Reasons for Rolling Bearing Failure

There are 6 principle reasons why rolling bearings fail:

1 Solid Contamination:

  • Contaminants introduced into bearing because greasing equipment and grease nipples were not cleaned prior to use
  • Contaminants working back into the bearing from worn or poorly purged seals
  • Foreign matter such as dust and grit in the grease from poorly handled and stored greases

2 Unsuitable Lubricant:

  • Grease applied which has lubricant properties unsuited to the application
  • Grease which is incompatible with the existing grease being applied during re-greasing causing lubricant break-down

3 Insufficient Lubricant:

  • Dry running bearings
  • Bearings with insufficient lubricant to protect against shock or vibration
  • Insufficient re-greasing to remove grease degraded from water contamination
  • Insufficient re-greasing to remove grease degraded from heat and oxidisation

4 Aged Lubricant:

Greases have a finite life. Over time oil will be lost from the grease base which acts in the style of a sponge to hold the oil and accommodate movement of the grease within the moving bearing elements; lubricants and oils become oxidised and harden over time – this process may be accelerated due to heat, load, speed, vibration, water contamination.

5 Water Contamination:

This may occur from water (or other liquids) entering bearings which are operating in wet conditions, from humidity, or condensation occurring as a result of large temperature cycles from hot to cold/cool conditions creating conditions which allow a condensate to form in the housing. Water contamination will lead to corrosion and a break down in the greases lubrication properties.

6 Other Breakdown Causes:

  • Poor fitting, poor alignment, loads and speeds outside bearing design parameters, and normal wear and tear occurring to bearings and seals.
  • Incorrect (or not ideal) bearing selection. Thus the cause of a premature bearing failure could be the selection of the bearing in the first place.

© Milton Holmes 2010

Contact Delta Distribution Pty Ltd

Thank you for your enquiry! Delta Distribution Pty
Ltd will be in touch as soon as possible.

Sorry, there seems to have been an error.
Please double check your details and try again.

Related Articles

More Articles From Delta Distribution Pty Ltd