The make-or-break moment when installing bearings


The importance of correct bearing installation is paramount in industrial machinery, particularly where it is subject to arduous and continuous use in demanding industries, says John Bucknell, Founder and Chief Executive of hydraulic tensioning specialist Technofast

Food, beverage, primary processing, timber, sugar, mining, energy, and oil and gas – these are all industries which cannot afford the downtime caused by 16 per cent of all bearing failures, which specifiers attribute to incorrect installation. Maintenance specialists say this is likely to be a big contributor to shorter service life and maintenance safety hazards.

When a new bearing is incorrectly mounted – be it by way of poor fitting, brute installation force, or incorrect tools – it can lead directly to premature and sometimes very swift bearing failure.

A poorly installed bearing is not only a pending production liability in terms of service life, but also in terms of expensive downtime and the OH&S factors involved in getting the worn part out again when it fails prematurely.

Crude approaches may be quick, but they can be nasty and dangerous, risk damage to machinery shafts, and make subsequent bearing failure analysis either difficult or impossible.

But an obstacle to eliminating bearing setting problems in recent times has been restricted supply of proven, cost efficient bearing setting equipment, either because it is not available because of production lapses in the industrial gearing up following Covid, or because delivery has been delayed in stretched supply lines.

Specialist and agile companies now tend to respond to changing market conditions and needs sooner and better than slower older suppliers.