Bearings are a critical part of the design and function of most mechanical equipment. The majority of bearings never reach their intended design life due to improper selection, storage, and installation. Unfortunately, this results in compromised equipment operation, lost capacity, and increased costs. Do not condemn your equipment to death through improper bearing storage practices. Below are a few storage tips to help your facility ensure bearing reliability:
- Store bearings in a clean, dry, and low humidity environment (moisture from the environment, gloves, etc can result in corrosion and/or etched sections creating fatigue on the bearing.) Avoid storage near direct sunlight, air conditioners, or vents.
- Eliminate shock/vibration.
- Do not store bearings on the floor (will introduce contamination, moisture, and vibration/shock.)
- Store bearings on a pallet or shelf in an area not subjected to high humidity or either sudden or severe environmental changes.
- Store bearings flat and do not stack them (lubrication and anti-corrosion material may squeeze out.)
- Do not remove bearings from carton/crate or protective wrappings until just prior to installation in the machine (be careful of bearings in wooden crates as these could attract moisture – perhaps best to remove them from those cases.)
- Do not clean bearings with cotton or similar materials that can leave dust and/or contamination behind (use lint-free materials.)
- Do not handle bearings with dirty, oily, or moist hands.
- Do not nick or scratch bearing surfaces.
- Always lay bearings on clean, dry paper when handling.
- Keep bearings away from sources of magnetism.
- Do not remove any lubrication from a new bearing.
- Lubricant 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.
- The following visual inspections of bearing integrity should be completed periodically and just prior to use:
- Examine packaging for indications that the bearing could have been damaged during shipment or storage. The bearing 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, etc. Re-lubrication for continued storage or replacement may be required.
Miss Part 1 of 2? Here it is: Has your Equipment Been Condemned to Death? Proper Lubrication