Bearing thermography what is it for? What are the advantages?

Thermography is a non-destructive and non-invasive technique that allows the capture of images to determine the temperature of the bearings through the intensity of the infrared radiation it emits.

It is an inspection method in predictive and preventive maintenance that allows you to determine mechanical failures in advance . In addition, it prevents serious accidents from overheating system components.

Reliability and security are one of the goals of any company’s maintenance sectors .

In this sense, using an infrared system ( thermal imagers ) for temperature measurement or observation of differential heat distribution patterns prevents more than 80% of accidents with fire risk in the industry.

Learn more about how bearing thermography can benefit your business and ensure the reliability of your rotating system.

The importance of bearing thermography as a preventive method

Problems with rotating equipment can produce heat that causes temperature deviations.

These problems can be related to important system components such as bearings , bearings and seals or misalignment.

Still other causes can include variations in process flows, valve failures, electrical contact or discharge problems.

However, it is possible to identify these defects effectively with a thermal imager . This allows you to take corrective action before serious failures occur.

The thermography is therefore an important analysis in asset management to ensure the integrity of the components.

Especially when used in conjunction with vibration analysis or other preventive and predictive maintenance methods.

Bearing temperature

It is important to monitor the operating temperature in the places where the bearings work. Especially because the increase in temperature is an indication that something is wrong. Even more so if working conditions are controlled.

However, it is normal for the temperature to rise after a day or two after lubricating the bearing .

Therefore, thermographic devices and infrared thermographic cameras should be used to monitor the bearings. The human eye cannot detect thermal anomalies.

Thermal inspection is able to reveal potential problems and identify temperature problem areas without interrupting production.

How is the infrared analysis performed?

The analysis of the infrared radiation is possible with the use of an infrared camera to measure the thermal or infrared energy, which is emitted by the bearing or other system component.

This technique captures the infrared spectrum, which is beyond human vision. It detects temperature variations through images.

Infrared is an electromagnetic frequency emitted by any matter proportional to its temperature.

Through the vibration of electric and magnetic fields, it is possible to reach the magnetic spectrum.

Why use thermography on bearings?

The bearing is a component widely used in industry. Especially in rotary power transmission systems.

It is subject to high loads, friction and high speeds. When its use takes place in critical equipment for production, it must be ensured that it does not cause a machine stoppage.

By performing the thermographic inspection on the bearings , it will be possible to identify if it is a point of origin in heat emission.

In this case, heat is the main indication that one has friction problems or high loads.

The friction torque involves the forces applied on the inner surfaces of the bearing to prevent the movement of scrolling. This is because the allowable operating temperature limits the operating speed of the bearings.

Therefore, it is important to use techniques that allow the identification of potential failures in critical components such as industrial bearings . It’s because?

So that your company doesn’t have increased costs!

What can you identify with thermography?

The thermographic analysis shows which components are under unfavourable heat condition. The thermography itself does not show the cause of the problem.

For this, a comprehensive analysis by an expert is needed. In this way it is possible to identify the root cause and solve the problem.

For example, thermography identifies that a bearing is the source of heat. When analysing the system, the technician identifies that the origin is in the misalignment of the shaft.

In this way, you can review the assembly and align the shaft so that it no longer affects bearing performance .

Also, expert analysis can identify that there are no mounting problems and that the bearing actually does not withstand the working conditions.

In this case, the expert notes that switching to a bearing with greater energy efficiency will solve the problem. Because, these bearings perform better in applications under high friction.

In short, thermographic analysis is a great analysis tool. However, an expert must verify the source of the problem.

SKF Tools for Thermographic Analysis

SKF has a full range of tools to monitor the temperature of bearings and other components in your equipment.

They are thermometers (contact or not) and advanced infrared cameras that enable thermal analysis with greater precision.

See our basic condition monitoring tools page and choose your model. ABECOM is the largest SKF distributor in Brazil and specialises in solutions for industrial maintenance.

We have a technical team to support our customers, in addition to a package of services that help manage and monitor their assets.

Count on the range of SKF tools in your company. With them, the maintenance of your company will be faster and easier.


The need for many companies to remain competitive forces the use of tools for greater efficiency in their maintenance processes.

Technology is increasingly a way to overcome challenges and remain competitive.

Thus, thermography is an effective tool to identify energy waste in the form of heat. Thus, it allows the planning of actions that contribute to increasing the efficiency of equipment.

Furthermore, as an inspection technique , it allows maintenance professionals to carry out measurements without physical contact with the installation. And this is very important to ensure safety and prevent accidents at work.

Added to this is the fact that it is possible to verify that the equipment is in full operation, so that there is no interference in production, and the technician can inspect large areas with better performance.

Source: Abecom

Leave a Reply