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TECHNICAL PAPER:

COMPARISON OF DIN 281


BEARING FATIGUE LIFE PREDICTIONS
WITH TEST DATA
By: Michael Kotzalas and Gerald Fox

THE TIMKEN COMPANY

Abstract
Recent advances in rolling bearing technology have spawned a urry of activity aimed at reassessing bearing
life prediction algorithms. This has become particularly important for the wind turbine gearbox industry, where
20 years of calculated bearing L10 life is a standard requirement. However, it is a common observation that
numerous, proprietary approaches have evolved to predict bearing life, and these varying methods can provide
signicantly different predictions. In an effort to create an advanced, publicly accessible method of predicting
bearing L10 life that might provide some uniform basis, the Deutsches Institut fr Normung e.V. (DIN) has created a
standard utilizing assumptions for what constitutes a typical bearing design, manufacturing process, as well as the
expected damage mechanisms. Validation of the standard was only accomplished to the extent that the member
companies shared test results or comparisons with their prediction algorithms.
To further consider the effectiveness of the DIN algorithms to accurately predict the fatigue life of rolling bearings, this paper compares test data of standard production tapered roller bearings (TRB) from six top manufacturers, including Timken, with the DIN and Timken proprietary algorithms. The test data was selected to include
varying operating conditions in recent test programs; thick and thin lubricant lms, misalignment, variable loading
and debris denting of the raceway surfaces. The results of this investigation show a bearing manufacturers proprietary algorithms, in this case Timken, more accurately predict the actual performance of their products. In fact, the
DIN algorithms tended to over-predict bearing fatigue life for low load and under-predict for debris contaminated
operating conditions.

Introduction

Bearing Fatigue Tests

Recently, there have been signicant advances in

Bearing fatigue life test results from the authors labo-

rolling bearing technology. These advances can be seen

ratory were collected. Only tests of standard production,

in design and manufacturing through the use of cleaner

or off the shelf tapered roller bearings (TRB) were used,

steels, new surface nishing and texturing techniques as

as more scientically controlled tests would not be rele-

well as the use of tribological coatings. Also, advances

vant to the community of bearing users. The tests were

have been made in the fundamental understanding and

selected to include bearings from six top manufacturers,

modeling of rolling bearing performance. The use of com-

including Timken, and varied operating conditions. The

puters has increased the level of sophistication available

different general operating conditions included thick and

for bearing analyses to the point that what used to be im-

thin lubricant lms, bearing misalignment, variable loading

practical is now standard practice. As such, there has

and debris denting of the raceway surfaces.

been a large amount of recent activity in the area of predicting bearing performance [1-7]. This has become particularly important for many demanding and highly sophisticated applications, such as the wind turbine gearbox
industry where 20 years of calculated bearing L10 life is a
standard requirement.

All of the tests were conducted in the authors laboratory using a rst-in-four test scheme; See Figure 1. In
this scheme, the center bearings are radially loaded with
a hydraulic cylinder, while the end bearings are loaded
through the reaction with the shaft and housing. The test
is shut down when one bearing has a spall subtending 6

One signicant problem with all of the recent activ-

mm2 (0.01 in2) in area. At this time, the remaining 3 bear-

ity in bearing analyses is the numerous, proprietary ap-

ings are suspended, yielding the L15.91 life for this sample

proaches that have evolved to predict fatigue life. These

of four bearings.

methods can vary signicantly causing difculty for engineers selecting bearings, as seemingly identical bearings
can have vastly different predicted lives depending on the
approach used.
In an effort to create an advanced, publicly accessible method of predicting bearing L10 life that might provide some uniform basis, the Deutsches Institut fr Normung e.V. (DIN) [5 and 6] has created a standard utilizing
assumptions for what constitutes a typical bearing design,
manufacturing process, as well as the expected damage
mechanisms. As with any standardization activity, validation was only accomplished to the extent that member
companies shared test results or comparisons with their
prediction algorithms. As the DIN 281 Addendum 4 standard is being utilized in a slightly modied fashion for bearing selection within the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) Wind Turbine Gearbox standard 6006
[8], an investigation of its accuracy compared to bearing
fatigue test data is desired, and is the aim of this paper.

FIGURE 1. BEARING TEST SETUP

The standard test setups use an ISO viscosity grade


mineral oil supplied via a circulating system. The lubricants contain only rust and oxidation (R&O) additives to
prevent any alteration of the bearing fatigue performance

due to the additives in fully formulated oils. The circulat-

Fatigue Life Prediction

ing oil is ltered with a 40 mm, absolute lter. Even with


such course ltration, due to the general laboratory environment, the ISO 4406 oil cleanliness level has been consistently measured at 15/12 for all test housings.

After the bearing fatigue test data was collected, the


lives were predicted using the Timken catalog and Timken
advanced proprietary methods as well as the DIN 281 Beiblatt 1 and 4 algorithms. In doing such, the average mea-

Utilizing the previously described standard test setup,

sured cup OD temperature was used for determining the

variable parameters within the test rigs were controlled to

lubricant properties, and the average measured load zone

obtain the desired operating environment. Such as, the

to determine an applied bearing thrust load for each of the

lubricant supply temperature was set at different values to

48 test sets. The bearing misalignment was estimated

produce the desired lubricant lm conditions. Thick lm

through shaft bending analysis coupled with the pre-man-

tests were typically run at 37.8C (100F) oil inlet temper-

ufactured misalignment in the cup-housing adapters. The

ature while thin lm tests at 82.2C (180F). To produce

above inputs were necessary for all prediction algorithms,

misalignment conditions, the cup-housing adapters were

however the Timken advanced and DIN 281 Addendum 4

manufactured with a predisposed misalignment. Control-

methodologies also require the input of proles and sur-

ling the hydraulic pressure applied to the loading cylinder

face nishes. As the design proles and nishes were not

created the variable load conditions.

known for all of the test bearings, as is the case for most

Finally, the debris-dented conditions were created in


a more elaborate setup, by pre-denting the bearing assemblies. This was conducted by rotating a single bear-

end users, the default proles and nishes built into each
tool were used. The default proles in both algorithms use
some form of a modied (e.g. logarithmic) prole.

ing under a 4448 kN (1000 lb) pure thrust load for 2000

After the lives were predicted for each of the 48 test

revolutions in a debris-laden lubricant. The debris parti-

sets, Weibull analyses were performed to combine data

cles were hardened T15 tool steel from 25 m to 53 m

into the 5 groups of operating conditions. To do this, the

in size. The debris was mixed into highly ltered ISO VG

individual bearing test lives within each test set were in-

032 mineral oil containing only R&O additives in a ratio

verted and multiplied by the corresponding predicted

of 0.5 mg/ml. After pre-denting, the bearings were ul-

L15.91. Now, Weibull analyses were performed for an entire

trasonically cleaned to remove any residual dirt or debris

operating condition group to determine the effectiveness

from the components and then assembled into the fa-

of each prediction algorithm. The results of the Weibull

tigue test rig.

analyses were plotted with 90% condence intervals in

The nal matrix of selected tests for this study is listed in Table 1. Table 1 represents 48 different sets of bearing tests, consisting of 1228 tapered roller bearings from 6

Figures 2 through 6. Finally, the overall total weighted error (TWE) as dened in [4], Equation 1, was determined for
Timken and the other top manufacturers respectively.

top manufacturers. The different sets have been grouped


(1)

into 5 general categories of operating conditions: thick lubricant lms, thin lubricant lms, misaligned; varied loading and debris.

As can be seen in equation 1, the TWE represents the


error in life prediction relative to the spread of the 90%
condence bands. The results for TWE are shown in gure 7.

TABLE 1. SELECTED BEARING TEST DATA SETS


Average
Misalignment
Load Zone
(mrad)
(deg)

DPW
(mm)

K Factor

P/C

48

61

1.5

0.41

59

212

1.3

0.46

135

57

212

1.3

0.46

0.02

134

61

212

1.3

0.46

1.3

0.05

142

59

120

1.3

0.42

Through Hardened

1.5

0.09

138

78

61

1.5

0.41

Through Hardened

1.7

0.22

145

46

109

1.4

0.39

Through Hardened

5.0

0.31

148

45

57

1.5

0.41

Through Hardened

1.1

0.18

155

60

50

1.4

0.45

Through Hardened

0.9

0.31

149

43

57

1.5

0.41

11

Through Hardened

1.4

0.31

140

46

52

1.8

0.44

12

Through Hardened

1.0

0.31

139

48

57

1.5

0.41

13

Through Hardened

2.0

0.51

135

46

62

1.1

0.44

14

Through Hardened

1.2

0.37

140

51

70

1.4

0.38

15

Through Hardened

2.7

0.31

133

40

57

1.5

0.41

16

Case Carburized

1.3

0.80

149

46

45

1.4

0.41

17

Through Hardened

1.6

0.51

128

49

62

1.1

0.44

18

Through Hardened

1.2

0.31

147

48

57

1.5

0.41

19

Case Carburized

0.5

0.17

146

79

47

1.4

0.40

20

Case Carburized

0.4

0.00

144

84

109

1.4

0.38

21

Case Carburized

0.5

1.00

150

77

53

1.6

0.37

Case Carburized

0.5

0.07

135

91

120

1.3

0.42

23

Through Hardened

0.5

0.20

149

96

77

1.4

0.41

24

Through Hardened

0.6

0.07

136

88

120

1.3

0.42

25

Through Hardened

1.6

2.00

135

76

61

1.5

0.41

26

Case Carburized

0.8

2.00

136

86

50

1.1

0.39

27

Case Carburized

0.5

2.00

153

86

47

1.1

0.39

28

Case Carburized

2.7

1.80

144

47

56

1.1

0.40

29

Case Carburized

0.6

2.00

146

78

52

1.8

0.40

Through Hardened

2.3

1.00

144

44

53

1.6

0.39

31

Through Hardened

1.7

0.94

147

48

47

1.1

0.42

32

Through Hardened

2.1

1.21

126

48

56

1.1

0.45

33

Through Hardened

1.7

0.95

152

48

50

1.1

0.44

34

Case Carburized

3.0

1.09

141

43

39

1.6

0.40

35

Case Carburized

0.7

0.94

175

82

63

1.7

0.39

36

Case Carburized

0.7

0.47

170

68

63

1.7

0.20

37

Case Carburized

0.7

0.38

140

67

63

1.7

0.16

38

Case Carburized

0.9

0.90

175

83

43

1.7

0.39

39

Case Carburized

0.9

0.45

165

57

43

1.7

0.20

Heat Treatment

Ratio

Through Hardened

3.7

0.09

135

Case Carburized

1.6

0.02

130

Case Carburized

2.2

0.02

Case Carburized

1.4

Case Carburized

Test Set

10

22

30

40

Thick Film

Thin Film

Misaligned

Case Carburized

0.7

0.18

130

89

94

1.3

0.62

41

Case Carburized

0.7

0.10

130

82

94

1.3

0.36

42

Case Carburized

0.7

0.06

120

74

94

1.3

0.21

43

Case Carburized

0.7

0.04

120

66

94

1.3

0.15

44

Case Carburized

0.4

0.12

150

86

94

1.3

0.41

45

Case Carburized

0.9

0.06

135

68

94

1.3

0.21

46

Case Carburized

1.7

0.51

119

78

62

1.1

0.39

Through Hardened

1.8

0.51

148

56

62

1.1

0.39

Through Hardened

1.3

0.51

151

84

62

1.1

0.39

47
48

Varied Load

Average Cup
Temperature (C)

Debris

3.00
2.50

1.00

L15.91-Predicted / L15.91-Test

L15.91-Predicted / L15.91-Test

1.25

0.75
0.50
0.25
0.00

1.00

0.00
Timken
Catalog

Timken
Advanced

DIN 281.1

DIN 281.4

Timken
Catalog

1.75

7.00

1.50

6.00

1.25

5.00

1.00
0.75
0.50
0.25
0.00

DIN 281.1

DIN 281.4

4.00
3.00
2.00
1.00

Timken
Catalog

Timken
Advanced

DIN 281.1

0.00

DIN 281.4

FIGURE 3. THIN FILM RESULTS WITH 90% CONFIDENCE

Timken
Catalog

Timken
Advanced

DIN 281.1

DIN 281.4

FIGURE 6. DEBRIS DENTED RESULTS WITH 90% CONFIDENCE

1.25

1.25

Timken Advanced
DIN 281.4

1.00
Total Weighted Error

1.00
0.75
0.50

0.75
0.50
0.25

0.25
0.00

Timken
Advanced

FIGURE 5. VARIABLE LOAD WITH 90% CONFIDENCE

L15.91-Predicted / L15.91-Test

L15.91-Predicted / L15.91-Test

1.50

0.50

FIGURE 2. THICK FILM RESULTS WITH 90% CONFIDENCE

L15.91-Predicted / L15.91-Test

2.00

Timken
Catalog

Timken
Advanced

DIN 281.1

DIN 281.4

FIGURE 4. MISALIGNED RESULTS WITH 90% CONFIDENCE

0.00

Timken
Bearings

Other Manufacturers
Bearings

FIGURE 7. OVERALL RESULTS USING TOTAL WEIGHTED ERROR

Discussion of Results

these tests are conservative. The test misalignment values varied between 0.94 to 2.00 mrad, while most cata-

The thick and thin lm results show relatively good


agreement between the prediction methods and with the
test data. This is expected as this type of bearing damage has been studied for many decades. The thick lm
tests typically incur inclusion damage as shown in Figure 8A, while the thin lm tests point surface origin (PSO)
damage shown in Figure 8B. The advanced analyses (i.e.,

logs list values of 0.50 mrad as the acceptable limit. Also,


these advanced algorithms are highly dependent on accurate descriptions of the design prole, which could be
leading to some of the error in the life predictions. In any
case, the under-predictions were 54.2% for the Timken
advanced and 71.2% for the DIN 281.4 at the upper value of their 90% condence band.

Timken advanced and DIN 281.4) slightly under-predicted


the thick and thin lm data, however the 90% condence

The variable load condition results, Figure 5, showed

bands overlapped unity. In other words, the statistical

a general trend of over-prediction for all methods except

value of L15.91 estimated from the test data with 90%

the Timken advanced. The Timken advanced algorithm

condence, which lies between the dark bands shown in

contained unit within the 90% condence band, and thus

Figures 2-6, overlap unity and thus could be equal to the

accurately predicted the fatigue data. The Timken cat-

predicted value. For the simple methods (i.e., Timken cat-

alog method did over-predict the test data by 12.8% at

alog and DIN 281.1), the thick lm predictions were con-

the lower 90% condence band, however the over-pre-

servative as they underestimated the test data by 22.2%

dictions were by 57.2% for the DIN 281.1 and 29.7% for

for the DIN 281.1 and 46.1% for the Timken catalog at

the DIN281.4. The Timken algorithms consider a change

the value of their upper 90% condence band. Howev-

in the damage mode from inclusion, GSC or PSO when

er, manufacturers do tend to be conservative when using

loads are moderate to heavy, to peeling damage when

simple methods, as bearing damage from possible appli-

the loads are light [9]; See Figure 8D. The DIN algorithms

cation conditions not considered can affect actual perfor-

do not consider this change in expected damage mode

mance. A good example of this is bearing misalignment.

and thus tended to over-predict the life in lightly loaded

The thin lm results contained unity within the 90% con-

applications. This is shown more directly in Figure 9, in

dence intervals for all analyses except the Timken cata-

which the Weibull analysis was performed on subgroups

log, which was again slightly conservative.

of test results within the variable load condition with near


identical ratios of equivalent radial load to radial dynam-

The misaligned results indicate a general underestimation for all analysis methods. The simple methods do
not consider the geometric stress concentration (GSC)
damage mode, Figure 8C, which is typical of misalignment. This leads to an assumption that the test results
had other factors causing this under-prediction. In fact,
most of the tests also had thick lm conditions occurring, which led to a general under-prediction in the results
in Figure 2. The advanced methods, for this condition,
also under-predict the test results. As the thick lm results were accurate for these methods, it appears their
consideration for the extreme values of misalignment in

ic capacity based on one million cycles (P/C). The Timken advanced method is close to one for all relative load
levels, while the DIN 281.4 factor tended to increasingly
over-predict with decreasing load ratio. In relation to the
AGMA standard, the lowered limit of the maximum effective life factor was not a consideration, as all of the values
were below 10. Thus, the AGMA standard is identical to
the DIN 281.4 in these conditions.

A) INCLUSION

B) PSO

C) GSC

D) PEELING

FIGURE 8. TYPICAL DAMAGE MODES FOR ROLLING ELEMENT BEARINGS

7
Timken Advanced
DIN 281.4
6

L15.91-Predicted / L15.91-Test

0
0.0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.6

0.7

0.8

0.9

1.0

P/C
FIGURE 9. LIFE PREDICTION RATIOS VS. LOAD RATIO

The debris dented operating condition results are

ing damage that can occur from debris, the need to be

shown in Figure 6. The Timken catalog method does not

overly conservative would be necessary and was evident

consider debris, and thus a large over-prediction, as seen

in the test data.

in the results, was expected. The Timken advanced algorithm utilized Debris Signature AnalysisSM (DSA) [1, 2
and 10], so the dent geometries associated with the size,
shape and type of debris were considered. Using this
methodology, the 90% condence bands overlapped unity. The DIN methods, however, both under-predict the
debris damaged test results by 48.5% for DIN 281.1 and
31.0% for DIN281.4 at the upper value of the 90% condence band. The ISO 4406 cleanliness levels were created for hydraulic uids to prevent erosive and abrasive
damage. As such, they do not effectively account for the
different types of debris materials (e.g. hard ductile, soft
ductile or hard brittle) that can occur in a bearing system
[2 and 9]. Thus, to best handle the different types of bear-

Overall TWE are shown in Figure 7 for Timken advanced algorithms and DIN 281.4 predicting fatigue performance for Timken products and the other top manufacturers respectively. As can be seen, the Timken algorithm
predicts fatigue performance for Timken products much
better than the DIN 281.4 standard. However, the DIN
281.4 methodology predicts the fatigue performance of
the other top manufacturers product better than the Timken algorithms. This should be expected, as each manufacturer has inherently included the steel specications,
manufacturing processes and design attributes associated to their products built into their prediction methodologies. As such, Timken algorithms predict the fatigue

performance of Timken products better than other meth-

4. Ioannides, E., Bergling, G., and Gabelli, A., (1999),

odologies. Also, the other top manufacturers, some of

An Analytical Formulation for the Life of Rolling Bear-

whom worked within DIN to create the DIN 281 standard,

ings, Acta Polytechnica Scandinavica, Mechanical En-

are best able to predict the fatigue performance for their

gineering Series, v. 137.

products.

5. DIN ISO 281 Beiblatt 1 (April, 2003), Rolling Bearings - Dynamic Load Ratings and Rating Life - Life Modi-

Conclusions
The overall TWE comparison for the 48 different test
groups shows that Timken algorithms are better at predicting fatigue for Timken products, and the DIN standard
was only slightly better at predicting fatigue for the remaining top manufacturers. Also, when considering each

cation Factor aDIN and Calculation of the Modied Rating Life.


6. DIN ISO 281 Beiblatt 4 (April, 2003), Rolling Bearings Dynamic Load Ratings and Rating Life - Methods
for Calculation of the Modied Reference Rating Life for
Universally Loaded Rolling Bearings.

of the ve operating condition groups, the Timken ad-

7. ASME Tribology Division (2003), Life Ratings for

vanced algorithm was more accurate for predicting per-

Modern Rolling Bearings/A Design Guide for Application

formance as evidenced by the location of the condence

of International Standard ISO 281/2.

bands with respect to unity. This is particularly important


for low loads, where the DIN factor was over-predicting or
for heavily debris-damaged conditions when the DIN factor was under-predicting life.

8. ANSI/AGMA/AWEA 6006-A03 (2003), Design and


Specication of Gearboxes for Wind Turbines.
9. Hoeprich, M. (1998), Extended Rolling Element
Bearing Fatigue Life at Low Loads, Presented at the 53rd
STLE Annual Meeting, Detroit, MI.

References

10. Nixon, H., Ai, X., Cogdell, J., and Fox, G. (1999),

1. Ai, X, and Nixon, H. (2000), Fatigue Life Reduction

Accessing and Predicting the Performance of Bearings

of Roller Bearings due to Debris Denting: Part I Theo-

in Debris Contaminated Lubrication Environment, SAE

retical Modeling, Tribology Transactions, v. 43, n. 2, pp.

Technical Paper #1999-01-2791.

197-204.
2. Ai, X, and Nixon, H. (2000), Fatigue Life Reduction of Roller Bearings due to Debris Denting: Part II Experimental Validation, Tribology Transactions, v. 43, n. 2,
pp. 311-7.
3. Harris, T., and McCool, J. (1996), On the Accuracy
of Rolling Bearing Fatigue Life Prediction, Transactions of
the ASME, Journal of Tribology, v.118, n. 2, pp. 297-310.

NOTES

Timken is the registered trademark of


The Timken Company.
www.timken.com

2005 The Timken Company


Printed In the U.S.A.
.7M-03-05 Order No. 5866

WORLDWIDE LEADER IN BEARINGS AND STEEL