One of the most common reasons for bearing failure in agricultural equipment is moisture ingression. This occurs because the equipment is typically used for a limited period of time each season, therefore, it can remain idle for up to nine months at a time.
When not in use, bearings can be subjected to environmental temperature changes, causing condensation to form in “void areas” inside the bearing. The moisture then settles to the lowest points of the bearing, where it comes to rest between the rolling elements and race contact surfaces.
When this occurs, it doesn’t take long for the moisture to attack steel surfaces, creating areas of oxidation known as “puddle corrosion.” These areas become weak, and eventually create surface material spalling or flaking, leading to premature bearing failure.
To prevent bearing damage and potential failure, it is important to follow proper procedures both prior to and during extended storage periods. Before storing your equipment at the end of each season, fill all bearings with grease until you see it purging from the bearing seal area. This will eliminate voids inside the bearing. During the storage period, continue to purge each bearing monthly.
Again, a sufficient amount of lubricant should be purged through each bearing to ensure complete expulsion of contaminants, and remember to rotate the bearing shaft several times during each re-lubrication.
If you have questions about proper bearing storage procedures or any other bearing-related issues, call (317)273-5781 or email [email protected]. For videos and other demos, visit our YouTube channel.