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Temperature can be monitored using thermocouples

Feb 4 '16 | By Alebo | Views: 89 | Comments: 0

When slewing bearings fail, machine downtime usually leads to high costs and lost production time. Fortunately, catastrophic failures of the mechanical seals are rare. Most often, distinct symptoms indicate that bearing damage occurs long before the bearing actually fails. More important, a methodology that addresses the symptoms of slewing bearing damage should be implemented as soon as possible.

Experience has shown that damage to, and subsequent failure of, the bearing is seldom due to faults in the bearing. It is more often due to the treatment the bearing received or the use to which it was put.

The first sign of damage is frequently indicated by unusual operating behavior such as uneven running, reduced working accuracy, unusual running noises or any combination of the three. It is critical to record these early indicators, as information gained in this early period of degradation can be very useful in identifying the root cause of a problem. As the labyrinth seals becomes more damaged, root cause analysis becomes increasingly difficult.

The key to detecting early signs of a problem is effective condition monitoring. For many applications, monitoring by the machine operator is usually sufficient to detect unusual noises at an early stage. In situations where downtime is critical or hazardous, more formalized monitoring might be required, for example, assessing lubricant cleanliness and measuring slewing bearing temperature and vibration analysis.

The type of condition monitoring used depends on the experience of previous failures and the production environment in which the bearing is used. the Bearing damage can generally be classified as localized or widespread. The first is usually restricted to specific locations on the plastic seals. This can take the form of indentations caused by rolling elements, corrosion or fractures. It can be recognized most easily using a combination of vibration and lubricant monitoring. Vibration methods reliably detect fatigue damage at any early stage but are not suitable for detecting lubrication problems.

Widespread damage is often the result of an insufficient supply of clean lubricant. Failures of this type can be detected by monitoring the lubricant supply. Oil flow can be monitored for pressure, flow and cleanliness. A magnetic plug in the lubricant supply system gives a crude indication of lubricant condition, while a spectrophotometric or ferrographic analysis can be used to provide a more precise check.

Temperature can be monitored using thermocouples and gives a very reliable indicator of impending bearing problems. Normally a system reaches a steady-state temperature and shows a sudden rise when there is a lack of lubricant. The temperature typically rises unevenly over time if the grease is deteriorating.

When a damaged flanged bearing housing has to be removed, the cause must be established to avoid future failures. Inspection of the bearing alone is not usually enough to pinpoint the precise cause of damage.The rarely mentioned aspect of this fun and mischief as demonstrated in Tom Peter's example and my own is that by bringing a little bit of herself to the job it also makes it a more energising and satisfying role for the housekeeper.

People like to know they are being looked after by real people who care. The systems and standards within an organisation, free workers up to, in the right way, put a bit of personality into their role, however humble that role may be.

It would be worth sharing these examples with your team and asking (not telling) them what they have done or would enjoy doing to make the experience memorable for their customers.


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