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Spherical roller bearings consist of an outer ring with a spherical raceway, inner ring with a dual-raceway, one or two cages, and a set of spherical rollers. Spherical roller bearings have self-alignment capabilities which allow for shaft and housing misalignment. This bearing type can accommodate heavy radial loads, axial loads from both directions, and even vibration.

Spherical roller bearings are designed to accommodate for misalignment between the inner and outer ring, or shaft and housing, without a reduction in performance. Under normal load and operating conditions (C/P>10), and a constant misalignment, the allowable angle of misalignment can be found in the following table. The full application of the reference angles depends on the design of the bearing arrangement and seal type.

In some cases, the misalignment error is variable, such as:

Vibrating screens cause unbalanced rotation, so the angle of shaft deflection is also rotating. In paper machining, the drum compensates for deflection while the stationary shaft is curved.

In these conditions, the bearing will generate additional sliding forces. Considering heat generation from friction, the misalignment error should be less than 1 degree.

A sealed spherical roller bearing only allows for less than 0.5 degrees of misalignment error. Below this value, the seals will not be damaged.
Due to different applications, spherical roller bearings are divided into four types: MB, MA, CC, and CA.