Barrel Bearing article

Barrel Bearings: Types, Applications, and Leading Manufacturers

by Kevin Sweeney
14 January, 2024
7 min read

FAG Barrel roller bearings are Single Row Spherical Roller Bearings. The single row differentiates these bearings from the double row Spherical Roller bearings series.

Barrel roller bearings are single-row, self-aligning roller bearings. They are made from a solid outer ring with a concave raceway and will have solid inner rings with two ribs. This type of bearing is available with a cylindrical or tapered bore. Barrel Roller bearings are available with cages separating the rollers. The bearings are manufactured to not be dismantled.

Barrel roller bearings are particularly suitable where high radial shock type loads occur and misalignments must be compensated. Barrel roller bearings have a low axial load-carrying capacity.

FAG Single Row spherical Barrel roller bearing
Fig. 1 FAG Single Row spherical Barrel roller bearing.

The reason Barrel roller bearings are suitable for compensating angular misalignments is because the design allows for a sort of skewing between the outer and inner ring. Under normal operating conditions with a rotating inner ring, barrel roller bearings can swivel up to 4° from their central position. The magnitude of alignment and angular defects may only be so large when the bearings are mounted that the contact surfaces of the rolling elements under load still lie within the width of the raceway.  The extent to which this value can be used for skewing between the inner and outer ring is, however, essentially dependent on the design of the bearing arrangement.

Due to the line contact typical of rollers, Barrel Roller bearings can support very high radial loads, even if shock type loads are present. In contrast, the axial load carrying capacity is low.

Types of Barrel Bearings

FAG Barrel Bearings

They are offered in 200 and 300 series versions with MB=Brass Cages or standard from stock with TVP denoting Plastic Cages. 

FAG Barrel bearing 20211-TVP-C3
Fig. 2 FAG Barrel bearing 20211-TVP-C3

Pacific International Bearing stocks the full range of FAG Barrel Bearings which can be purchased by going to https://pibsales.com/.

FAG starts with 20204-TVP with dimensions of 20x47x14mm and continues with 20205, 20206, 20207, 20208, 20209, 20210, and so on through 20320-K-MB with dimensions of 160x290x48mm. The entire product range for the 20200 series and 20300 series are also available in C3 and C4 fits.

For example, FAG 20211-TVP-C3 describes FAG barrel bearing 20211 with dimensions of 55x100x21mm with a TVP plastic cage and a C3 clearance.

Barrel Bearings with Tapered Bore (K)

Barrel bearings with a tapered bore, such as those in the 20204 and 20304 series, are engineered for precise mounting and alignment on shafts. These bearings are particularly suitable for direct mounting onto tapered shafts or use with adapter sleeves on cylindrical shafts. The tapered bore provides a tighter fit, enhancing the bearing’s grip on the shaft, which is crucial for applications that demand high precision and high-speed rotational accuracy.

The ‘K’ signifies a tapered bore usually following the bearing part number as in 20224-K-MB with dimensions of 120x215x40mm. These FAG barrel bearings are specifically designed for applications where precision alignment is crucial.

Complete bearing mounting kits comprising the bearing of basic design, slotted adapter sleeve, tab washer, and locknut, are also available for use in the location of barrel roller bearings with a tapered bore on a cylindrical shaft journal (series 202..-K + H, 203..-K + H). Adapter sleeves allow bearings to be located on smooth and stepped shafts. The adapter sleeves must also be stated when placing the order. Contact Pacific International Bearing for help in ordering.

Leading Manufacturers of Barrel Bearings

FAG uses the term Barrel to describe what SKF’s terminology for the same series bearing is SRV or Single Row Spherical Roller bearing having features the same as FAG. SKF Single row spherical roller bearings can accommodate heavy loads in both directions. SKF SRV barrel bearings are self-aligning and accommodate misalignment and shaft deflections, with virtually no increase in friction or temperature. So both FAG Barrel Bearings and SKF’s SRV bearings accommodate misalignment, have High load carrying capacity, Low friction, long service life, and good wear resistance.

Manufacturing Process. Companies like SKF and FAG manufacture barrel bearings employing similar production techniques. Both companies develop bearings using precision forging and machining. The initial step is forging high-grade steel alloys, which are then machined to precise dimensions. Advanced heat treatment techniques are employed to enhance the hardness and durability of the bearings. SKF and FAG utilize automated CNC machinery for consistent and precise machining of components. High-Quality manufacturers like FAG and SKF focus heavily on the accuracy of the raceway profiles and the quality of the rolling elements. Both companies ensure the bearings undergo a stringent quality inspection process to ensure they meet the highest standards before they go into the hands of the customer.

Materials. Both FAG and SKF commonly use high-purity chrome steel, known for its excellent wear resistance and strength. For specific applications, they may use stainless steel or other alloy steels with particular properties like corrosion resistance.

Part Numbers and Features. A typical SKF barrel bearing will be prefaced with SRV meaning Single Row Spherical for example the SRV-20218MB is indicative of its series (20200) and size (218). MB is designated at the end of the part number to mean Machined Brass cage. It also could have C-3 or C-4 if the customer needed a special clearance.

Applications for Barrel spherical bearings may include some of the following:

  • Mobile cranes – cable sheave bearing supports
  • Wheel loaders – lifting frames
  • Construction machinery – pivot joints
  • Vibrating rollers – eccentric shaft bearings
  • Mining trucks – wheel bearings
  • Special construction machinery – hose reels

Visit this link to FAG engineering data regarding Barrel bearings: https://medias.schaeffler.us/en/barrel-roller-bearings


Barrel bearings or SRV ( Single Row Spherical bearings) are specified in numerous heavy-duty applications. Due to the single row versus two rows in the standard spherical roller bearing this particular design offers a smaller narrower envelope with a lot of capacity and could be a big consideration for specifying FAG single row barrel bearings. Pacific International Bearing offers through its select manufacturers unparalleled versatility and reliability. Understanding the types, applications, and leading manufacturers is crucial for selecting the right bearing for your needs. To order or obtain help in selecting Single Row Spherical bearings aka Barrel Bearings you can contact us at [email protected] . Please visit www.pibsales.com to place an order online.

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Written by

Kevin Sweeney

Founder and CEO at Pacific International Bearing Sales Inc (PIB)
Education: BS Business and Economics California State University Hayward Ca
CBS (Certified Bearing Specialist)

My role with Pacific International Bearings (PIB) is currently CEO. Since 1976, I have been deeply involved in the bearing industry, working in manufacturing sales at NTN Bearing and subsequently in Bearing Distribution. Before establishing PIB in 1990, I gathered valuable experience in bearing manufacturing and distribution. The last 45 + years in the bearing industry have been both rewarding and challenging, assisting customers across a large number of diverse bearing applications.
Outside of the bearing industry, my interests are family, woodworking, motorcycling, cars, gardening, and golf.
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