The Basics of Bearing Life

An alarming amount of bearing failures are due to debris that has found its way into the bearing from improper care before, during, or after assembly. Contamination can interfere with the operation of the bearing by eventually working its way into the lubrication. Once the lubrication is affected, a gradual wearing on the original close fit of the bearing begins damaging the accuracy of the bearing and smoothness of the raceway.

Bearing manufacturers take the utmost care to ensure the bearing is delivered to the customers free of foreign particles. To ensure the bearing performs the way it is intended, care and the necessary steps must be taken to maintain this level of cleanliness when receiving the bearing and preparing it for use. When received, the box should be checked thoroughly for damage. The package should be completely sealed and unharmed to ensure the integrity of the bearings. In the event that the package is damaged, it is necessary to check the individual bearings for evidence of harm or tampering. The bearing in question should be fully inspected to ensure that no dirt or dust could have compromised the integrity of the bearing. If necessary, the bearing should be carefully washed according to the highest standard washing procedures.

Bearings should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent packing grease from melting and draining to the lower part of the bearing. New bearings should be placed in the back of the stocking shelves to encourage the use of older bearings first. This procedure is necessary for consistency in bearing performance and effectiveness.

Using these procedures, while operating with care when handling and receiving new bearings can help prevent contamination from occurring. Understanding the damage and problems that contamination can cause is the first step in identifying potential problems and issues that can compromise your application.