GBC Granted Unconditional Approval by AAR for Tapered Journal Bearings


IN JANUARY, AFTER RIGOROUS TESTING AND INSPECTION, GBC was granted "Unconditional Approval" by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) to sell its specially designed tapered journal bearings to the railroad industry.

This past September, fourteen Hyatt certificate 6B bearings that were run in coal car service for The Southern Company were removed for inspection. The inspection of these 150,000+ mile bearings took place at General Bearing Corporation's West Nyack headquarters. The joint inspection was performed by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), represented by Wheels, Axles, Bearings, Lubrication (WABL) Committee members, Mr. Fred Althoff of CSX, Mr. Stu Trout of TTX, Mr. Paul Steets of Conrail, and the Hyatt Manufacturing-General Bearing Technical Service Department. The results were outstanding.

The unit coal cars were operated at a full load of 286,000 pounds, a full 18,000 pounds above the AAR recommended maximum. Under these conditions, calculations indicated an equivalent mileage of 411,000, which is 82.2% of the AAR specified 500,000 mile bearing life expectancy.

An industry concern under these heavy operating conditions is loosened bearing components due to axle flexure and fretting wear. All Hyatt bearings measured showed low mounted-axial play averaging .004" and no loss of torque on the cap screws which indicates no loosening of bearing components whatsoever.

The grease retention was excellent, as was the integrity of the sealing. The condition of all rolling elements was outstanding in every roller, every raceway, inner and outer. The dimensional stability of the case carburized rollers, inner and outer rings was exceptional, indicating excellent metallurgical properties with the highest level of control of the heat treatment process.

The AAR carefully examined all the details of the inspection and the bearings passed all the test parameters. In January, Unconditional Approval was granted. The committee members were satisfied with everything from the physical dimensions and metallurgy of the parts to the condition of the disassembled bearings after the 411,000 equivalent miles of service.

Gaining AAR approval required meeting stringent technical standards. "This product's performance is a testament to General Bearing's continued commitment to QS-9000/ISO-9001 and AAR M1003 quality standards as well as its engineering expertise on railroad product,"said William Kurtz, Vice President and Director of Operations for General Bearing.

Unconditional Approval is the AAR's highest level of approval and removes limitations on the number of bearings the Company may sell and eliminates the need for General Bearing customers to track, monitor and report to the AAR on its bearings. Previously, GBC had to earn AAR certification to market its bearings to the railroad industry in specific allotments. Elevation to this status further enhances GBC's competitive position and continues a longstanding, reputable industry performance record.