What are bearings?
Bearings are machine components used in a wide range of industrial applications, where rotation between different components with low friction is desired. Proper lubrication is necessary not only for the proper operation of the machine, but also for the extension of the useful life of its various components.
What are the common causes of lubrication failure?
In general, improper lubrication and the use of unsuitable lubricant are the most common reasons why bearings do not work properly. The term “improper lubrication” includes, inter alia, the incompatibility of the lubricating oil with the surfaces and other oils present in the system (for example, another lubricant) or improper fluidity. The user must also know how much lubricant is needed, as there is an optimal amount for which friction values are kept to a minimum. Indeed, too much lubricant can lead to excessive heat accumulation in the contact during operation, while an insufficient amount could lead to higher friction values. Lubricant contamination could also play an important role in accelerating bearing failure.
The purpose of the bearing lubrication is to cover the rolling and sliding contact surfaces with a thin layer of oil, sufficient to avoid direct contact between the metal surfaces. If done effectively, friction and heat production will be reduced. In addition, proper lubrication of a bearing will prevent rust and corrosion from appearing on its surfaces and contamination. Eventually, the useful life of the bearing will be extended.