Bearing Tips: 3 Bearing Killers and How to Stop Them: Part 1-1
Bearing failure can grind your operations to a halt, resulting in significant lost time and production. Here are the first three of six common factors that can cause bearings to fail, and what you can do to prevent them.
No matter the application, the proper functionality of bearings is essential to optimize operations. Whether a bearing is a cylindrical, spherical, ball or roller bearing, its precise design and engineering require special attention to ensure it’s working correctly. Bearing failure means downtime, maintenance and a major blow to operational efficiency—and in many cases, that failure can be easily prevented.
Applications requiring dependable bearing operation are countless but common reasons for bearing failure are fairly narrow. Though improvements in technology, design and user training have helped reduce failure incidents, understanding how and why bearings commonly fail is critical.
Here are the first three of six common reasons for bearing failure and how to make sure they don’t bring operations to a halt:
dimsen BearingKillers_Fig.1_20131101#1: Improper Handling and Installation. Proper bearing care begins when the bearing first arrives at the application site. From the shipping dock, to storage, to installation, proper handling and care is necessary to ensure the bearing will function as intended.
Even the smallest imperfections can shorten a bearing’s lifespan, and many nicks and scratches occur before the bearing is even put into use. Damage can occur when a bearing is in storage; therefore, if stocking bearings prior to needing them on your plant or shop floor, make sure the proper storage techniques are being followed. Don’t remove the bearing from the manufacturer’s original packaging unless absolutely necessary; if it must be removed, store in anticorrosive wrapping, and apply the appropriate preservatives to the bearing first.
When ready to install, cleanliness is critical. Technicians should perform the work in as clean an environment as possible, using clean tools, and should take care not to remove any of the preservative coating. Carelessness is the most common cause of damage to the bearing throughout the installation process. Poor handling while removing the outer races from housings or wheel hubs, for instance, can leave burrs or high spots in outer race seats. Tools can inadvertently gouge housing seats, leaving imperfections that can increase rolling contact stress, limit fatigue life or fracture machine components in the worst cases—all the more reason to ensure your installation processes are conducted with care and precision.
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- 3 bearing killers and how to stop them: Part 1-3