Things to know about ABEC ratings:
- Bearings not conforming to at least ABEC 1 can not be classified as precision bearings as their tolerances are too loose.
- Lower ABEC grades are intended for applications such as mechanical hobbies, skates, skateboards, fishing reels, and alike.
- Mid-range grades (ABEC 5) are intended for applications such as vehicles, electric motors and industrial machinery. The maximum allowable tolerance on these bearings is 0.0035 mm.
- High grade bearings are intended for precision applications like aircraft instruments, jet engines, or surgical equipment. These can often cost many hundreds of dollars each. As a side note, the supplier I use has also sold to NASA. The highest precision bearing they have sold to date was for the international space station and cost $128,000. It was 8 feet in diameter and was an ABEC grade 9.
*(ABEC)-Annular Bearing Engineering Committee. The ABEC scale is the industry accepted standard for the tolerances of ball bearings.
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