MRO Magazine

Bearing build-up

Troubleshooting rolling element bearing problems and determining their root cause of failure are often difficult, because many failure types look very similar. The ability to correctly troubleshoot an...


February 1, 2006
By Bill Roebuck, Editor & Associate Publisher

Troubleshooting rolling element bearing problems and determining their root cause of failure are often difficult, because many failure types look very similar. The ability to correctly troubleshoot and recognize the root cause of bearing problems will lead to the right conclusions with regard to the bearing failure.

Bearings are a topic we cover in pretty much every issue of this magazine. That’s because you’d be hard pressed to find a piece of machinery that doesn’t use them. And when there’s big trouble that puts the maintenance team on high alert, it’s often bearings that are to blame.

Among our usual columns and sections, and our cover feature on compressor troubleshooting, this issue of Machinery & Equipment MRO features a Product News section on what’s new in bearing innovations. And there’s more to come — you’ll be able to learn how to troubleshoot bearings effectively when you read the upcoming April issue.

How many times have you heard the comment, even by knowledgeable and well-meaning engineers and technicians, “This bearing failed prematurely because it was defective.” But the fact is that today, manufacturing defects in rolling element bearings make up less than 1% of the millions of bearings in use around the world and this small defect percentage is being reduced continually by improvements in manufacturing techniques and bearing materials.

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Even so, it’s true that all bearings have their limits. That can be calculated. Yet only a small fraction of all the bearings in use fail because they have reached their material fatigue limit. The fact is, the vast majority of bearings can outlive the machinery or component in which they are installed. Surprised?

So why do bearings fail before their time?

In our April issue, maintenance expert and MRO contributing editor Lloyd (Tex) Leugner will explain the reasons why. He’ll reveal how to troubleshoot the top causes of rolling element bearing problems.

Looking further ahead, later issues this year will focus on infrared thermography, severe-service maintenance, hand and power tools, motors and generators, and many more topics of interest to the MRO team.

Even though our editorial platform is well planned for 2006, we always have room for a few more good ideas, and for those, we welcome your suggestions. Don’t hesitate to drop us a line at any time, either by phone at 416-510-6749, by e-mail at letters@mromagazine.com, or by mail (12 Concorde Pl., Suite 800, Toronto, ON M3C 4J2). We look forward to your comments.