Four ways to take care of bearings

Companies need to take care of their bearings because they can cause lasting damage to an electric motor if they don't. Best practices include proper storage and maintenance and avoiding counterfeit bearings.

By David Manney, L&S Electric October 14, 2016

Electric motors are going to constitute of the largest assets in any industrial facility, which means keeping problems to a minimum is important. Maintaining an electric motor should be part of a preventive maintenance program and there are many potential issues involved with an electric motor. Possible bearing damage is a key factor that cannot be overlooked because it could result in major failure, unexpected downtime, and become a considerable business expense. Here are four aspects companies should watch out for.

1. Counterfeit bearings

There are many issues with using counterfeit bearings, but the key issue is this: You’re not getting what you’re paying for. Purchasing something that is passing itself off as another company’s likely means the quality of the item is much lower.

Counterfeit bearings are more likely to wear down, which will result in motor failure and perhaps other difficult. Companies may be saving money in the short term by purchasing the inexpensive versions, but in reality, companies will likely be paying even more in the long run.

2. Bearing contamination

Another big issue may include bearings that are contaminated with foreign matter such as dirt, grit, steel chips, or water. These need to be removed immediately to ensure problems are kept to a minimum. If they aren’t, other problems associated with contamination include bearing misalignment, improper mounting, electrical damage, bearing fatigue, and corrosion.

3. Storing and handling bearings

Don’t overlook the way bearings are handled and stored before they are used. They are precise components and the tolerances are extremely small. If they aren’t handled and stored properly, the bearings could have problems from the start.

Contamination during operation is a big problem, but it’s just as big an issue during handling and installation. Cleanliness is impreative because if anything enters the housing, it could end up being an abrasive problem that significantly reduces the lifespan of the bearing.

4. Keep the bearings in the original packaging

When the manufacturer ships the bearing, they are in a specific type of packaging. The packaging includes a rust preventive designed to eliminate the possibility of corrosion. Since the packaging is compatible with most types of grease or oils, it isn’t necessary to remove them until they’re ready to be installed. Doing so increases the possibility that the bearings could be contaminated.

When bearings are shipped from the manufacturer, they are shipped in a specific type of packaging. The package includes a rust preventative to eliminate the possibility of corrosion. Since the packaging is compatible with most types of grease or oils, it is not necessary to remove them from the packaging up until the time that they are installed. Doing so would increase the possibility that you could introduce contaminants to them.

The bearings should be stored flat in a dry, cool, and vibration free-area. Control the environment in the area where they are stored. Keep relative humidity and temperatures at the proper level.

Bearing that are stored properly in their sealed original packaging lasts for years. Make sure to rotate the stock of new bearings regularly to reduce the possibility of bearing damage as a result of the breakdown in lubrication during storage.

– David Manney is a marketing administrator at L&S Electric. This article originally appeared on L&S Electric Watts New Blog. L&S Electric Inc. is a CFE Media content partner.

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