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Course 204-500 11/01/06

Rolling Element Bearing Maintenance Exercise Guide

Exercise E204-S06-EXR-DFT.wpd

Bearing Failure and Analysis


Objective
Given the troubleshooting charts in the SKF Bearing Maintenance Handbook on pages 54 through 81, find the solutions to common bearing problems.

Performance Standard
Demonstrate the ability to define the concepts and terms that appear in italics in this exercise with 100% accuracy. Demonstrate the ability to identify the major categories of bearing failures and their possible solutions, using the charts in the SKF Manual.

Foundation Competencies
Basic understanding of rolling element bearing terminology and bearing types (Exercises E204-S01 and E204-S02) Basic knowledge of bearing maintenance pre-checks (Exercise E204-S05)

Required Background Reading


IPTs Industrial Trades Training Manual (DAC, #510-000), pages 235-239 SKF Bearing Maintenance Handbook (DAC, # 512-002), pages 54-81

Optional
W atch videos on Ball Bearing Maintenance and Failure Analysis (ITI) DAC# 020-130

2006 Design Assist ance Corporation

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Course 204-500 11/01/06

Rolling Element Bearing Maintenance Exercise Guide

Tools Required
None

Components Required
None

Introductory Discussion
Bearing failure is recognized as one of the most common problems in mechanical equipment. Bearing failure can be the result of a bearing nearing its projected life, or wearing out. More often than not, bearing failure is caused by manufacturing and shipping defects, careless handling, selection of the wrong bearing type for the application, lubricant failure, improper mounting, environmental contamination, electrical discharge, or other factors of misuse. Most modern bearings have long service lives, longer than the machines on which they are installed, and will not wear out before their life expectancy unless they are contaminated or misused. In the real world, most bearings will not reach their optimum operating life, and most will have operational problems at one time or another. Bearing failure symptoms must be recognized early if serious damage to the bearing and machinery on which the bearing is used is to be avoided. Since bearings are precision instruments, even slight damage to the bearing during installation or dismounting can cause significant damage to the bearing when it is put into operation, and as a result, serious consequences to the machinery on which the bearing is used. Being aware of problems quickly can mean that damage will be minimal, or can be avoided altogether in some cases. Since bearing problems can lead to problems with the machinery, correcting the problems early is important to the success of the machinerys operation. For example, a bearing problem in the press room of a newspaper could result in blurred type. Bearing failures can be categorized generally as from contamination , fatigue failure , overloading , faulty installation , careless handling , electric action , brinelling , false brinelling , lubrication problems , and seal problems . Problems with lubrication cause about 40 percent of bearing problems, while mounting problems account for about 30 percent and environmental causes account for about 20 percent of the problems with bearings. Mechanical problems cause about 10 percent of all bearing problems, and only one percent are due to metallurgical problems, such as poor race finishes.

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Course 204-500 11/01/06

Rolling Element Bearing Maintenance Exercise Guide

The usual mode of failure of an anti-friction bearing is by flaking, or the loss of fine layers of surface material from the bearings races or rolling elements. Bearing stress causes metal fatigue, which in turn causes microscopic cracks in the metal surfaces of the bearing, and, ultimately, flaking. In other cases, damage can occur to the bearing if it seizes when first put into service. W hen the rolling elements fail to roll, excessive friction produces heat, which damages the bearing. The bearing may be damaged only slightly or not at all if seizing is detected immediately and the bearing is stopped from rotating. Seizing results from improper mounting, insufficient clearances, or excessive loading. Improper mounting can cause cracking of the races, rollers, or balls. Sharp impacts during rotation or strong vibrations can also cause cracking of bearing parts. W hen an electrical current passes through a bearing, erosion will occur. The uneven surfaces produced shorten bearing life. Using the senses can assist in detecting bearing problems. LISTEN for abnormal sounds. Bearings that are in good operating condition purr. Squeaking, grinding, and other noises point to a problem. MEASURE the temperature of the bearing and other machine components. A rise in temperature can mean problems with lubrication, overloading, clearances, or seals. LOOK for signs of wear, which may indicate that bearings are not properly lubricated, or that seals are not intact.

Performance Steps
Step 1. Using the IPT Training Manual, identify and define the major causes of bearing failure. Contamination is one of the most common causes of bearing failure and includes dirt or moisture introduced through faulty procedures, contaminated lubricants and fittings, faulty seals, etc. Fatigue failure is failure caused when bearing life has been reached or nearly reached, or when another factor causes premature cracks and flaking of the bearing races. Overloading beyond the bearing capacity produces symptoms similar to fatigue failure. Faulty installation is characterized by bad fits, housings and shafts out of round, etc.
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2006 Design Assist ance Corporation

Course 204-500 11/01/06

Rolling Element Bearing Maintenance Exercise Guide

Misalignment occurs when the bearing housing and shaft are not parallel. Careless handling includes poor storage conditions, assembly, and installation, or dropping the bearing. Electric action occurs when electric current passes through the bearing from the frame to the shaft. Brinelling , or ball denting of the non-rotating bearing, is caused by excessive pressure on the races by the balls, usually by hammering or fitting to a tight housing. False brinelling of the non-rotating bearing is caused by vibration of shafts during transport or vibration caused by another unit operating in close proximity to the bearing. Lubrication problems are caused by too much or too little lubricant, the wrong lubricant, lubricant leaks, or contaminated lubricant. Seal problems are caused by improper selection of seals, or damaged and worn seals. Using the troubleshooting tables in the SKF Bearing Maintenance Handbook, identify the possible source(s) of the following bearing problems, and their solutions. Note: More than one condition can contribute to bearing problem(s) or symptom(s).

Step 2.

Bearing is noisy and performs unsatisfactorily. Bearing is noisy, requires too-frequent replacement, vibrates, and performs unsatisfactorily. Bearing is noisy, requires too-frequent replacement, vibrates, performs unsatisfactorily, and the shaft is difficult to turn. Bearing is overheated and the shaft is difficult to turn.

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Course 204-500 11/01/06

Rolling Element Bearing Maintenance Exercise Guide

Bearing is overheated, noisy, and replacements are too frequent. Bearing is overheated, noisy, requires too-frequent replacement, performs unsatisfactorily, and the shaft is difficult to turn.

Summary
You have now learned how to identify the major bearing problems you might encounter and their possible solutions. By understanding the many factors that can contribute to bearing failures, you now have a more complete understanding of the importance of ensuring that the appropriate bearing is selected for a particular application, that environmental conditions are appropriate, that the bearings and components are clean and not damaged, and that appropriate tools, materials, and techniques are used for bearing installation and maintenance. By following proper procedures and exercising care in handling, installing, and maintaining bearings, most damage to bearings can be prevented. Thus, machinery will have problemfree operation for a much longer period of time. Preventing bearing failures is usually less costly and requires less time than diagnosing and correcting bearing problems after they happen.

Optional Tasks
Check bearings at your site for signs of wear and damage, and use the tables in the SKF Manual to identify possible causes and their resolution.

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Course 204-500 11/01/06

Rolling Element Bearing Maintenance Exercise Guide

Resources
Basaraba, Bruce M., IPTs Industrial Trades Training Manual. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: IPT Publishing and Training, Ltd., 1989. Bearing Failures & How To Prevent Them, NTN Bearing Co., Ltd., Japan Maintenance Technology, Managing Bearing Installation, September 1995, pp. 27-30. Power Transmission Distributors Association, Power Transmission Handbook. 1st ed. Cleveland, Ohio: Penton Custom Publishing Group,1993. Reliability Magazine, June 1996, A Quick Method of Determining Root Causes and Corrective Actions of Failed Ball Bearings. SKF Group, SKF Bearing Maintenance Handbook. Denmark: SKF, 1996.

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Course 204-500 11/01/06

Rolling Element Bearing Maintenance Exercise Guide

Review Questions
Answer the following questions from the Industrial Trades Training Manual, (DAC, #510-000) at the end of Section 4. Circle the correct answer or write the answers in the space provided. Name: Date:

#52

Identify three basic symptoms of bearing failure. (a) (b) (c) . . .

#53

Equally spaced dents in a bearings raceways that are caused by machinery vibration is called: (a) (b) (c) (d) brinelling overloading false brinelling fatigue failure

#54

Identify five lubrication problems which often cause bearings to fail. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) . . . . .

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