Even heavy duty ball bearings are vulnerable to damage if they are not treated correctly, and damaged bearings can stop work until repairs are made. The most common reasons for ball bearing failure are insufficient lubrication, contamination, overload, and poor handling. The following are some tips for keeping ball bearings in the best possible condition.
First of all, lubrication is crucial to a ball bearing’s function. A common mistake to avoid is mixing different types or grades of lubricant rather than sticking to what the OEM recommends. Because different lubricants contain different chemical ingredients, some types are incompatible. If it’s necessary to change the type of lubricant you’re using, make sure to first remove all of the old product and clean the system thoroughly before adding the new oil or grease. It’s also important to monitor the machine’s operating temperature to make sure it’s not so high that a lubricant will break down.
Contamination can occur when any small particles of dust or dirt come in contact with the bearing. They keep the lubricant from working properly and damage the surface of the bearing. To guard against contamination, make sure that seals are intact. Seals should be checked regularly for leaks or damage and replaced as soon as they are compromised in any way. It’s also helpful to change filters and clean the ball bearings on a regular basis.
Overloading a bearing is dangerous as it shortens the bearing’s life and can cause fractures in the mechanism. You can recognize that a bearing is overloaded by listening for vibration or other noise during operation. You may also notice an increase in temperature, metallic chips, and a decrease in performance. It’s important to repair or replace overloaded bearings immediately.
Improper handling is a frequent cause of damage to ball bearings. First of all, failing to store bearings in an anti-corrosive container can cause damage before the bearings are installed. Removing them carelessly can damage the surface of a bearing when it comes in contact with tools or machine parts. Technicians may also damage bearings by using dirty tools, exposing the bearings to dirt and debris that abrade the surface. Training on proper handling procedures is one way to minimize these problems.
Keeping ball bearings in good condition will increase a machine’s productivity and efficiency. Following the above tips can help improve maintenance procedures and save money on unnecessary repairs and down time.