Tips for Extending the Life of Your Bearings

Make the most out of your bearings by learning how to extend their service life. Here at HCH Bearing Americas, we know how much you depend on your bearings, and our goal as your premier ball bearing suppliers is to meet all of your bearing needs.

Make the most out of your bearings by learning how to extend their service life.

Here at HCH Bearing Americas, we know how much you depend on your bearings, and our goal as your premier ball bearing suppliers is to meet all of your bearing needs. One of those needs is to have quality bearings that you can depend on for years to come. But, regardless of how high quality a bearing is at first, it’s really how you take care of it and use it that determine how long it will last. That’s why we’ve come up with these tips to extend the life of your bearings.

#1. Choose the right bearings.

It may seem obvious, but it’s incredibly important that you choose the proper bearing design for the application. In order for a bearing to last — and in order to function properly in the first place — it must be able to manage the load that is applied to it. It’s also critically important to choose the proper bearing size, which you can determine by reading the manufacturer’s recommendations for your machinery. If you choose the wrong size of bearing, it’ll wear faster and eventually lead to bearing failure.


#2. Install your bearings properly.

If you install your bearings improperly, it can lead to uneven and premature wear, and eventually, you’ll find yourself having to replace your bearings earlier than you thought. When installing bearings, always make it a point to thoroughly read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions.

Bonus Tip - When installing bearings, sheer force won’t do the trick. However, heating the inner race of a roller bearing will expand it, making installation easier.

#3. Actively store your bearings.

In most facilities, bearing spares are minimal, as many facilities have the ability — through either a preventative maintenance schedule or predictive maintenance — to detect potential bearing failure early enough to order and install bearings when they need it. However, some facilities still find themselves with spare bearings on the shelves, and if this is the case in your facility, you’ll want to make sure that you are actively storing your bearings.

If your bearings are just sitting on the shelves, the machinery around them could still cause them to vibrate, which could lead to false brinelling — this occurs when a pattern is etched into the raceways of a bearing due to vibration — and eventually causes premature failure. Storing your bearings actively by occasionally spinning or rotating them will help to prevent false brinelling during storage.


#4. Lubricate bearings properly.

Lubricating your bearings properly and according to the manufacturer’s guidelines is essential to getting a long life out of both the bearings and the machinery as a whole. If you don’t lubricate the bearings enough, the metal in the raceways, retainers and balls will rub up against itself, creating friction that will start to wear down the bearings. If you lubricate your bearings too much, the heat can no longer be dissipated, and it will lead to a build-up of wax, which will make the bearing stick and prevent it from moving properly. Either condition can reduce the efficiency of your processes and your machinery.

In order to properly lubricate your bearings, you’ll want to look at the manufacturer’s guidelines so that you use the right amount of lubricant, as well as the right viscosity. This will help you avoid temperatures that are out of range or extreme, and it will prevent dirt and other debris from contaminating your lubricant and bearings.

#5. Precisely align the machinery.

When your machinery requires repair or maintenance, it’s in your maintenance team’s best interest to get the machine back up and running as soon as they can. But unfortunately, all too often, this means that the machine has not been realigned properly.

If your machine is aligned precisely, it will place an abnormally large amount of wear on your bearings. In addition to causing your bearings to wear down faster, misalignment will also hurt the efficiency and production in your facility, and your machinery will require more energy to operate.

#6. Check your machinery for imbalances.

Imbalances in your machinery can spell trouble for your bearings, even if if the imbalance doesn’t seem to be directly related to the bearings. For example, if the fan gets knocked out of balance, it will increase the load the bearings have to handle, shortening their lives. You can detect imbalances in your machinery using vibration diagnostics equipment.

Imbalances most frequently occur after a repair or maintenance has been completed. Any time machinery is worked on, make it a point to reinstall every component properly. One great way to ensure that you install the component properly is to mark each one before it is removed from the machinery.

A long service life starts with the right bearings.

We hope that these tips will help you get the most out of your bearings. At the end of the day though, if you don’t start with the right bearings, you won’t get the kind of results you deserve. Luckily, you have HCH Bearing Americas on your side. We’re proud to be your premier bearing suppliers, and we produce bearings for a wide range of industries. Whether you build aircrafts, automobiles, trains, motorcycles, lawn mowers, bicycles, agriculture equipment or almost anything else, you can rest assured that HCH Bearing Americas has the right bearings for your needs.

Contact us today to get your quote for custom ball bearings!