In most cases, bearings fail early due to:
- Overheating causes the lubricant to breakdown.
- Lubricant becomes contaminated by water or solids over time.
Bearings are designed to support heavy loads and reduce friction. Without bearings, moving parts in machinery would jam and fail to operate smoothly. They can also fail if they are not properly maintained or if the equipment operates beyond their capabilities. Maintaining your bearings according to an established maintenance schedule will increase their life expectancy and help prevent future problems.
Here are a few Tips on bearing Maintenance
Proper installation of a bearing assembly requires creating a clean environment. The use of proper tooling and materials is required to prevent harmful elements from contacting the bearing before it is commissioned. A manufacturer will provide tooling for this purpose. One common-sense tip is to keep the box containing the new bearing closed until it is ready for mounting. This prevents contaminants from entering the bearing prior to installation.
To ensure proper bearing performance, you must correctly specify the right bearing for a given application. Each bearing has unique design characteristics and options that might not be evident simply by examining or handling the old bearing. If you replace the wrong bearing, the new one will have to work twice as hard as it was intended to do, increasing wear and tear and leading to premature failure.
It is best to identify critical specifications of a bearing by reading the product designation marked on its side faces. For instance, if a technician only looks at the number—without considering the additional suffixes—the chosen bearing may be provided with the incorrect design feature, such as an improper level of internal clearance.
Proper lubrication of machines is essential to proper functioning. Oil and grease are used to lubricate moving parts of machines. Applying oil and grease is different. Oils (liquid at room temperature) are good at carrying heat away from bearings; greases (solid at room temperature) keep parts from being damaged by excessive wear. Properly maintaining oils, greases and other lubricants requires technicians to monitor a number of factors, including temperature, flow rate, fluid filtration and replenishment.
For maximum service life, bearing seals must be in place to retain lubricant and prevent the entry of contaminants. Whenever a bearing is replaced, a new seal should be installed. And like bearings, there is a wide range of seals in various designs for a variety of applications, so it is important to specify the proper seal for each application.
Prolonging the longevity of a machine can help maximize operational productivity, but routine bearing maintenance is not enough. Implementing a predictive maintenance program allows service technicians to proactively detect issues with machine performance and take corrective action prior to failure
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