5 Reasons Why Bearings Fail.
Yes, things break. Just the other day, we dropped into a local coffee shop and they had a maintenance guy onsite repairing one of their dispensing machines, in the middle of a busy lunch schedule. What a time for something to break down… but it happens. It got me thinking about the nature of things, computers and network systems for example, something I am all too familiar with as an experienced computer network techie that I am. It gave me inspiration to put this quick list together for you regarding the failure of bearings. I set about thinking of ten reasons why ball bearings fail.
- Lubrication Failure:
Probably the most common cause of bearing failure. Insufficient lubrication, use of incorrect lubricant or excessive temperatures. We mentioned excessive on our previous update in relation to hydraulic seal failure. Excessive running temperatures degrade the lubricant. You should see discolouring of the roller element in the bearing, this is a sign of excessive wear. This is counteracted or prevented by ensuring the correct lubricant or grease is used and make sure there is no grease loss. This should eliminate premature bearing failure.
Caused by foreign particles getting into the system – such as dirt and dust or workplace waste. This causes denting of the rolling elements, which results in vibration. Lubricants should be filtered and work areas and tools kept clean.
- Improper mounting.
This is an obvious one. You notice that bearings are mounted on a rotating ring, and are done on a press-fit. If the bearing wasn’t manufactured properly, the bearings will vibrate with the result being denting, wear, cracked rings, high operating temperatures, early fatigue and eventually premature bearing failure. Proper mounting instructions should be followed when the bearing in placed in situ as a prevention to bearing failure.
- Bearing Misalignment
Bent shafts can cause misalignment, and the result is similar to improper mounting above. Other causes could be improper installation or the press-fit mechanism was off calibration. You should notice a wear path that is not central or uniform. Inspect the shafts and housings and use good locknuts.
- Bearing Corrosion
In our climate in Ireland, the moisture and condensation in the air can cause corrosion, as well as low quality lubricants and greases, lack of replacing certain parts leading to rubbing of the bearing. Red or brown stains on the raceway or bearings will indicate this. This abrasion will cause wear to the required smooth surface of the ball bearing. If you can get sealed bearings, this will help avail the problem of bearing corrosion, and try to get bearings made from stainless steel.
Feel free to comment with feedback or suggestions of worn bearings… even better, send your images of broken or worn bearings… we’d love to feature in one of our future updates. Contact Hydra Seals on via our contact page or call +353 1 8612700 for all your ball bearing and bearing lubricant requirements.
All the best,