Guest post by Kasey McClain, Mechanical Engineer at Pioneer Engineering
Everyone knows that lubrication is crucial to the life of a bearing. Two common types of bearing lubrication are grease and oil. I commonly see oil bath lubrication and oil mist along with grease lubrication. One of the biggest problems that I have encountered with greased bearings is over greasing. When installing a new bearing assembly, it is important to note whether the bearings are pre-greased by the manufacturer. Over greasing will not allow the heat to dissipate from the bearing which will cause the bearing to expand and cause a tolerance stack-up which may then show bearing defects. This may also cause an existing defect to progress, decreasing the life of the bearing. With an oil bath lubrication system, too much oil can be just as detrimental as too little oil.
With too little oil, the slinger ring, or whichever component carries the oil, will not be submerged in the oil and will not be able to lubricate the necessary components. With too much oil, some of the components may not get the lubrication necessary. Oil mist systems have been shown to eliminate the issue of too much or too little oil.
However, running the mist system low on oil will cause the components to not be lubricated. Also, the oil misters can become clogged which would lead to a lack of necessary lubrication. This is why regular lubrication monitoring is necessary to keep equipment running smoothly for as long as possible. Attention to detail is essential in all aspects of machinery maintenance.