By applying the right maintenance practices and using the correct tools, not only the bearing’s service life can considerably be extended but also availability and performance of the auxiliary machinery on-board.
Mounting is one of the critical stages of the bearing’s lifecycle. If the bearing is not mounted properly using the correct method and tools, the bearing’s service life will be reduced. Individual applications may require mechanical, heat or hydraulic mounting methods for correct and efficient bearing mounting. Selecting the correct mounting technique for the application will help extend the bearing’s service life and reduce costs resulting from premature bearing failure, as well as potential damage to the application.
Correct bearing lubrication is an essential step in reaching the bearing’s service life. It is important to select grease suitable for the bearing’s application, and to apply the correct quantity before commissioning the bearing. During operation, delivering the right quantity of the right grease at the right intervals is essential to achieving optimum bearing performance and maximum service life. Continuous re-lubrication can be performed by using automatic lubricators, which provide a more consistent, correct and contamination-free grease supply, compared to manual re-lubrication methods.
After the bearing has been mounted in an application such as a motor connected to a pump, the application should be aligned. If the application is not properly aligned, the misalignment can cause the bearing to suffer additional load, friction and vibration. These can accelerate fatigue and reduce the service life of the bearing and other machine components. Furthermore, increased vibration and friction can significantly increase energy consumption and the risk of premature failures.
Basic condition monitoring
During operation, it is important to regularly inspect the condition of the bearing by performing basic condition monitoring measurements. These regular inspections will allow the detection of potential problems and help prevent unexpected machine failures. Consequently, machine maintenance can be planned to suit the production schedule, increasing the plant’s productivity and efficiency.
At some point, the bearing will reach the end of its service life and will have to be replaced. The use of proper dismounting methods and tools will help prevent damage to other machine components, such as the shaft and housing; otherwise, the service life of the replacement bearing would be compromised. Last but not least, incorrect dismounting techniques can be hazardous to maintenance personnel.
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