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The Bearing 411

Four money-saving preventive maintenance tips for your bearings. Image “Save Money” by 401(K)2013. Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 2.0

4 Money-Saving Preventive Maintenance Tips for your Bearings

Be honest, did you make any resolutions this year? According to the University of Scranton, 45% of Americans will make a New Year’s Resolution. 47% of those resolutions are related to self-improvement or education and 34% are related to money. If you haven’t made a resolution yet, we have one that aligns with self-improvement (for your business), education (for your workers), and saving money—bearing maintenance! 

 

Photo Credit: "Save Money" is licensed under CC BY 2.0

 

Completing preventive maintenance for your bearings may not be the most exciting resolution to make, but we all know that unplanned maintenance and outages cost you money. Outages can happen when inadequately maintained bearings fail, and may not be discovered until later (after potentially costing you thousands of dollars). Think about the last unplanned downtime at your company-- could it have been prevented? 

Bearings, like all other wear parts, are not meant to last forever. So having a routine maintenance plan can help maintain their proper life. We want to help you keep your resolution this year, so get started today with these four preventative maintenance tips for your bearings. 

1. Create a maintenance schedule for bearing lubrication & replacement

Make sure that you are using the proper lubricate for your application (when the bearings can be re-lubricated)

-Greases with an NLGI rating of 2 are commonly found in normal bearing applications 
-Oils, solid lubricants, specialized plating and graphite can also play a role in many other applications
-Motor rolling-element bearings: Lubrication & maintenance
-Not sure? Ritbearing engineers can help narrow the selection process and provide you with the correct grease for your application

Know the proper lubrication amount

-Too little or too much grease can affect the life of a bearing
-Too much grease can cause seal failures or overheat a bearing by increasing the torque
-In general, most fill rates are at 25-35% of the available space within the bearing

Follow the recommended lubrication cycle

-More frequent lubrication may be required based on application specifics
-Excessive clearances, contaminants, heat and vibrations are all factors that create the need for more frequent lubrication

 

Replace bearings on schedule (before failure)

-Consider environmental conditions and load amounts that may reduce bearing life and adjust replacement schedules accordingly
-High temperatures, improper mounting, and corrosion are a few other factors that may lead to early bearing replacement. We will discuss these and other factors that can lead to bearing failure in our next series of blog posts

2. Inspect bearings on a regular basis

-Train maintenance team and operators to identify the early stages of bearing failure 
-Prevent premature mounted bearing failure  

3. Replace bearings at minimal cost

-Use planned downtime. If you don’t have a planned downtime for maintenance, add it to your calendar now so you can take necessary steps to help prevent unplanned outages.
-Make sure you are on a regular maintenance schedule

4. Make sure the bearings used in your machinery have been properly selected and sized to match the application

-Properly selected and sized bearings will operate with a long and predictable life- and lower risks of failure and downtime (which saves you money)
-Talk to an application engineer to make sure you have the right bearings for your application We hope these tips help you save money this year by preventing unplanned downtime. If you have any questions about your specific bearing application and its proper maintenance plan contact us, we are happy to help.

 

What preventive maintenance tips have worked best for you in your industry/application? Leave us your thoughts in the comments below.