The ABEC scale is a system used throughout the manufacturing industry for rating the manufacturing tolerances of precision bearings, developed by the Annular Bearing Engineering Committee (ABEC) of the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA). Bearings are rated using an odd number between 1 and 9. The higher the number, the greater the manufactured precision of the bearing. Bearings manufactured within tighter tolerance ranges provide greater accuracy of shaft rotation and contribute to higher speed capability. However, the ABEC rating does not specify many other critical factors, such as smoothness of the rolling contact surfaces, ball precision, and material quality.
There are no required materials to meet the ABEC specifications required to be rated on the scale, but the bearings must be made to a certain accuracy and precision. Bearings not conforming to at least ABEC 1 are not precision bearings. ABEC and ISO precision gradings are used for bearings throughout the industry.
The scale is designed to allow a user to make an informed decision about the type of bearing they are purchasing. High rated bearings are intended for precision applications like aircraft instruments or surgical equipment. Lower grades are intended for the vast majority of applications such as vehicles, mechanical hobbies, skates, fishing reels and industrial machinery. High ABEC rated bearings allow optimal performance of critical applications requiring very high RPM and smooth operation. High ABEC rated bearings do not make equipment go faster however they allow high precision equipment to operate at their optimum speed and efficiency.
The approximate equivalent ISO standard is ISO 492.
|ABEC 1|| normal|
|ABEC 3||class 6|
|ABEC 5||class 5|
|ABEC 7||class 4|
|ABEC 9||class 2|