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Bearing Spotlight: Cam Follower Roller Bearings

Cam follower roller bearings – often called track followers – are specialty roller bearings designed to follow tracks or cams, and are used across and in a wide range of linear motion systems.

Compact bearings with high-rigidity shafts and a built-in needle bearing, cam followers are most suitable as a guide roller for cam mechanisms and linear motion of automated machines and dedicated machines. They are often used on conveyors, process transfer lines, such as those used in industries including food and beverage, plastics and glass. AST cam followers are also popular for defense and aircraft applications, where maintainability and system reliability are important design considerations.

Cam followers are members of the roller bearing family and share many similarities to their cousins, but also include are a number of different traits. Standard ball and roller bearings are designed to be pressed into a rigid housing, which provides circumferential support. This prevents the outer race from deforming, so the race cross-section is relatively thin. In cam followers, the outer race is loaded at a single point, so it needs a thicker cross-section to reduce deformation. However, in order to facilitate this, the roller diameter must be decreased, which also decreases the dynamic bearing capacity.

To smoothly and evenly distribute the loads, cam followers usually are designed with a full complement of rolling elements. There is more than one type of configuration for cam followers, but the most distinctive characteristic is how the cam follower is mounted to its counterpart.

A stud type cam follower is usually has a standard sized stud, but heavier studs are available to handle increased static loads. This is as opposed to “yoke type” cam follower which has a hole through the middle and is usually used in applications where minimal deflection is necessary.

AST has 56 different cam follower roller bearings in its online catalog.  They come in the following series with and without seals, also in inch and metric dimensions:

  • CF Series
  • KR Series
  • KRV Series
  • NUKR Series
  • PWKR Series

To see AST’s full listings for cam follower bearings, check out our catalogue (complete with free, downloadable 3D CAD bearings) by clicking here.

If you need assistance with selecting a cam follower (or any bearing) product, our team of bearing experts provide engineering consulting and design, contact us here to get in touch with them.