Tips for Bearing Maintenance

Bearings of all types, despite being small parts, play a crucial role in the reliable, long-lasting performance of any aircraft. Sufficient care and maintenance of bearings will extend their lifespan, minimize downtime, and allow them to withstand harsh conditions. All of these factors will inevitably lead to lower costs of ownership for your aircraft. This blog will explain eight tips you can use to ensure the reliable performance of your bearings for a long time.

Handle With Care

Bearings are very precise components and, as such, should be handled, stored, and implemented properly to ensure they are protected from outside debris or contaminants. Bearings should be stored horizontally in a clean, dry, controlled environment with their packaging uncompromised. The environment in which bearings are stored is so important because even the tiniest piece of dirt lodged in the raceway can cause a premature failure. It’s also important not to hammer, pound, or apply any type of harsh, direct force on a bearing or its outer ring, as this can lead to damage and misalignment of any rolling elements within the bearing. If a bearing has been dropped or mishandled in any way, it should not be put into use. Even the slightest crack can hinder the bearing’s function, ultimately leading to premature failure.

Inspect the Bearing Housing and Shaft

Before mounting the bearing, always inspect the physical condition of the intended bearing housing and shaft, checking for damage. Ensure that there are no nicks, burrs, or other imperfections present, and finish by using a soft cloth to wipe the surface clean. After this, the bearing can be safely mounted.

Use the Correct Mounting Method

The correct method of mounting a bearing often depends on the type of bearing. For instance, bearings with cylindrical bores are normally mounted through one of two ways. One is the press-fit method, in which the bearing is mounting by being pressed onto the housing shafts. The other way, shrink-fit, is achieved by heating the bearing to cause it to expand its diameter. Bearings with tapered bores are mounted directly on shafts with the help of tapered sleeves. Note that pressure should only be applied with press-fit bearings. Applying pressure to improperly fit bearings will damage the raceways.

Prevent Direct Heating and Overheating

Exposure to high heats can be very detrimental to bearings. The maximum permitted temperature of bearings depends on the heat treatment of the material. Temperatures above the limit can damage, soften, or deform the bearing’s material, diminishing the load bearing capability of the bearing and leading to failure. It’s also important to be aware that bearings should never be heated with an open flame. In the event you need to heat a bearing, as in shrink-fitting, an induction heater should be used.

Use Proper Tools

Specialized tools for mounting and dismounting bearings include bearing pullers, bearing fitting tool kits, oil injector kits, hydraulic nuts, and induction heaters. It is important to always use the proper equipment when handling bearings. Each of the above tools has a specific role to ensure a smooth mounting or dismounting process and minimize the risk of damage to the bearing. As a rule, avoid general purpose tools when handling bearings.

Prevent Corrosion

If a bearing is exposed to moisture, rust and corrosion will occur over time. This will cause premature wear & tear and affect the performance and productivity of your machine, leading to greater operating costs. When handling bearings, it is best to wear gloves as even the minor perspiration on your hands can lead to corrosion. It is also advisable to use water-resistant grease for bearing lubrication which will function as a protective barrier in addition to its lubricating properties.

Proper Lubrication

Lubrication is critical in ensuring a prolonged lifespan of your bearings. Lubricants are either oil or grease, depending on factors such as environmental conditions, expected temperatures, speed, and load. For the right lubricant, defer to the bearing manufacturer’s recommendations. Failure to use the right lubricant can result not only in bearing failure, but also void of warranty.

Check for Signs of Danger

The final tip is to regularly check your aircraft for evidence of insufficient bearing performance. Excessive noise, increased temperature, and abnormal vibration are all signs of this. Should you come across this evidence, analyze your bearings more closely and replace them as soon as possible if needed.

At Purchasing Management 360, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft bearing parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. Our inventory is made up of items from top quality bearing parts manufacturers such as Eurocopter France, Bell Helicopter, Goodrich Corporation, and General Electric.


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