At Emerson Bearing we know that the service life of your bearing is important and want to help make sure that your bearing doesn’t get worn out too soon. This blog post aims to describe bearing wear and service life to help you get the most out of your bearings.
What is wear?
In a rolling bearing, wear is material abrasion occurring at contact surfaces. The amount of wear that develops depends on the environmental and operating conditions to which the bearing is exposed.
The main causes of wear include: dirt and foreign particles entering the bearing, insufficient lubrication, lubricant deterioration, corrosion caused by water condensation inside the bearing, exposure to corrosive liquids and fumes, and chemically aggressive EP (extreme pressure) lubricant additives.
Why do we worry about wear?
Wear has a detrimental effect on operation and service life, it can increases noise and bearing clearance, which can make a machine run less accurately. If left unchecked, abrasion can create a snowball effect and wear down the contact surfaces of the bearing until it is no longer usable. Early warning signs for wear include scratched raceways, running noise, and running tracks with a dull appearance.
How can you minimize wear on your bearings?
The best way to minimize wear is to make sure that your bearing has good internal lubrication and that the bearing stays as clean as possible. Avoiding exposure to dirt and corrosive materials can significantly minimize the amount of wear that develops.
If your bearing is well lubricated, well-sealed, kept clean, and not overloaded it can run wear free for a long time. However, there are some applications in which it’s really difficult to keep a bearing clean, or where it is difficult to avoid corrosive agents. In these cases it may cost more to keep the bearing clean and wear free then it is to just replace a worn out bearing.
A bearing should be replaced before it fails completely so that operation is not unduly interrupted. The service life of a bearing depends on how quickly wear develops and the severity of the wear. Fatigue life for cases of severe wear should be calculated using Eschmann’s estimation procedure.
To learn more about the causes of bearing wear and how to avoid them, please visit our Bearing Failure Analysis page. It contains valuable information on the different causes of bearing failure and the corrective actions that can be taken to avoid them. Contact us today or visit our Catalog to learn more about how we can help you.