Why do bearings fail? This is a common manufacturing question, but one that is not always easy to answer. Failure can be a result of many factors; extreme working conditions, maintenance and lubrication schedules, or industry-specific demands. Early indications of bearing failure can include machinery that is running unevenly, or at an exceptionally loud volume, or with reduced accuracy. There are also some visual signs to look for.
Here are 5 common signs of bearing failure:
- Abrasion - Generally caused by excessive wear and friction against mating hardware.
- Creep - Occurs when there is slipping at the surface fitting.
- Flaking - Particle flaking is common with rolling element bearings.
- Seizure - This often occurs when bearings are overheated from continuous rotation.
- Excessive loads - A bearing with an overloaded capacity is susceptible to premature wear and fatigue.
In most cases, we’ve found that there is an inherent rush to just replace the faulty bearing and move on with production. There’s no time to analyze the root cause of the failure. But by taking the time to understand the cause, you can actually extend the life of the bearing and prevent long-term damage to your equipment. We suggest instituting a regular inspection schedule to avoid bearing failure before it ever happens.
Trying to identity a bearing failure in your application? Our engineering experts can guide you to an answer. To learn more about bearings in general and bearing failure in particular, check out our comprehensive Bearing 101 article.