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TECHNICAL REPORT

Development of High-capacity Tapered Roller Bearing (KE2)


M. GOTOH

Extending the service life of rolling bearing is one of effective methods to achieve improved reliability, weight reduction and
downsizing. This paper introduces new tapered roller bearings with improved surface property realized by a newly developed
heat treatment process.
Key Words: rolling bearing, heat treatment, carburizing, carbide dispersion, fatigue life

1. Introduction
Longer life of rolling bearings is one of the effective means
to achieve not only longer life and improved reliability, but
also weight reduction and compactness for applied units.
Thus, extending the life of rolling bearings can be alternately
stated as increasing capacity.
The main cause of failures of rolling bearings (hereinafter
referred to as bearings) is flaking, and there are four typical
modes of flaking as shown in Fig. 1.
Under good lubricating conditions, the mode of flaking is
subsurface-initiated flaking, which initiates from internal
defects such as non-metallic inclusions etc. that exist just
beneath the rolling surface. When contaminants are contained
in the lubricant, however, dent-initiated flaking or surface
flaking initiated from the raceway surface occurs. Moreover,
bearing life declines, drastically in most cases, as compared
with good lubricating conditions.
For example, when bearings are used with other parts such
as gears in transmissions and differentials for automobiles or

industrial machines within the same lubrication system, hard


particle contaminants like wear debris is inevitable.
Consequently, countermeasures to improve life are very
important. To attain longer life for bearings in such
conditions, it is necessary to consider countermeasures for all
four flaking modes.
Based on the results that reduction of non-metallic
inclusions, which are the cause of flaking, is effective for
preventing subsurface-initiated flaking, and higher hardness of
rolling surface or optimized retained austenite is also effective
for other surface-initiated flaking, Koyo has developed longer
life bearings2), 3) (KE bearing).
Recently, for satisfying the needs for further increase in
bearing life, new longer life technology has been developed
based on the carbide dispersion strengthened effect by carbide
dispersion carburizing technique in addition to conventional
technology. This technology was applied to tapered roller
bearings (KE2 tapered roller bearing), the details of which
are described hereafter.

FLAKING IN CONTAMINATED OIL


FLAKING IN CLEAN OIL
Modes
FLAKING INITIATED FROM SURFACE
PEELING

MIXED FLAKING

FLAKING FROM DENT

FLAKING INITIATED
FROM SUB - SURFACE

Plastic deformation caused


by outside force or large and
hard particles

Material defect at maximum


shear stress

Appearance

Rolling
Element

Mechanism
Abrasive wear by small and
hard particles

Abrasive wear by small hard


particles, and plastic deformation
by large hard praticles

Fig. 1 Bearing flaking modes1)

Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.165E (2004)

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Development of High-capacity Tapered Roller Bearing (KE2)

2. Occurrence Process of Surface-initiated


Flaking and its Countermeasures

Test condition

Among the four types of flaking modes as shown in Fig. 1,


the first three types of flaking from peeling to dent-initiated
flaking are surface initiated flaking that causes drastic
deterioration in bearing life. In this paper, only the occurrence
process of peeling and dent-initiated flaking and its
countermeasures for longer life have been described, because
the mixed flaking is the mixture of these two types of flaking.

Load

Fa=12.6 kN

Speed

2 000 min1

Lubricant Turbin oil (VG68)


Debris

Amount : 0.12 wt%


Hardness: 830 HV
Size ave. : 27 um
Max.: 50 um

40

Peeling may occur when a lubricant is contaminated with


relatively small, hard particles and is considered to be similar
to abrasive wear. Effective measures for this type of wear are
to improve the surface hardness and increase the carbon
2)
contents in the material matrix . In order to verify the
effectiveness of these measures against peeling, case hardened
bearings were prepared with various surface hardness levels
and various carbon content in the material matrix under
several carburizing treatment conditions, including carbide
dispersion carburizing, and peeling life test was conducted
with the test equipment as shown in Fig. 2. Figure 3 shows
the test results.
It is noted that as the surface hardness and the carbon
content increase, the peeling life increases. In the figure, $
marks indicate carbide dispersion carburized bearings, # and
% marks indicate normal case-hardened bearings. The carbide
dispersion carburizing technique that provides high surface
hardness and high carbon content was verified to be effective
in increasing bearing life.
d
c
a

a , b : Test bearing
c
: Leaf spring
d
: Vibration pick-up

Fig. 2 Test equipment

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Fatigue L10 life, hour

2. 1 Occurrence Process of Peeling and its


Countermeasures for Longer Life
30

C%
0.80.9

20

10
C%
0.70.8
0
61

62
63
64
Surface hardness, HRC

65

Fig. 3 Effect of surface hardness and matrix C% on L10 life

2. 2 Occurrence Process of Dent-initiated Flaking


and its Countermeasures
When comparatively large, hard particles are mixed and
jammed into the bearings during operation, a dent is formed
on the raceway surface. Dent-initiated flaking occurs due to
the stress concentration generated on the ridged section at the
4)
edge of the dent . Hence, in order to improve the dent-initiated
bearing life, it is necessary to reduce the ridge-height as much
as possible when contaminants are jammed. Furthermore, it is
important that the ridge-height gradually decreases during the
bearing operation2), 3).
It is effective to enhance the hardness of rolling surface and
increase the amount of retained austenite in order to lower the
ridge-height of the edge when the dent was formed on the
rolling surface3). Figure 4 shows the ridge-height ratio (whose
ratio was assumed as 1 when the surface hardness is 62.5 HRC
and the retained austenite is 23%) when a Vickers indenter
was pressed with constant load to the bearing raceway with
various surface hardness and retained austenite level, and
several case-hardening conditions.
It can be seen from Fig. 4 that as the surface hardness and
the retained austenite increase, the ridge-height ratio becomes
smaller. In the figure, $ marks indicate the carbide dispersion
carburized bearings and it was confirmed that the carbide
dispersion carburizing technique providing high surface
hardness and a large amount of retained austenite was also an
effective measure even when the dent was formed.

Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.165E (2004)

Development of High-capacity Tapered Roller Bearing (KE2)

ridge-height
Thrust ball bearing
dent
1.2

Ridge-height ratio

Lubricant
1.1

hardness 62.5HRC
Specimen

Contact stress : 5.24GPa


Number of balls : 3pcs.
Lubricant
: Spindle oil #60
1
Speed
: 1 200 min

hardness 64.5HRC

0.9

(a)Thrust type rolling fatigue test equipment


0.8

10

20

30

Vickers indentations

40

Retained austenite, %

Fig. 4 Effect of surface hardness and retained austenite


on ridge-height ratio

Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.165E (2004)

Rolling track

(b)Specimen

Fig. 5 Test equipment and specimen


carbide

surface

amount of

area fraction

hardness

retained austenite

10%

65HRC

30%

less than 1%

65HRC

20%

Ridge height, lm

However, regarding the decrease of the ridge-height due to


repeated rolling cycles after formation of a dent, there is a test
result showing that with an increased amount of retained
austenite, the work hardening of the ridge-height section
becomes more apparent and the ridge-height will not decrease
3)
easily . In this respect, both carbide dispersion carburized
bearings and ordinary case-hardened bearings were tested
again.
Figure 5 shows the test equipment and a test specimen. The
test was conducted on carbide dispersion carburized bearings
(Specimen A) and ordinary case-hardened bearings (Specimen
B) using a thrust type rolling fatigue test equipment (a).
Vickers indentations of 490 N were marked like (b) on the
raceways of both specimens A and B, and the change of the
ridge height was measured continuously at predetermined
intervals when the steel balls of 3/8" diameter were repeatedly
rolled under loading condition. Figure 6 shows the properties
of the specimens and test results.
The ridge-height of both specimens decreased as the
number of stress cycles increased, but the amount of decrease
was more prominent in the specimen A where the amount of
retained austenite was larger. Thus, carbide dispersion
carburized bearings were confirmed to be superior. However,
these results indicate a tendency contrary to the test results
previously described. This can be attributed to the difference
in properties of the specimens A and B, i.e. with or without
carbide, which is considered to have affected the results. As
one of the possible causes, it is considered that the carbide
contributes to the stability of retained austenite, but this has
yet to be verified.

1
10

10

10

10

Number of loading cycles

Fig. 6 Change of ridge height under rolling cycle

3. Application of Carbide Dispersion


Carburizing Technique to Bearings
As described above, carbide dispersion carburizing
treatment is particularly advantageous in restraining surfaceinitiated flaking. However, it was also reported that
precipitated carbide caused drastic reduction of fatigue
strength 5). Moreover, it was also reported that the coarse
carbide generated during carbide dispersion carburizing
treatment had negative influence on the rolling fatigue life of
bearings 6). When applying to bearings, the microstructure
control technology to disperse the carbide minutely and

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Development of High-capacity Tapered Roller Bearing (KE2)

uniformly is needed. For this end, it is necessary to control the


atmosphere and heating/cooling precisely at the time of case
hardening treatment. Furthermore, it becomes important to
develop materials-related technology to make such controls
easy. High-cleanliness, high-density case hardened bearing
steel with the concept of avoiding high alloy component as
much as possible, has been developed in order to simplify the
microstructure control of carbide and to reduce the nonmetallic inclusions that is basically required for bearing steel.
As a result of the heat treatment technologies and material
development, the heat treatment microstructure suitable for
minute bearings as shown in Fig. 7 could be secured.

4. Life Performance of High Capacity Tapered


Roller Bearings
The life of the newly developed tapered roller bearings was
evaluated with the bearing life test equipment as shown in Fig. 9.
Figure 10 shows the test results in clean oil and Fig. 11 shows
the result in contaminated oil. Improvement of bearing life by
4 times in clean oil and 15 times in contaminated oil was
observed as compared with the conventional bearings.
a , b : Test bearing
c , d : Leaf spring
e
: Vibration pick-up

Fig. 9 Bearing life test equipment

Fig. 7 AbcMicrostructure of developed heat treatment

Figure 8 shows the concept of improvement of bearing life


by carbide dispersion carburizing treatment.
Improvement of rolling bearing service life
by material and heat treatment

High C
concentration

Dent resistance

High
surface hardness

High retained
austenite

High strength

Carbide
dispersion

Carbide dispersion carburizing

Fig. 8 Improvement of rolling bearing life


by carbide dispersion carburizing

For improving the flaking life of bearings, measures to


prevent all the flaking modes including surface flaking, dentinitiated flaking and subsurface-initiated flaking, etc. must be
taken. From a material standpoint, properties such as wear
resistance, dent resistance, high strength, decrease and
miniaturization of non-metallic inclusions, etc. must be
considered. With the adoption of carbide dispersion
carburizing, the resulting effects on high carbon concentration,
high surface hardness, high retained austenite and carbon
precipitation will achieve increased wear resistance, increased
dent resistance and higher strength. By combining this with
high cleanliness material, longer life bearings free from nearly
all the flaking modes can be attained.
By applying this technology to tapered roller bearings, high
capacity tapered roller bearings have been developed.

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TRB (0. D. 72mm, I. D. 30mm)

Load

Fr=20.6 kN, Fa=13.7 kN

Speed

2 000 min

Lubricant

Turbin oil (VG68)

90
Cumulative failure probability, %

Wear resistance

Test Brg.

Sub-surface
flaking
High cleanliness

Dent-initiated
flaking

Peeling

Test condition

50

Conventional
Brg.
10

100

500 1 000

Developed
Brg.

5 000

Life, hour

Fig. 10 Developed bearing life in clean lubrication

Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.165E (2004)

Development of High-capacity Tapered Roller Bearing (KE2)

Test condition
Test Brg.

TRA0607RYR

Load

Fr=20.6 kN, Fa=13.7 kN

Speed

2 000 min1

Lubricant

Gear oil (85W90)

Debris

Amount

0.06 wt% 0.06 wt%

Hardness

830 HV

700 HV

Size ave.

27 um

125 um

Max.

50 um

150 um

Cumulative failure probability, %

90

50
Developed
Brg.

Conventional
Brg.

10

10

50

100

500

Life, hour

Fig. 11 Life of developed bearing in contaminated lubricant

5. Conclusion
High capacity tapered roller bearings (KE2 tapered roller
bearing) could be developed by adopting carbide dispersion
carburizing technique to tapered roller bearings.
Carbide dispersion carburizing is a technology which
improves wear/dent resistance, achieves higher strength, and is
effective in improving the flaking life of other types of
bearings as well as tapered roller bearings. It is expected that
this technology will be applied to other types of bearings and
other products in the future.

References
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)

6)

Koyo Seiko co., ltd.: KOYO LONG LIFE BEARINGS,


CAT. 198E (1996).
K. Toda, T. Mikami, T. M. Jhons: SAE Technical Paper
921721 (1992).
K. Toda, T. Mikami, T. Hoshino: Nihon Kinzoku Gakkai
shi (J. Japan Inst. Metals), 58, 12 (1994) 1473.
K. Toda, T. Mikami, T. Hoshino: Tribologist (Journal of
Japanese Society of Tribologist), 38, 6 (1993) 526.
H. Uryu, Y. Kuroshima, S. Harada: Nihon Kikai Gakkai
Ronbunsyu A (Trons. Japan Society of Mechanical
Engineers, A), 61 (1995) 2109.
K. Toda, T. Hoshino: Tribologist (Journal of Japanese
Society of Tribologist), 43, 6 (1998) 522.

Koyo Engineering Journal English Edition No.165E (2004)

M. GOTOH*
*

Core Technology Research & Development Department, Research


& Development Center

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