynamic and static load carrying abilities. Needle roller cam followers are also useful for anti-friction applications and are quite compact in design. Typical applications that needle roller bearings serve include track rollers, linear motion systems, and cam followers.

Across all types, finding the right choice for your needs can be based on a few factors. Some considerations that should be made before purchasing cam followers and different types of bearing components are the loads, speeds, and life requirements that are needed for a given application or process. Using information provided by manufacturers, bearing life and speeds typically can be found fairly easily. As each cam follower excels under different stressors and loads, ensuring that the right one is chosen should be based on the environment they will be placed under. Misalignment also proves to be a factor in the reliability and performance of the cam follower, and thus should be considered as well.


January 6, 2021

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