There are a lot of things that people say make the world go ‘round. However, bearings are what makes things go around the world. In fact, the ball bearing industry generated over $19 billion in 2019. Experts forecast the bearing industry will generate nearly $22 billion by the year 2027.
There’s an increasing global demand for ball and roller bearings. Companies building machine tools and automobiles are the biggest drivers of the demand for these vital bearings.
Ball bearings are suited for a growing range of applications. With the increasing adoption of precision engineering in manufacturing, they’re playing an important role in a wide range of markets.There are a few companies which stand out in the bearing manufacturing space. Here’s what you need to know.
Typically, manufacturers make ball bearings using high-chromium steel, and may also use materials such as ceramic or plastic in the production of ball bearings.
Usually, manufacturers make the rings for ball bearings using ground, hardened steel for high-quality components. However, they might use unground, hardened steel for low precision applications. The deep groove ball bearing is a common component on the market. You may also hear someone call it a Conrad bearing.
Manufacturers fill standard deep groove ball bearings with chromium-steel balls and position the inner ring to one side of the bearing assembly. After placing the balls between the rings, they’ll center the rings, space out the balls, Then install the steel carrier, or cage. Next, manufacturers will rivet the cage into place.
For a Max Type alternative, manufacturers load the balls in a bearing through a filler notch. Using this method, they’ll insert balls up to the full capacity of the bearing.
Companies typically produce four standard series of ball bearings. These series include:
• 6800 (extra-extra-light)
• 6900 (extra-light)
• 6200 (light)
• 6300 (medium)
Ball bearings within these series are typically interchangeable among manufacturers.
The American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA) establishes technical standards for the industry with insights from the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC).
The ABEC determines the tolerances and dimensions of ball bearings, or precision rating, based on the measured precision of a bearing.
For most applications, a ball bearing with an ABEC-1 rating is acceptable. However, other super-precise applications may require a bearing with an ABEC-7 or ABEC-9 rating. For example, you might use this kind of high precision ball bearing for a machine tool spindle.
ABEC also rates ball bearings lifespan based on revolutions. According to the committee, a bearing has reached end-of-life when 10% of a bearing shows signs of failure. You can see signs of failure by observing the balls or the raceways.
When a bearing has reached the end of its lifecycle, it can no longer reliably sustain a designated load. This characteristic is the basis for rating capacity among ball bearing manufacturers.
The top ball bearing manufacturers in the world generate billions of dollars each year. These manufacturers include:
1. Aisin Seiki (Japan) $35.84b
2. Schaeffler Group (Germany) $16.48b
3. JTEKT Corp. (Japan) $12.33b
4. SKF (Sweden) $9.56b
5. NSK (Japan) $9.34b
6. MinebeaMitsumi Inc. (Japan) $7.96b
7. NTN (Japan) $6.86b
8. THK (Japan) $3.34b
9. Timken (USA) $3.00b
These companies represent some of the most active ball bearing manufacturers in the space as of February 26, 2018 (foreign exchange rates were used to adjust values to U.S. dollars).
The top-grossing firm among bearing manufacturers is Aisin Seiki. The company generates approximately $36 billion each year.
Aisin Seiki mostly focuses on providing components for the automotive industry. These components might include bearings for parts such as drivetrains and transmission assemblies.
Next, the Schaeffler Group generates about $16.5 billion each year. The company’s headquarters is in Germany and they produce components for both automotive and industrial uses.
The JTEKT Corp. (KOYO) operates out of Japan. The bearing manufacturing company generates more than $12 billion every year. Primarily, JTEKT manufactures ball bearings and roller bearings. The company also produces a considerable number of mounted bearings.
SKF operates out of Sweden. The company generates approximately $9.5 billion each year.
Mostly, SKF produces ball, roller, plain and slewing bearings.
NSK generates approximately $9.5 billion in revenue each year operating eight facilities in Japan, with other facilities around the world. NSK produces ball and roller bearing components. The company also manufactures specialty bearings designed for use in intense conditions.
Now you’ve learned everything you need to know about bearing manufacturers. What you need now is a bearing manufacturer with a reputation for precision engineering.
The WD Bearing Group develops bearing solutions to meet unique challenges. We’re a technology-oriented company specializing in research and development, manufacturing, sales, and service of high-quality bearings.
A partnership with WD Bearing Group gives you access to our high-quality team composed of world-class manufacturing and management professionals.
We manufacture precision bearings and components meeting strict ISO 9001, ISO 14001, and TS/IATF 16949 quality control standards while maintaining our commitment to protect the environment.
Contact a WD Bearing Group representative today at 0510-8655 7067? or connect with us online to amplify your next production run to new heights.