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It seems that every maintenance department has at least one Hercules that uses more muscle than technique to complete maintenance activities.  Brute force and strength are occasionally required to complete a task.  Having Hercules around is important when those moments arise.

However,  applying care and good technique are usually better. Over 90% of rotating equipment has defects at startup that result in equipment failure.  One of the reasons arises from making bearing installation a herculean task and not using proper technique.  Excessive force applied during bearing installation can introduce defects that lead to premature equipment failure.  Instead of beating the bearing on with a sledge hammer, gently heat it up on an induction heater, automatically demagnetize it, and then slip it on. If Hercules did the job, then the bearing and equipment are doomed to failure from the moment of startup.  This results in increased maintenance cost, increased risks, increased equipment downtime.

Installing equipment bearings should not be a herculean task.  Instead, proper technique and best practice should be applied to correctly install bearings.  Induction bearing heaters like SURETHERM can help eliminate induced bearing defects due to poor fitting and improper mounting techniques.  Induction bearing heaters provide increased safety, increased efficiency and reduce the risk of bearing contamination and damage that can result from using brute strength, oil baths, blow torches or other improper methods to heat bearings for proper installation.

by Trent Phillips

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 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 overtime. 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 maybe required.

Miss Part 1 of 2? Here it is: Has your Equipment Been Condemned to Death? Proper Lubrication

by Trent Phillips CRL CMRP - Novelis