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Thermally Safe Operating Speed—DIN 732

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Feb 13,2023


Happy New Year! We are finally on to our 3rd and (maybe) final installment of speed ratings. For those playing along at home, DIN 732 is essentially the second part of ISO 15312. In ISO 15312, we solved the Thermal Speed Rating—which you could think of as a generic safe operating speed under normal conditions. DIN 732 defines a Speed Ratio which is a factor multiplied to the Thermal Speed Rating to calculate the Thermally Safe Operating Speed. This can be greater or less than 1 depending on conditions. Neither ISO 15312 or DIN 732 are stand-alone documents, they must be used together in order to calculate a meaningful result.

When we think about speed in terms of thermal limitations, the two primary drivers are load and lubrication. Lubrication is obvious, but perhaps not as obvious, are loads.Ball bearings can generate a lot of heat and become quite inefficient at high loads. It is a common notion that a ball bearing is always more efficient than a taper roller bearing. Intuitively, it makes sense. Tapers have a huge frictional sliding surface where the bottoms of the rollers and the rib meet. At first glance, it appears that a ball has almost no friction—a hardened steel ball on an equally hardened raceway. The difference comes in surface pressure and the losses come in the form of hysteresis (and a few other drivers); the small elastic yielding of the ball and raceway under load. Under heavy loads, it is no longer just near frictionless rolling on a hard surface. As loads increase, eventually the ball bearing losses will surpass tapers. Tapers are designed to take huge loads, spreading a load over the full length of the roller. As a result, hysteretic losses are much lower. Under continuous high loads, like you might find in some industrial applications, a roller bearing or sometimes even a larger ball bearing can be more efficient in terms of rolling losses. In automotive, we are always trying to find the right balance between highway efficiency and high load capability.

Now, please don’t go out and buy bulldozer bearings for your EDM design because Norm said they were more efficient—but you get the idea. There are tradeoffs with every design that must be calculated and not just assumed.

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