The Importance of bearing maintenance

Predictive maintenance services should always encompass bearing usage and operation to ensure the continued and effective running of your mechanical components. Bearings, while only a fractional and relatively inexpensive component of the entire mechanical operation, hold the highest dispensation for downtime and can be the root cause for many operational failures without the correct maintenance schedule applied.

So, it’s vital to be aware of the importance of predictive maintenance services on your bearings with the reasons for bearing failure. An effective maintenance schedule can prevent premature failure, machine break-down, the shutting of business operations and unnecessary costs in the long run.

 

1. Bearings Can be Contaminated by Environmental Debris

Depending on the mechanical operations environment of your bearing and the type of bearing you have chosen in the application, it can become contaminated. When your bearing doesn’t have a shield, the lubricant can act as an attractive layer for airborne dust, fabric, debris, natural skin oils and more. This can result in misalignment in the rolling elements and cause premature failure. This can be more common with the use of grease lubricants rather than oil-based or solid film lubricants.

Bearing maintenance is important here because:

Using a preventive approach to bearing valuation, it can be checked whether the bearing has been handled with care prior to installation. Additionally, it can determine if the lubrication used is an effective choice for the operations load and speed types while ensuring the bearing is encased when in environments featuring airborne contaminants. This helps lengthen the life of the bearing components and reduces the need for expensive repairs of the whole machine down the line.

 

2. Bearings Are the Centre-Component of Frictionless Transmission

As bearings are a focal point in mechanical operations, they can be the cause of efficient production and unnecessary downtime. In harsh environments, for example, such as areas of radioactivity or a vacuum, they require certain solid film lubricants and a high-frequency maintenance schedule. This ensures wear, fretting, corrosion and oxidisation is not present in the bearing which may result in component failure across the machine.

Bearing maintenance is important here because:

High frequency bearing maintenance from your team of specialists helps with the identification and reaction to early signs of bearing failure. Additionally, bearings may be misaligned to the wider components of the mechanical application, making bearing maintenance evermore vital.

 

3. Bearings Can be Subject to Corrosion and Oxidisation
Wider environmental factors can negatively affect the bearing in your application. From power transmission in generation modules to medical equipment, bearings are a crucially small component prone to wear. Wear from corrosion can cause the build-up of external materials such as rust; especially where the bearing is made of corrosive materials such as steel and lubricated with oils. This, then, declines quality to misalignment and ultimately breakage in the operation.

Bearing maintenance is important here because:

Maintaining the bearing can ensure the correct type has been mounted in the correct way with the correct tools and lubricant to suit the mechanical operations and environmental factors. Additionally, a consistent preventive maintenance schedule can allow for the pre-identification of early warning signs of bearing wear. Meaning rightful repair and replacement can be implemented where necessary.

 

4. Bearings Can Be Incorrectly Lubricated
Bearing lubrication requires a precision application based on its type. Grease may be applied by hand while petroleum and synthetic oil lubricants require specialist tools such as a syringe. Solid film lubricants require burnishing tools to create a film of lubricant between the rolling elements. Without the correct installation and maintenance of lubricant, the bearing may be subject to temperatures, friction, axial and radial loads, and vibrations that cause misalignment, wear and premature failure.

Bearing maintenance is important here because:

The bearing inspector can review the bearing for signs of wear and assess the performance of the lubricant in use. Where the lubricant has been applied incorrectly, there will be signs of misalignment and rupture. In the case of incorrect lubricant being used, the bearing may not have lubrication left due to evaporation or may have contaminated lubricant. This foresight allows for the necessary change and progression of vital operations.

 

5. Bearing Materials May Depreciate with Time
Bearings, like all mechanical components, wear with usage. However, this process accelerates with incorrect installation, application, usage and maintenance of the bearing. A bearing can become misaligned with vibrations or contamination and can face fretting, overheating, friction, slowed production and unnecessary downtime. Similarly, these failures may occur with incorrect bearing material choices. For example, when a carbon steel bearing is used in a high speed, high temperature or high load module.

Bearing maintenance is important here because:

After installation, preventive and predictive maintenance services can identify any sign of bearing depreciation. This can include finding signs of material melting, lubricant evaporation, misalignment, corrosion, fretting, rust, improper mounting, spalling, false brinelling and contamination. In doing so, it helps highlight the need for repair or replacement and ensure continued production of the bearing for frictionless power transmission.

 

And that concludes the five core reasons as to how preventive maintenance services on the bearing can decrease the likelihood of bearing failure and allow for the prolonged running of mechanical operations.

 

Source: SLS Bearings

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