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Inner rings of spherical roller bearings out of full hardening ball bearing steel 100 CrMn 6 (Fe-1C-1.5Cr-1.1Mn, Material No. 1.3520) failed in service. Due to the cracks, parts from the middle flange broke or the rings failed in radial direction completely. All the cracks and fracture originated from the middle flange. In all of the three rings one flank showed heavy wearing and scouring. The cracks started from the edge of this flank with the cylindrical mantle surface of the middle flange. The cracking resembled fatigue cracking. However, in a fine-grained hardened steel such as this, fracture faces due to stress-cracking and overload fracture look the same. Metallographic examination showed the failure of the rings was a result of repeated heating and rapid cooling of the surface due to the grinding of the bearings on one flank of the middle flange. The stress-cracks (grindcracks) spread in steps which finally led to the breaking off of parts from the middle flange and complete failure of the rings.

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