How to Achieve Maximum Bearing Life

11 Sep 2019, Posted by McPherson Oil in General, Oil Tips

Every bearing has a maximum service life. The trick is in achieving it. Some of the basics required to achieve maximum bearing life include:

Proper bearing selection: The bearing must be right for the application. More specifically, it must be able to support the required loads, sustain the desired speed, and withstand environmental considerations. Remember, loads are often on several axes. Make sure the bearing type supports these impingements.

Correct installation and alignment: If a bearing is not mounted correctly, it will fail shortly after installation. It’s essential to use proper tools and methods when installing a bearing. Contrary to popular opinion, a hammer is not a proper bearing mounting tool. Alignment is also essential to distribute the load. If not properly aligned, the load will shift or increase, resulting in additional friction and vibration and eventually causing premature fatigue failure.

Proper lubrication: Includes greases and oils, lubrication frequency, duration, and application method. Recently, McPherson Oil worked with its partner ExxonMobil to help a local steel plant decrease their bearing failures by 40%.

Basic condition monitoring: Proper condition monitoring is necessary to deliver maximum life. A good monitoring program establishes baselines and records any changes, including for factors such as temperature, vibration, and more. Good programs also incorporate visual inspection and routine lubricant analysis. Use root cause failure analysis to review each and every bearing failure – and take the lessons learned.

Proper removal and replacement: Eventually, a bearing will fail, and it is important that the bearing is removed correctly without damaging the machine’s permanent parts. If, for example, you damage a shaft when removing a bearing, the imbalance created will affect the new bearing installation. Use proper dismounting tools and methods when removing and replacing a bearing.

How relevant are these six factors in enabling maximum bearing service life?

Well, according to SKF, bearings fail for the following reasons:

Poor fit: Causes 16% of bearing failures, and this is often caused by maintenance and alignment practices.

Poor lubrication: Causes 36% of bearing failures. This is not the same as lubricant failure. If a lubricant is appropriate for the application and also applied at the correct method, frequency and amount, it will not fail. It is when those parameters are violated that poor lubrication results in failure.

Contamination: Causes 14% of failures. To avoid this, choose a bearing with a seal from the environment, as it is necessary to keep the lubricant in and the contaminants out.

Fatigue: Causes 34% of failures. Fatigue most often occurs right after installation or at the end of the normal or rated service life. Our goal is to stop the fatigue failures that occur in “infancy” and to extend “end-of-life fatigue” to the rated

The McPherson Oil team has experts that can help your business increase efficiency while realizing cost savings. Our Industrial Services team has the experience and skills to analyze your lubrication needs and challenges and work with your team to develop workable and cost-effective solutions. Our Industrial Services professionals believe in a partnership approach to improving the operation of your facility. We will meet with your facility management and maintenance personnel to establish goals, objectives, and timelines. We will work with your staff to document savings and cost- avoidances. Additionally, we can conduct an annual business review for your plant lubrication needs to assist you with proactive maintenance plans. We would be happy to schedule a call or in-face meeting at your convenience to help get your equipment working at maximum effectiveness.


Source: “Productivity Tip: How to Achieve Maximum Bearing Life” by Rick Russo for Mobil Industrial Club

About: McPherson Oil has provided the southeast with quality products and services since 1971.  As a proud distributor of ExxonMobil products, we offer these services through our belief in TPM – Total Petroleum Management.  Through our TPM program, McPherson brings a valued-added difference to its customers by meeting all of their petroleum needs. Our commitment to our customers is reflected in our company vision and mission statements. McPherson proudly services Alabama, Arkansas, North and Central Georgia, Mississippi coast, Florida panhandle, Greater Chattanooga Area, the Greater New Orleans Area and Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast.