The conditions under which bearings and seals are stored can have an adverse effect on their performance. Inventory control can also play an important role in performance, particularly if seals are involved. Therefore, SKF recommends a "first in, first out" inventory policy.
To maximize the service life of bearings, SKF recommends the following basic housekeeping practices:
- Store bearings flat, in a vibration-free, dry area with a cool, steady temperature.
Control and limit the relative humidity of the storage area as follows:
- 75% at 20 °C (68 °F)
- 60% at 22 °C (72 °F)
- 50% at 25 °C (77 °F)
- Keep bearings in their original unopened packages until immediately prior to mounting to prevent the ingress of contaminants and corrosion.
- Bearings that are not stored in their original packaging should be well protected against corrosion and contaminants.
Shelf life of open bearings
SKF bearings are coated with a rust-inhibiting compound and suitably packaged before distribution. For open bearings, the preservative provides protection against corrosion for approximately three years, provided the storage conditions are appropriate.
Shelf life of sealed bearings
The maximum storage interval for sealed SKF bearings is dictated by the lubricant inside the bearings. Lubricant deteriorates over time as a result of ageing, condensation, and separation of the oil and thickener. Therefore, sealed bearings should not be stored for more than three years.