Tag Archive: ball bearings

  1. Ball Bearings: Cost-Effective Quality

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    Throughout the years, ball and roller bearings have seen significant reductions in price while quality has improved. Several factors have played a role in this, but production process changes and material quality improvements have most significantly changed the face of the industry.

    Higher Quality, Lower Prices

    Ball Thrust Ball Bearing.pngPrior to universal quality standards, the production process for ball bearings was frequently subpar; surface defects would occur due to issues in the steelmaking and rolling processes. Steel would often contain high amounts of non-metallic inclusions, disrupting the structure of the steel. Rolling defects were caused by various circumstances, such as poor-quality input billets. Inspection processes were often not sufficiently thorough. But since the introduction of industry-wide regulations and improved quality assurance processes, the ball bearing production process has seen major improvements, and products are of much higher quality.

    The advent of universal bearing grades and quality standards has also played a major role in improving the overall value of bearing products. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, for instance, before the introduction of standard specifications and guidelines, manufacturers employed their own testing procedures and quality standards. With each mill following its own guidelines, product uniformity was hard to achieve and quality varied greatly.

    Today, two main standards serve as the benchmark for ball bearing quality; steel balls are manufactured to the precision requirements set forth by ANSI/ABMA Standard 10A, while ceramic balls adhere to standard ASTM F2094. Manufactured under these standards, balls have to meet specified limits for ball diameter, roughness, and spherical form.

    With more uniform quality across the industry, purchasing and procuring agents can now easily obtain reliable, quality ball bearings at competitive, cost-efficient prices. Cheap ball bearings no longer mean poor-quality ball bearings.

    Quality Control at Action Bearing

    At Action Bearing, we take pride in supplying top-quality ball bearings for a wide range of industries, and we only carry products that adhere to strict industry guidelines. The bearing manufacturers we partner with ensure optimal product quality through rigorous physical testing, which is repeated with every change in design, material, or finish.

    For over 50 years, we’ve been providing OEM and maintenance markets worldwide with the highest quality ball and roller bearings available. To learn more about our selection of ball bearings, or to discuss the advantages of using ball bearings in your next project, contact the team today.

  2. Thin Section and Miniature Precision Bearings in Robotics

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    Bearing Basics

    With a constant cross section, thin section bearings allow for significant space savings and overall system weight reduction — ideal advantages when designing sophisticated and critical-application products. The cross section, which is usually square, remains constant even in bearings with large bore diameters. Often used when space limitations or specific design configurations prevent the use of conventional bearings, thin section bearings allow for versatility in many applications and come in a range of contact angle designs, including radial contact, angular contact, and four-point contact.


  3. Levels of Precision – Choose Wisely: How Fast Your Bearings Need To Go

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    A rolling bearing is composed of: two rings – known as the inner and outer race – separated by a set of rolling elements, which are most often kept at a relative distance by a cage. At its most basic level a rolling bearing decreases rotational friction and supports radial and axial loads. Each element is manufactured to a certain tolerance, and the sum of the geometrical and form tolerances determines, loosely speaking, the level of performance of the bearing – rating the load it can carry axially and/or radially, the limiting speed, noise, etc.


    For a long time, only bearings with wide tolerances could be mass produced, nowadays, however, technology has advanced dramatically and parts can be manufactured with very tight tolerances, to produce extremely high performing bearings routinely.

    So how do I know if a bearing has a wide tolerance or a tight tolerance?

    The Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC) created a rating system that has become the industry standard for ball and roller bearing tolerances. ABEC includes five tolerances classes: 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 with 1 being the widest and 9 the tightest. Thus, bearings with a higher ABEC rating have tighter tolerances, and that means better precision, higher efficiency, and the potential to accommodate applications requiring high speeds.

    It is important to note that a bearing in a higher ABEC class does not imply that the bearing can carry a higher load, rather it can carry the same load as an analogous bearing with a lower rating but at higher speed, thanks to its more controlled runout and smaller endplay. ISO has an equivalent standard (ISO 492) for bearing tolerances that corresponds to the ABEC ratings as follows: normal class 6x (tightest), 6, 5, 4, and 2.

    The ABEC tolerance classifications specify both tolerances of size and form for the individual inner and outer rings. The critical features of the rings include the bore (or inner diameter of the inner ring), the outer diameter of the outer ring, the ring widths, and the raceways of each ring. Tolerances of form include roundness, taper, runout, and parallelism.

    And how do I know if I need an ABEC 7 bearing or an ABEC 3 for my application?

    In general a bearing is a very precise mechanism, and the design specifications are the main driver for choosing one. In fact, selecting a bearing with a tolerance too loose for the application can impact the maximum amount of torque that it can withstand or cause an imbalance of the load at high speed, and ultimately impact its life span. Conversely, a bearing with a tolerance that is too high for the application will probably perform better, but will also cost significantly more.

    The vast majority (more than 98%) of ball bearings sold every year belong to the ABEC 1-3 classes –  with tolerances that are down to the 4th decimal place! – and can satisfy the vast majority of applications. Bearings in higher classes, called high/super/super high/ultra-precision (falling into ABEC 5,7,9 classes), have much tighter tolerances, that require more precise machining and longer production times. These bearings are available in more limited supply and have prices 4-5 times higher than ABEC 1-3 bearings.

    Specifically, thanks to its smaller runout and axial play, an ABEC 7 bearing will perform better and last longer in high speed applications, than an ABEC 3 rated bearing. So, if you need a super precise, long-lasting bearing, ABEC 7 is probably the bearing for you. Applications for highly rated ABEC bearings include Machine Tools, Aerospace, Medical devices and more.

    Conversely, if your application doesn’t require extremely high tolerances, an ABEC 1-3 bearing is probably the better choice. For example, ABEC 1-3 rated bearings are used in automotive, electric motors, gear boxes, and most industrial applications.

    In ultimate analysis, when choosing a bearing based on its ABEC rating, always keep in mind the scope, carefully consider your design specifications (how fast is this going to go?!), while keeping in mind the desired lifespan. Weigh these considerations against the cost/performance trade-offs of the standard and select the bearing that is best suited for your application.

    At Action Bearing, we know that choosing the right bearing is essential to your success. We have years of experience providing high quality bearings to many different Industries, and our technical team is here to help you choose the right bearings for your application. In addition, our Catalog and Technical Toolbox webpages include information that can help accelerate your decision-making process.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact us today; we’re happy to help you select the most appropriate bearing for your needs.

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