It’s essential to get high-quality, wear and fatigue resistant steel for bearing manufacturing, and carrying bearing-grade steel is core to our mission at Sullivan. You’ll find various standard and specialty grades to fit your purpose, whether that’s flight critical, non-flight critical or requires a niche steel that combines multiple properties.

Our featured bearing steels


Premium-melted alloy designed  for high temperature, high stress applications such as jet engines and helicopter rotor bearings.


Double vacuum-melted, with high hot hardness and good corrosion-resistance, BG-42 is a great match for high temperature aerospace bearings.


XD15NW combines high hardness and high corrosion resistance to produce bearings that perform in critical, high stress, and abrasive environments.


Standard, industrial and automotive bearing-grade steel suited to ball and roller bearings in many non-flight critical applications.

Learn more about M50 VIM-VAR

Learn more about BG-42

Learn more about XD15NW

Learn more about 52100

See our full list of bearing steels

Steel in Bearing Manufacturing

When selecting steel for bearings, it’s important to choose a high-quality grade that won’t deform under pressure, as various low-carbon alloys on the market can. Though less expensive, using these low-grade steels can result in costly failures.

The ideal bearing steel has high wear resistance and high hardness following the proper heat treatment. Depending on the application, some bearings will need to maintain these characteristics at high temperatures or in corrosive environments. In these cases, a common, standard grade like SAE 52100 may not be the best choice and you might need to look into specialized steels that can fit your niche application.

Applications for Bearing Steel

Typical applications for bearing-grade steel include both rolling elements and raceways for the following bearing types:

  • Ball bearings
  • Roller bearings
  • Taper roller bearings
  • Needle roller bearings

Sullivan Steel carries grades suitable for all of these applications, under various performance conditions.

Bearing Steel at Sullivan

We’ve been in the bearing business since the 1980s, when we began as part of the Roller Bearing Company of America. Though our offerings have expanded since then, bearings are still core to our business, and almost every grade we carry can be used in at least some bearing applications. Many of our pros come from backgrounds in bearing or steel manufacturing and bring years of experience to the team to help you find the right grade.


Our Bearing Grades

Sullivan Grade

Typical Bearing Application

M50 VAR and VIM-VAR Aircraft engine bearings, helicopter rotor bearings; high stress, high temperature environments
BG-42 Critical bearings; high temperature, high corrosion environments
M50NiL Aircraft bearings and gears; high temperature, high stress environments
XD15NW High corrosion, high stress environments 
XD16N High stress, high temperature, high corrosion environments
52100 VAR and VIM-VAR Aircraft bearings where additional cleanliness is required
440C High hardness, moderately corrosive environments
4340 VAR High stress environments 
CX13VDW Stainless carburizing grade
GKHW  Nitriding grade for a very wide range of applications
GKPYW Deep or fast nitriding grade up to 0.040” or 1mm
Nitriding 135M Nitriding grade 
8620 Carburizing aerospace and industrial applications
NC310YW High strength carburizing grade

Have questions about finding the proper steel for your bearing application? We can help — use the LiveChat feature to start talking now, or visit our contact page.