Views: 4 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2024-01-10 Origin: Site
It’s all in the small details. As fellow engineers will know, bearings have been crucial to make our daily lives smoother. This component has various utilities, from automobiles, farm equipment, everyday household appliances, and aerospace technology.
To ensure bearings perform as intended, it is crucial to ensure their quality remains up to standard for as long as they function to standard. Poor-quality bearings can lead to inefficiencies, unwanted malfunctions, and damage to machinery and equipment - all of which you would want to avoid.
Though this may very well be obvious - the higher the quality of bearings, the more it contributes to a longer equipment service life. So, here’s everything you need to know on how to check the quality and life of bearings.
Bearings are mechanical devices designed to minimize friction between moving parts of machinery or equipment, hence enabling seamless motion. It has two main components: the inner and outer rings. These two rings are usually separated by balls or cylindrical rollers.
Bearings play a critical role in machinery and equipment, including the following.
● Load support
● Friction reduction
● Alignment and accuracy
● Shock and vibration absorption
● Contamination protection
For the main purpose of this article, we will be going through the most common types of bearings that you should know about.
● Ball bearings are the most well-known and common type of them all. It comprises inner and outer rings with (you guessed it) balls in between to enable that smooth motion that reduces friction and supports both radial and axial loads.
● Roller bearings, like ball bearings, are also made up of an inner and outer ring but are separated by cylindrical rollers instead of balls. This feature makes these bearings well-suited to take on heavier radial or axial loads as they help distribute the heavy load more evenly across a larger surface area. These bearings come in multiple designs, including cylindrical, spherical, and tapered.
● Plain bearings keep things simple by having a sliding surface in between the two rings that can still enable friction reduction and smooth, seamless motion between two moving parts. You can usually find them used in steering systems, where their use requires low speed and a lighter load.
● Thrust bearings are specialized to take on axial loads. To put it simply, this type of bearing enables smooth motion in only ONE direction. A common application of these bearings is their use in gears or cars.
Now that you know or refreshed your memory on the basics of bearings, here is your guide on properly checking the quality and life of the bearings you choose.
Poor quality bearings can lead to bad news down the road, which means spotting the signs early on can be a lifesaver. Here is a general overview of common indicators of low-quality bearings:
● Abrasion: Excessive wear and friction against mating hardware can cause abrasion.
● Creep: When there is slipping at the surface fitting, it indicates creep, which can be a sign of bearing failure.
● Flaking: Particle flaking is common with rolling element bearings and can indicate poor quality or lack of proper lubrication.
● Overheating: Bearings that continuously rotate and become overheated may indicate low-quality bearings.
Having a keen eye for detail on these signs is critical to ensure things run smoothly as intended and help you avoid any unwanted mishaps or delays in your daily schedule. Keep these common indicators in your notes, and make sure you regularly check on your bearings to minimize or avoid damages.
While it may sound like a maze of a procedure, it is not as hard as you think. Here is your step-by-step guide on how to check the quality of bearings.
Thoroughly clean your bearings to rid all the dirt, debris, or any other possible contaminants to enable proper examination. Ensure you have the following cleaning essentials:
● Protective gloves and goggles
● Soft brush
● Lint-free cloth
● Container for cleaning solution
● Cleaning solution (e.g., isopropyl alcohol or mild detergent solution)
Watch out for any signs of damage, corrosion, or irregularities. Check the residual lubricant and ensure it is clean and that there are no contaminations or discolorations. Examine the seal for any signs of wear or leaks.
An excellent way to do so is to use these bearings during operations. During this time, pay attention to any overheating, unusual sounds produced, or excessive vibration. These irregularities may very well be distinct signs of poor or lack of quality. Your senses are essential in this step.
Bearings that were forged to the utmost quality would have certifications such as ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 9001 or the ABEC (Annular Bearing Engineers Committee).
These certifications prove that these bearing manufacturers comply with industry standards and regulations while also showing their commitment to a high-quality standard in their craftsmanship.
This is also why doing your due diligence on your chosen manufacturer’s reputation or company image can go a long way to instilling proper foundations for long-lasting, smooth operations in the long run. Though it may be tempting to opt for a low-cost bearing, remember that you are in it for the long game, not having to replace bearings every month with low-quality bearings.
Physically inspecting and measuring can give valuable insight into the bearing’s quality through its size, roundness, and hardness. These factors are indicators of the precision and quality provided by the chosen bearing manufacturer(s).
A standard method to estimate the life of bearings is by using the Basic Rating Calculation, which takes into account factors such as load, speed, and operating hours. For a complete calculation, SKF has its own SKF Bearing Select function to calculate the Basic Rating Life of the bearing.
Note: The Basic Rating Life only serves as an estimate based on ideal conditions, which may differ from actual, everyday situations.
These may include lubrication, contamination, temperature, and load distribution. Proper choice and application of lubricants are crucial to ensure your bearings have a maximized life, so long as it is complemented by little to no excessive temperature fluctuations.
Hence, regular inspection is encouraged to ensure all these operating factors are well accounted for.
Consulting the manufacturer's guidelines is crucial in understanding the specific requirements for bearing life and maintenance. Though the average Joe would typically disregard these guidelines, they provide essential information on how to optimize the bearings’ use, which includes operating limits, maintenance requirements, and which and how much lubrication is needed.
By following these simple guidelines, optimizing your bearings’ life becomes more seamless and gives you the peace of mind you need to take on the more important tasks ahead.
With the knowledge you know now on how to check the quality and life of bearings, this makes it important to know how to make the most of the quality and life of the bearings you choose. You need three crucial practices for proper maintenance: cleaning, lubrication, and inspection.
Cleaning should be a staple to ensure long-lasting bearings. Removing all the debris and unwanted contaminants also means mitigating any malfunctions or damages to your machinery or equipment. If left unnoticed over time, debris and dust would pile up throughout the bearings’ surface and deteriorate the life and functionality of the bearings.
Simple practices such as using the right cleaning tools, solvents, and techniques can serve you and your machinery and equipment to not only last long but to operate efficiently and safely.
This may be an understatement, but is true. Lubricating your bearings with the proper type and amount of lubrication is key to extending the life of bearings. Lubricants aid in friction-reduction by forming a thin film to avoid direct contact between moving parts.
Regularly lubricating the bearings helps refresh this thin film to minimize heat production and prevent any corrosion. Treat it like a small investment of time and effort that can go a long way to help you go about your day more seamlessly and avoid those big maintenance or repair bills.
Preventing is always better than repairing. Having a regular inspection on all the bearings you use is vital to ensure you prevent any escalation of issues. Noticing signs such as excessive heat generation, vibration, or any apparent physical damage is an effective way to prevent unwanted damage.
Doing so enables timely response and action to derail your bearings’ path to deterioration, including replacing bearings entirely or simply re-applying lubricants. Being the one to be proactive and paying close attention to the finest detail can spare you from mishaps that would compromise your finances, performance, and safety.
Bearing this far in the article indicates your commitment to your craft. By keeping these guidelines and pointers in mind, you’re all set to be the bearer of long-lasting bearings! Though some of these points mentioned may be things you already know, these seemingly mundane tasks should not be overlooked.
To quickly wrap up, make sure you regularly clean off any dirt, re-lubricate, and thoroughly inspect your bearings to maximize their utility and longevity.