In a Plant Services article, 6 steps to preventing bearing failure, Emerson’s Brian Overton shares ways to extend bearing life and avoid unplanned shutdowns.
He opens highlighting their importance.
Without effective bearing motion, a machine shaft can fail, and the machine can break down.
His 6 steps include:
- Choose the correct bearing design
- Store bearings actively
- Install bearings properly
- Lubricate bearings according to manufacturers’ guidelines
- Align machinery precisely
- Balance equipment well
Bearings should match the design and load requirements as defined by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM). If not sized correctly:
…you’ll risk premature wear and eventual failure of the bearing.
Spare bearings should not just sit on a shelf until needed. They:
…should be stored actively – in other words, they should be rotated or spun occasionally. Without occasional rotation, they can experience false brinelling, in which bearings etch a pattern into the raceways because of vibration.
From an installation perspective, avoid forcing the bearing into place and use other means such as heat to expand the metal. Once in place:
…give the bearings a good flushing and cleaning out with lubricant.
Ongoing bearing lubrication should be performed per the OEM recommendation. Too much or too little lubricant can reduce lifespan. Diagnostics such as PeakVue technology:
…can monitor lubrication conditions by monitoring stress waves, which are created by friction… When improperly lubricated, a rolling element in a bearing might cause the inner or outer race to deflect and spring back, creating a stress wave. New technology can parse out the frequencies to see the stress wave, leading to the early detection and elimination of bearing anomalies.
Read the article for more on proper equipment alignment and balancing and their role in extending bearing life, as well as more diagnostic tests to perform root cause analysis for persistent bearing issues.
Also, join us at the October 1-5 Emerson Exchange conference in San Antonio, Texas, for several excellent machinery monitoring and protection sessions including:
- Modernizing the Protection System of Critical Assets (Brian will co-present this workshop)
- Vibration Monitoring Best Practices (Brian will be one of 4 panelists in this Meet the Experts session)
- From blind to one-eyed – A story of asset monitoring in cooling towers
- Qatar Shell GTL get insight to its critical LPU Blowers health condition with Pervasive Sensing
- Nutrien Potash Optimization Results + Next Step Advanced Analytics of Operational Data