Top 2 Causes of Bearing Failure
Accurately diagnosing potential bearing failures ahead of time is important to preventing unexpected downtime and increased maintenance costs. These key bearing-failure causes account for the majority of individual bearing failures. By taking note of these causes, and taking the necessary preventative measures, there is the potential to extend a bearing's service life, reduce unscheduled downtime, and increase overall workplace productivity. These are the most common causes of premature bearing failure:
1) Lubrication and Contamination
Lubrication is a critical part of a bearing’s lifecycle. Lubricate the bearing too little, and the lubrication can become contaminated and cause excessive wear and possibly heat up, which will lead to premature bearing failure. Lubricating too much can cause a bearing to overheat, but only when the speeds are high. In general applications it is very difficult to over lubricate. Choosing the correct seal will also help with lubrication and contamination failures. Choosing the correct seal and finding the correct frequency and amount of lubrication for your bearing is critical to preventing unplanned downtime.
2) Improper Installation
While it may seem like common sense, standard wear and tear is one of the leading causes of bearing failure. Eventually all bearings fail due to wear, however, excessive load, vibration or force can cause a bearing to wear out long before it should. Most of this excess force is caused by improper installation. If you don't install your bearing properly, and to the OEM's specifications, you are setting your bearing up for failure. Following the OEM's installation instructions can be the difference between successful operation of your application.
Although there are numerous symptoms, each bearing failure typically results from a combination of issues, and not just a single cause. Be aware of the issues that prompt bearing failure, look for the warning signs, and take the preventative measures needed to keep your bearings operating at or above peak performance for as long as possible.
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