Rolling bearing fits

Rolling bearings are located on the shaft and in the housing in a radial, axial and tangential direction in accordance with their function. Radial and tangential location is normally achieved by force locking, i.e. by tight fits on the bearing rings. Axial location of the bearings is generally by geometrical locking.

Criteria for selection of fits

The following must be taken into consideration in the selection of fits:

  • The bearing rings must be well supported on their circumference in order to allow full utilisation of the load carrying capacity of the bearing
  • The rings must not creep on their mating parts, otherwise the seats will be damaged
  • One ring of the non-locating bearing must adapt to changes in the length of the shaft and housing and must therefore be capable of axial displacement
  • The bearings must be easy to fit and dismantle.

Good support of the bearing rings on their circumference requires rigid seating. The requirement that rings must not creep on their mating parts also requires rigid seating. If non-separable bearings must be fitted and dismantled, a tight fit can only be achieved for one bearing ring.

In cylindrical roller bearings N, NU and needle roller bearings, both rings can have tight fits, since the length compensation takes place within the bearing and since the rings can be fitted separately.

With tight fits and a temperature differential between the inner and outer ring, the radial internal clearance of the bearing is reduced. This must be taken into consideration when selecting the internal clearance.

If materials other than cast iron or steel are used for the adjacent construction, the modulus of elasticity and the differing coefficients of thermal expansion of the materials must also be be taken into consideration to achieve rigid seating.

For aluminium housings, thin-walled housings and hollow shafts, a closer fit should be selected if necessary in order to achieve the same force locking as with cast iron, steel or solid shafts.

Higher loads, especially shocks, require a fit with larger interference and narrower geometrical tolerances.

Seats for axial bearings

Axial bearings, which support axial loads only, must not be guided radially (with the exception of axial cylindrical roller bearings which have a degree of freedom in the radial direction due to flat raceways). In the case of groove-shaped raceways this is not present and must be achieved by a loose seat for the stationary washer. A rigid seat is normally selected for the rotating washer.

Where axial bearings also support radial forces, such as in axial spherical roller bearings, fits should be selected in the same way as for radial bearings.

The contact surfaces of the mating parts must be perpendicular to the axis of rotation (axial runout tolerance to IT5 or better), in order to ensure uniform load distribution over all the rolling elements.


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