The Challenge

Every ball bearing in existence has some amount of clearance in the races for the balls to be able to perform correctly under load. That "clearance" commonly know as radial play, for its direction, needs to be measured very accurately in order to classify the bearing quality. But the vast range of sizes of different ball bearings makes this a formidable task. And if the variability of size is not enough of a challenge, try considering achieving this measurement with the races under load!

Radial Play for Ball Bearings


Gage Parameters

OPERATION: Semi-Automatic
READOUT: Trendsettertm
FEATURES: Semi-Automatic measuring of "clearance" commonly know as Radial Play between the inner race, and the outer race and ball compliment.

The Solution

A unique arrangement between a simple PLC and the Edmunds Trendsetter automate the measurements and settings that are achieved on the Radial Play Gaging system. The task is performed by monitoring the independent motions of the outer race within a typical cycle.


To begin, an operator loads the ball bearing assembly over a relaxed clamping plug within the inner race. He/she then presses 2-hand start buttons to initial the cycle. Here an overhead motion lowers a holding force on the face of the inner race, before the pneumatic clamping motion holds the inner race in place. Next a pair of pneumatic motions work in tandem to push the outer race back and forth in opposite radial directions. After a series of "shucking" the outer race back and forth, the real measurement action takes place.

At last the opposing motions are periodically idled in one direction as the PLC initiates the Trendsetter to reset its display to "0" zero. Next the motion is advanced in the opposite direction and an LVDT reads the amount of movement of the outer race. That movement is displayed on the Trendsetter as the T.I.R. value of radial play. That value is compared to the user defined tolerance limits, and a color coding of bearing class is provided to the operator. The motions are all relaxed and the overhead motion retracted allowing the operator to unload the bearing.

The Result

The benefits of Edmunds Radial Play Gaging are three-fold, each contributing to increased production capability and/or customer satisfaction. The automation of the measurement process, clear and concise determination of size, and the flexibility to handle a wide variety of part sizes with simple modular change tooling.


The compact packaging of this custom designed and built system allowed the customer to offer product performance and overall quality to his customers. And, perhaps of greatest impact to the bottom line of the Edmunds Radial Play system - increasing production measuring rates without compromising accuracy.

Edmunds Gages Farmington CT USA

A New Dimension In Precision Measurement


(860) 677-2813

Toll Free 877-521-5818 

(860) 677-2813

(860) 677-4243


Farmington Industrial Park

45 Spring Lane

Farmington,  CT USA 06032

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