Maintenance and inspection of bearings

Periodic and thorough maintenance and inspection are indispensable to drawing full performance from bearings and lengthening their useful life.
Besides, prevention of accidents and down time by early detection of failures through maintenance and inspection greatly contributes to the enhancement of productivity and profitability.

15-6-1 Cleaning

Before dismounting a bearing for inspection, record the physical condition of the bearing, including taking photographs.
Cleaning should be done after checking the amount of remaining lubricant and collecting lubricant as a sample for examination.

  • A dirty bearing should be cleaned using two cleaning processes, such as rough cleaning and finish cleaning.
    It is recommended that a net be set on the bottom of cleaning containers.
  • In rough cleaning, use brushes to remove grease and dirt. Bearings should be handled carefully. Note that raceway surfaces may be damaged by foreign matter, if bearings are rotated in cleaning oil.
  • During finish cleaning, clean bearings carefully by rotating them slowly in cleaning oil.

In general, neutral water-free light oil or kerosene is used to clean bearings, a warm alkali solution can also be used if necessary. In any case, it is essential to keep oil clean by filtering it prior to cleaning.
Apply anti-corrosion oil or rust preventive grease on bearings immediately after cleaning.

15-6-2 Inspection and analysis

Before determining that dismounted bearings will be reused, the accuracy of their dimensions and running, internal clearance, fitting surfaces, raceways, rolling contact surfaces, cages and seals must be carefully examined, so as to confirm that no abnormality is present.
It is desirable for skilled persons who have sufficient knowledge of bearings to make decisions on the reuse of bearings.
Criteria for reuse differs according to the performance and importance of machines and inspection frequency.
If the following defects are found, replace the bearing with a new one.

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