Devices and machinery in virtually every industry rely on bearings or bushings to perform various operations. While all bearings or bushings may fail or wear down eventually, implementing proper procedures for installation and lubrication can significantly extend their lifespan. In this article, you’ll learn common causes of bearings or bushing failure and three crucial steps for minimizing the risk of failure and damage.

Sleeve bronze bearings on a white background, closeup photo with selective focus

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What Causes Bearings or Bushings to Fail?

Bearings or bushings can fail for multiple different reasons, especially when exposed to harsh operating conditions. Common causes of failure include:

  • Corrosion. Moisture and chemicals can corrode the surface of bearings and bushings and degrade the lubricant, which can lead to premature failure.
  • Contamination. Dirt, dust, chemicals, and other environmental contaminants can be introduced to Bearings/Bushings lubricants or assemblies. This can cause the tracks or Bearings/Bushings to fail.
  • Lubrication Issues. Bearings and bushings systems must be carefully matched with the right lubricant (and the right amount of lubrication). Look for lubrication issues such as using the wrong type, not using enough lubricant, or degraded lubricant that has been damaged by excessive heat.
  • Misalignment. Misalignment is commonly caused by contaminated components, bent shafts, and poorly positioned locking nuts. Misalignment can lead to excessive vibration and uneven load distribution, which can cause bushing or bearing failure.
  • Spalling (Fatigue). Fatigue can fracture the bushing or bearing’s surface and start to make pieces break off, leading to failure.

How Can You Prevent Bearing Failure?

Knowing the common causes of bearings and bushings failure makes it easier for industry professionals to implement changes to solve these problems. To avoid premature wear and failure, there are many steps one can take, including:

Selecting the Right Bearings or Bushings

When selecting the proper bearings or bushings for your application, it is crucial to choose the right size and load capacity based on your machinery.

Sleeve bronze bearings on a white background, closeup photo with selective focus

Installing the Bearings or Bushings Properly

Always install each bearings or bushings according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure to use the proper tools during installation and assess the system’s alignment before returning to operations.

Lubricating the Bearings or Bushings According to Manufacturing Guidelines

Every bearing or bushing should receive the right lubricant type and amount based on the manufacturer’s instructions. This is critical for ensuring the bearing or bushing reaches its full-service life with minimal risk of unscheduled downtime or parts fatigue.

Implementing these steps into your standard operating procedures can help reduce the risk of bearing or bushing failure. Keep manufacturer’s guides available for use, and implement a maintenance and lubrication schedule so there’s minimal risk of unexpected lubricant degradation. Proactive maintenance can help prevent costly repairs and delays.

Protect Your Bearing or Bushing to Extend Their Lifespan and Performance

Bearings and bushings are critical components for nearly every industrial process and having worn or broken bushings and bearings can shut down production and create expensive complications. Regularly inspect your bushings and bearings for the common causes of failure we discuss above and implement good maintenance practices to protect your current bushings and bearings systems. Contact our team at Bushings and Bars for high-quality bushings, bearings, and other mechanical parts.

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