wherein spacers (each comprising a cage and auxiliary needle rollers),
supported / "trapped" between neighbor cylindrical rollers,
prevent the cylindrical rollers from comming into contact with each other.
The auxiliary needle rollers 5 abut and roll on their neighbor cylindrical rollers 4.
When a cylindrical roller 4 approaches its neighbor cylindrical roller, the inbetween auxiliary needle rollers 5, which are disposed at opposite sides of a plane defined by the axes X, X' of the cylindrical rollers, are pushed away from each other; but the cage 6, which is not contacting its neighbor cylindrical rollers 4, keeps the auxiliary needle rollers 5 at a specific distance, preventing the neighbor cylindrical rollers 4 from coming into contact with each other.
The smaller the center-to-center distance of the two auxiliary needle rollers 5 relative to the center-to-center distance of their neighbor cylindrical rollers 4, the smaller the part of the force applied by the neighbor cylindrical rollers onto the auxiliary needle rollers that loads the cage 6, and the smaller the resulting sliding friction.
The same are applicable without auxiliary needle rollers:
The spacer 8 may seem like a wedge between two neighbor rollers; but the two neighbor rollers 4 rotate at the same direction (they both roll on the same raceway), which means the linear speeds of the two rollers 4 at their contact with the spacer 8 (at the two sides of the spacer) are opposite, which means that the spacer is receiving not a combined force that would push it along the radial direction, but a torque (pair of forces) that tends to rotate the spacer about its center.
The difference from a conventional cage is that in the PatRoller architecture the cage is distributed along the pairs of neighbor cylindrical rollers. The spacers neither need to extend outside the cylindrical rollers, nor reduce the working length of the cylindrical rollers.
The same are applicable with one only auxiliary needle roller at the middle of the spacer:
In this case, the spacer needs to abut / slide on its neighbor cylindrical rollers in order to keep the auxiliary needle roller at the right position between them.
Case with hollow auxiliary rollers and wire frames:
Each subcage (6) with its auxiliary balls (5) comprise a spacer.
Each spacer is supported / trapped between two neighbor balls. The auxiliary balls roll on the "working" balls; the subcage (6), which is not contacting the working balls (4), limits the distance between the auxiliary balls (5), preventing the further approach of the working balls.
Along with the reduced friction, the PatRoller architecture enables new design possibilities like extended side ribs, more robust external bearing ring, protected internals, easy sealing, compactness, increased load carrying capacity:
The conventional "full complement" rolling bearings have the largest possible number of rolling elements, which gives them top load carrying capacity. However, due to their kinematic conditions they cannot achieve the high speeds that are possible when a cage prevents the contact between the rolling elements.
With the PatRoller architecture, a rolling bearing having almost zero distance between neighbor "working" elements combines the top load carrying capacity of the "full complement" conventional design with the high speeds of the "cage" conventional design.
The same internals (balls, spacers) can be used for axial (thrust) ball bearings:
Substituting the conventional cage of a ball bearing:
a different PatRoller ball bearing architecture results:
Each spacer has cuts / slots giving, among others, a small elasticity required for the assembly of the "last" spacer.
The elasticity of the spacers is advantageous during operation, too.
The narrowing at the middle of each spacer prevents its contact with the inner raceway.
Without a conventional cage extending at the sides of the balls, bigger balls can be used, enabling higher load carrying capacity, higher speed limit, etc.
In case the entire ball bearing undergoes severe accelerations, any elasticity of the spacers may be undesirable:
The "master spacer" (above animation) makes the assembly / disassembly more than easy.
Spacers can be combined with auxiliary balls (an auxiliary ball rolls on its neighbor working balls, the spacer keeps the center of the auxiliary ball near the line connecting the centers of the neighbor working balls):
With the substitution of the big, heavy and "not well supported" cage of a conventional rolling bearing (cylindrical roller bearing, ball bearing, axial ball bearing, tapered roller bearing) by small, lightweight and "well and independently supported" (on their neighbor rolling elements) spacers, the rolling bearing can undergo higher linear and angular accelerations.