Bearings are a crucial component of mechanical equipment. They’re vital because they assist shafts in rotating and reduce friction between the connected moving parts. Machines that need bearings include cars, trucks, generators, vacuum cleaners, and air conditioners, among others.
Mounted bearings typically support a rotating shaft that can be mounted to a machine frame. They come in different shapes and sizes. Therefore, when shopping for mounted bearings, you need to choose the features that suit your application. Consider this bearing as an example. Pillow block bearings, the most common type of mounted bearings, are typically used in conveyor belt rollers.
The other types of mounted bearings are flange bearings, cylindrical cartridges, and take-up units. Regardless of the type of bearings, you need to learn how to maintain them properly to ensure optimum performance and longevity. Below are some tips for proper maintenance of mounted bearings.
1. Handle Them With Extra Care
Bearings might be made of steel, but they’re delicate nonetheless. Therefore, you must handle them with appropriate care. Remember, these are precision components and should be stored properly to prevent contaminants from entering and affecting their efficiency. Contamination could lead to premature bearing failure.
Also, try not to use blunt force to pound the outer ring of any bearing because this could lead to misalignment. So as a general rule, bearings shouldn’t be removed from their original packaging until they’re ready to be installed.
2. Inspect The Bearing Housing And Shaft
Before attempting to mount the bearing, carefully inspect the bearing housing and shaft for any visible physical damage. You may have to reconsider using that bearing if you notice any damage.
The bearing housing and shaft must be intact. If you notice any dirt on either surface, use a soft cloth to wipe it off until clean.
3. Mount Them Correctly
Different bearings will have different mounting methods. So, you should ensure you're mounting a bearing correctly. For example, when working with radial ball bearings, you could use sliding or tight press fits to mount it. Cylindrical bores like roller bearings are also typically mounted using the press fit method.
However, note that factors like the type of load, speed, and vibration levels can determine the pressure with which these bearings should be mounted. Applying the incorrect amount of pressure to bearings could damage the moving or rolling elements in the bearing. Also, you should be able to distinguish whether a loose or tight fit is required.
4. Use The Right Tools
You must utilize the correct tools when mounting or dismounting bearings. Such specialized tools include bearing pullers, oil injector kits, and induction heaters. If you use the wrong tools, you may damage the bearings. Therefore, you must avoid using general tools when dealing with bearings.
5. Ensure Proper Lubrication
Bearings have a lot of moving parts since they’re designed to reduce friction and transfer motion. That’s why they need proper lubrication. Lubrication failure is a common cause of bearing failure. This is when you apply too much or too little lubricant to the bearing.
The ideal lubricant is determined by environmental factors, temperature, speed, and load. For example, the amount of lubricant for greasing trailer bearings will likely differ from the amount needed to grease bicycle wheels.
Therefore, it would be best to follow the instructions. Or, you could ask a mechanic or bearing specialist how much lubricant or grease will be required for your project. Remember, proper lubrication plays a significant role in prolonging the life of the bearings in general.
6. Avoid Overheating
If you heat a bearing above the temperature it’s designed to tolerate, you risk deforming it beyond repair. Overheating may also soften the bearing, significantly reducing its load bearing capacity.
When checking the bearing during maintenance, inspect for any discoloration of the rings. This could be a sign of overheating. Also, always use an induction heater, not a flame when heating bearings.
7. Prevent Corrosion
It’s common for bearings to succumb to corrosion once exposed to moisture. Therefore, you must protect bearings from moisture, perspiration, and other liquids because these could cause them to rust. A rusty bearing is not efficient and will likely lead to equipment failure. Therefore, you may want to consider stainless steel bearings as they tend to withstand corrosion more than other types.
You must conduct regular maintenance for your mounted bearings as bearing failure could cause the machine to fail. Therefore, keep the points mentioned above in mind. However, if you have technical concerns about the proper maintenance of these precision components, contact an expert for advice.