Bearings are built to last and as such, they should outlast the life of the machine in which they function. So why does this rarely happen? Bearings are such an essential part of so many pieces of equipment and yet they are often the main source of the issue when a problem occurs. There are many reasons that bearings fail but one of the most common comes down to how the bearing is initially installed. Following this guide will ensure that your bearings are always mounted correctly, guaranteeing a longer lifespan for your bearings and your machinery.
Prior to mounting, make sure that you understand and follow-through on storing and handling your bearings correctly. The environment around your stored bearings should be clean, cool and free from humidity, dust and vibrations. As always, cleanliness is vital. Make sure the bearings and your work area are spotless. You should also have your tools on hand and be thoroughly confident with the safety procedures.
Cold mounting, or mechanical mounting, is one of the primary methods to mount a bearing properly. This method is typically used for small- to medium-sized bearings (with outside diameters up to four inches) and requires the use of fitting tools. Don’t be tempted to use a hammer and a pipe for the job; it will just cause unnecessary damage. Fitting tools ensure that the correct amount of force is applied to both the bearing rings and protects the rolling elements from impact. Always make sure you have the correct tools and that they are sized correctly.
Hot mounting involves heating the bearing to allow it to expand and slip into place more easily. While this a popular choice for mounting bearings, if not done with the right technique, this method can be damaging and potentially dangerous. The best way to heat a bearing is with an induction heater. By heating the bearings prior to installation, induction provides better control, efficiency and safety in comparison to the less effective methods such as an open flame, hot oil, hot plates or ovens.
For very large bearings, hydraulic mounting is the most effective method. Hydraulic mounting typically requires the assistance of oil injection, as well as a hydraulic pump and pressure gauge. There are a variety of oil injectors, hydraulic nuts and pumps. Some are even designed specifically for a single type of bearing. They have all proven, however, that this method is very successful in easing the installation process and minimising potential damage.
By understanding the various methods for installing different types of bearings, you’re giving yourself the best opportunity to ensure your equipment lasts as long as it should. If for any reason you’re unsure or need more advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our highly capable team. We are available 24/7 and will always be willing to assist with your needs!