A Simple Guide in Keeping Ball Bearings from Failure

January 21, 2016

When bearings function as designed, they’re the very personification of fluid action. Ball bearings, workhorse handlers of radial friction, work as a blur, with the concentrically arranged metal spheres smearing into a single fast-turning whole when regulating rotational forces. It’s a thing of beauty when the operational domain is properly functioning, but, should the bearings fail, then the results can be catastrophic. Avoid this scenario by caring for the bearings and monitoring their condition over time.

Installation and Maintenance 

Multiple forces fight for control when ball bearings are in motion, but the components are so well engineered that they can continue operating happily without any issue. Unfortunately, time is on the side of these assailants, and the bearing will experience wear. Proper design and installation practices minimize this effect, with heavy loads offset by the incorporation of structurally sound materials, and shearing forces negated by a well-configured mechanism, but time still serves to magnify even the smallest of these mechanical influences. A planned maintenance program assesses the bearings on a case-to-case basis, ensuring lubricant levels are satisfactory and abrasive corrosive growths are extinguished before they can spread to the friction-cancelling bearing housings.

Protected Housings 

Adjustable ball bearings use special housing attachments that can finitely “tune” the mounting plates. They reduce fatigue and improve the efficiency of the machinery. Next, environmental conditions play a weighty role in any machinery that’s ruled by moving parts. Vehicle axles and any outdoor equipment that uses some form of shaft arrangement, well, these components will inevitably encounter environmental problems unless an auxiliary mechanism comes to the rescue. A rubber ‘O’ ring, for example, protects bearings and seals the lubricating oil. Imagine a double-sealed housing, a system that adopts a redundancy profile so as to assure corrosion-free operation. A third or even fourth layer of protection in the form of the rubberized seal adds guaranteed protection to the securely sealed and flanged housing assembly.

Know the Threats 

Flaking events occur as the crystalline structure of an alloy collapses. Heavy loads and unwarranted thrust force action is one cause of this breakdown, but corrosion and poor lubrication also play a part in this problem. The list continues, with scoring, smearing, speckling, and scuffing topping the catalog of unfortunate symptoms.

A maintenance strategy helps ensure mounting misalignments are corrected. It ensures lubrication is high and thrust forces are low, but environmental effects must be assessed in addition to the plan if foreign particles and bearing wear are to be countered.

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