Bearings are a critical part of the design and function of most mechanical equipment. Sadly, due to improper selection, storage, and installation, the majority of these components never reach their intended design life. Consequences for a plant from these situations can include compromised equipment operation, lost capacity, and increased costs.
A recent post on the Ludeca (ludeca.com, Doral, FL) blog urged readers not to condemn their equipment to death through improper bearing storage. The author, Trent Phillips, CRL, CMRP, offered a number of best-practice must-dos and don’ts to help facilities ensure bearing reliability.
— Jane Alexander, Managing Editor
Bearing storage must-dos
Do store bearings in a clean, dry, low-humidity environment. Moisture from the environment, work gloves, and other sources can result in corrosion and/or etched sections that create fatigue on a bearing. Avoid storage near direct sunlight, air conditioners, or vents.
• Do eliminate the possibility of shock/vibration during handling and storage.
• Do store bearings on pallets or shelves in areas that aren’t subjected to high humidity or sudden or severe environmental changes.
• Do store bearings flat and never stack them. Lubrication and anti-corrosion material could squeeze out of stacked bearings.
• Do (always) lay bearings on clean, dry paper when handling.
• Do keep bearings away from sources of magnetism.
• Don’t store bearings on the floor. Doing so will introduce contamination, moisture, and vibration/shock.
• Don’t remove bearings from cartons/crates or protective wrappings until just prior to installation in a machine. The exception may be bearings in wooden crates, as they could attract moisture.
• Don’t clean bearings with cotton or similar materials that can leave dust and/or contamination behind. Use lint-free materials.
• Don’t handle bearings with dirty, oily, or moist hands.
• Don’t nick or scratch bearing surfaces.
• Don’t remove any lubrication from a new bearing. Lubricants in stored bearings will deteriorate over time. The bearing manufacturer should specify shelf-life limits. These dates should be noted on the packaging and monitored to help ensure bearings are fit for use when needed. MT
Proper storage techniques are just part of the reliability picture when it comes to bearings. According to Trent Phillips, the following visual inspections of bearing integrity should be completed periodically on stored bearings, and just prior to putting them into service:
Examine packaging for indications that the bearing could have been damaged during shipment or storage. The item should be discarded or returned to the supplier if signs of damage are found.
Examine the grease or oil for evidence of hardening, caking, discoloration, separation, and other problems. Re-lubrication for continued storage or replacement maybe required.
Trent Phillips, CRL, CMRP, is global reliability leader with Atlanta-based Novelis (novelis.com). To read more of his insight on Ludeca’s website (ludeca.com), including Part 1 of the two-part post “Has Your Equipment Been Condemned to Death?” on which this Reliability + Maintenance Center page is based, go to ludeca.com/blog.
In May, we travel to Germany for our plant profile and find about Aquatherm Pipe’s reliability program.
Dodge Motorized Torque-Arm II (MTA II) has expanded to use severe duty Baldor-Reliance motors, as well as standard duty motors, providing users with heavy-duty solutions for tough applications. Assembled to order, the packages can minimize assembly time on site, allowing a facility to be up and running faster. Flexible designs are also available with stock IEC motor adapters to accommodate globally available motors. The MTA reducer features the patented Dodge twin-tapered bushing system that provides a sturdy, concentric grip of the driven shaft on both sides of the reducer. This eliminates the wobble and fretting corrosion associated with straight bore and single-bushed reducers.
Baldor Electric Co.
Fort Smith, AR
The VB45-S bearing isolator provides permanent bearing protection to rotating equipment with protection against contamination ingress and lubrication loss. The device uses the XX interface and an enlarged contamination chamber to achieve an IP66 rating. An enlarged D-Groove captures oil and returns it to the bearing housing or a grease band to block grease from traveling down the shaft and escaping from the bearing housing. A compact design with an overall length of 0.625 in. allows installation often without the need for equipment modifications.
Rock Island, IL
The company’s EasyHeat brand low-profile quick-connection kits use quick-setting silicone and slip-on connectors to eliminate need for a heating fun and shrink tubing. The silicone adhesive can be cold applied and does not require heating to cure. The SRME end-seal kit is for terminating the ends of cables. The SRMP power-end kit is for joining cables inside a power connection box. Both can be used for indoor or outdoor applications.