Bearings are a critical element of electric motors. They facilitate even load handling, reduce friction, provide shaft support, and enhance the reliability and longevity of rotating components. However, without proper installation, operation, and maintenance, bearings can become damaged or fail. Here, we’ll go over some of the most common causes of bearing failure and how to prevent them.

Common Causes for Motor Bearing Failure

Common Causes for Motor Bearing Failure

Some of the most common causes of motor bearing failure include:

Motor Bearing Failure 101

Motor Bearing Failure 101

  • Improper lubrication & fretting. Improper lubrication can lead to overheating and excessive wear on bearings. The lack of lubrication can also cause fretting, which develops when two dry and dissimilar surfaces move against each other, resulting in corrosion.
  • Corrosion & contamination. Contaminants such as water, sand, dirt, and chemicals can lead to various problems in bearing assemblies. For instance, they can erode/corrode bearing surfaces or degrade the lubricant, all of which can cause premature failure.
  • Misalignment. Misalignment between the shaft and bearing housing can be caused by contaminated components, bent shafts, or improperly positioned locking nuts and shafts. These problems can result in excessive vibrations and uneven load distribution, which can lead to failure.
  • Fatigue. Bearings are subjected to repeated cycles of load and stress during operation. Over time, this can lead to material fatigue and the development of cracks in bearing components, ultimately causing the bearing to fail.
  • Moisture. Outdoor or humid environments can lead to moisture seeping into your bearings. This creates the ideal setting for rust and corrosion development that contributes to bearing failure.
  • High temperatures. It’s important to refer to your motor’s operating guide for lubrication requirements and working temperature. Incorrect lubricant can bleed in even mild temperatures, resulting in a variety of lubricant-related problems. High temperatures can also decrease bearing hardness, leading to cracks.
  • Incorrect installation. Bearing failure can be caused by improper installation and setup. The most common installation mistakes include imbalance, incorrect mounting, and misalignment or excessive shaft run-out.
  • Electrical damage. The passage of electrical currents through the bearing can lead to electrical erosion, or arcing. This can cause various issues, including lubricant degradation, pitting damage to the rolling elements and raceways, and premature bearing failure. To learn more, check out our “Avoid Motor Shaft Voltage & Bearing Current Damage” eBook.

Avoid Bearing Failure With A Preventative & Predictive Maintenance Program

Bearing damage can result in costly issues. To prevent this, it’s important to perform regular inspections and preventative maintenance on motor components. At Renown Electric, we offer custom-tailored preventative and predictive maintenance services, as well as in-house motor repair services. To maximize the efficiency and lifespan of your equipment, we provide various preventative and predictive maintenance capabilities, including:

  • Dynamic balancing
  • Infrared thermography
  • Laser alignment
  • Oil analysis
  • Regular lubrication
  • Vibration analysis
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Winding analysis
  • Motion amplification monitoring

Why Choose Renown Electric?

Renown Electric’s preventative maintenance and electric motor repair services far exceed those of other repair shops. We can perform our services in-house or in the field to ensure you get the solution you need. Our highly trained staff provides unmatched customer service and is available 24/7 to help in any way we can. In addition, Renown holds many industrial certifications and qualifications, including ISO 9001:2015 and the CSA Qualification for the Repair and Service of Motors and Generators in Hazardous Locations. We are also EXIROS, BROWZ, QUAREM, and ISN compliant.

Contact Our Experts for Premium Motor Repair Services

Bearing failure can lead to a variety of costly problems within your motor. To enhance your equipment’s longevity and reduce costs associated with motor upkeep, it’s important to perform regular motor maintenance. Properly inspecting your bearings to look for damage and causes of failure can increase bearing life and, ultimately, enhance motor performance.

At Renown Electric, we serve customers across various industries with customized preventative and predictive maintenance services designed to prevent equipment failure and avoid costly replacements. We also offer diagnostic and repair services to address even your most challenging electric motor problems. For more information about our quality motor maintenance and repair capabilities, contact Renown Electric today.

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