Ball Bearing Selection Guides

A Guide to Bearing Selection

ball bearing guide

In the majority of applications, the use of a standard bearing is the most effective choice. A "standard bearing", in this case, refers to products in such common worldwide demand that large volumes are produced. This virtually guarantees continuity of supply while assuring pricing benefits for an O.E.M. user.

Factors To Consider

The advantages of integrating standard bearing parameters into the product design process cannot be overemphasized. Factors to consider in designing for this lower-cost alternative include:

  • Dimensional size
  • Material type
  • Lubrication
  • Enclosures
  • Cage style (retainer)
  • Manufacturability
  • Assembly and fits
  • Packaging
  • Quality requirements

Bearing Selection Process

Although designers vary in their particular approach to bearing selection, the following steps can be applied as a starting point for most design processes.

  • Establish operating, environmental and performance requirements such as load, speed, noise, etc
  • Select a bearing configuration to meet the above requirements. Some examples of configuration types are:
    1. Flanged or unflanged
    2. With or without a snap ring
    3. Full ball complement/variation in ball size and amount
  • Determine bearing envelope to accommodate shaft and housing requirements. This step has a critical effect on bearing cost. It is often more cost-effective to design the housing and shaft around a popular bearing size than conforming a bearing to an existing shaft or housing design.
  • Specify enclosures as necessary. Be careful not to make the common error of specifying a more expensive enclosure than the application's operating parameters demand
  • Specify the required cage type. For the majority of cases, the standard cage for a particular chassis size will be adequate
  • Specify the bearing noise rating required for the application. For most cases, our standard "No Code" noise rating will provide quieter operation than most other components in the system. For extremely noise-sensitive applications, a quieter noise rating can be specified
  • Determine the degree of precision needed to achieve the performance requirements (ABEC level) Do not over estimate what is truly necessary to achieve the desired performance
  • Calculate the radial play specification. The standard radial play specification for a chassis size will be adequate to handle normal press fits, moderate temperature differentials and common speeds
  • Develop lubrication requirements, including lubrication characteristics and the amount of lubricant needed. This is a critical step in assuring proper bearing performance and reliability in the application

Care should be taken throughout this process to consider both cost and performance. The key in designing for the lowest total cost is to involve the Sales and Application Engineering staff early in the selection process. Costs will be greatly impacted if envelope dimensions are not given consideration at the time of bearing selection. To insure your success, IBSCO offers an experienced Sales and Engineering staff to assist in the design and selection process.