Bearing inspections need to be part of the lubrication process. With an understanding that what goes in must come out, it all makes perfect sense. This is often an overlooked procedure that can be of enormous benefit.
Whether greasing with Ultrasound or greasing by quantity calculated, the result is a bearing buildup. The bearing eventually gets filled to its max with soap left behind long after the oils are gone. This is a frequent problem in high-speed bearings running in high ambient temperatures.
Here is a good indicator of when this problem is likely:
If frequent overheating occurs from normal greasing with less and less grease, this is a sign that all is not well.
Most of the time opening a pillow block, cleaning out the hard packed soap, inspect for damage, re-lubricate with proper amount of grease, is all that is needed. This simple PM will keep you in the know, and keeps that bearing in good condition for continued uptime.
The alternative is bearing failure. Continued greasing will eventually fill all the space in the pillow block. Overheating can take place in the bearing, to the point that skidding can occur, because the dried soap leaves no room for new grease. Replacement and possible down time will be the end result.
Time based or condition based scheduling for specific bearing inspections should always be part of a PM program. Be aware for the signs for this problem during re-lubrication in the field and take corrective action.
Reader tip provided by Garry Sands, MLT II & VA Tembec,Inc. Temiscaming Quebec, Canada
Thanks for the tip Gary - your Reliabilityweb.com elements T-Shirt is on the way!