Predictive maintenance plays a huge part in the overall reliability of your assets. Most of the time, equipment fails because of a bearing or seal failure. Bearing failures are very common, and improper installation of a bearing is one of the biggest reasons it fails. If you don’t do it right, and with the proper tools, you are going to damage the bearing and it is only a matter of when rather than how. Before installing a bearing, you need to have a clean space and all the necessary tools should be with you when you are installing it. You also have to make sure that the storage of the bearing is correct. There are a number of ways that you can go wrong with improper storage and handling of bearings.

Using an Induction Heater for Proper Bearing Installation

Overheating is a huge issue that is often observed while installing a bearing. There are multiple ways to heat a bearing before installation. You can use an oven, or a hot oil bath where you dip the bearing in boiling oil and heat it until you hope you get the right bearing temperature. You can also use a hot plate where you need to keep flipping the bearing over and over to try to get an even temperature on both sides. Another, and by far the best method is to use an induction heater. These come in different sizes, to handle from the smallest to the largest bearings with ease. They use eddy current heating and the system monitors the precise temperature of the bearing for you until it reaches the desired temperature. You need to take proper safety measures in every case.

Induction heaters are also the most efficient in terms of power consumption and the time it takes to achieve the precise temperature that you need. Temperature is the key here and for bearings it should always fall between 220 and 230 degrees F, but never above 250 degrees. Induction heaters are also good for sealed bearings in that they don’t damage the seals or contaminate the new lubricant in the bearing while heating it. Then you have to make sure that the shaft is clean and not damaged. Sometimes, the shaft is compromised when a bearing is removed because brute force was used to remove it. You need to have the proper tools so that you will be able to remove the bearing without damaging the shaft or any other vital component of the machine. You should also make sure that you are installing the right bearing with right tolerances, at the right place and at the right temperature.

The person installing the bearing needs to have just basic training to install it properly, when using a good induction heater. They should know how to operate the induction heater, have knowledge of safety procedures, and proper installation techniques. You should trend this in your facility so that a culture shift toward continuous improvement in your procedures is maintained. The mindset of the personnel is very important here because they are the ones who will have to make these practices consistent with time. Proper bearing installation prevents a lot of failures and saves you lots of time and money in the end. Download our Induction Heating Procedure – A simple and safe procedure for proper bearing installation.

Hear more from Bernd Seidenthal in this podcast by James Kovacevic and learn more about how to avoid bearing failures and the necessary tools you need, the steps, and value of proper bearing installation.

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by Bernd Seidenthal CRL