Rotating equipment such as electrical motors, rotary pumps and compressors as well as fans and blowers, are generally designed for smooth operation – with zero vibration as the idea state.
In this equipment a failed bearing has increased drag, emits more heat, and has lower efficiency because of a mechanical, lubrication, or a wear problem.
Bearing failure can be caused by several factors:
- A heavier load than designed for
- Inadequate or incorrect lubrication
- Ineffective bearing sealing
- Shaft misalignment
- Incorrect fit
- Normal wear
- Induced shaft voltages
Before bearings fail, however, the problem is likely to show itself by a telltale vibration. For example, when a roller bearing race becomes pitted, the bearing rollers will cause a vibration each time they pass over the damaged area.
Once bearing failure begins, it also creates a cascade effect that accelerates motor failure. 13 % of motor failures are caused by bearing failure, and more than 60 % of the mechanical failures in a facility are caused by bearing wear, so learning how to troubleshoot this potential problem is an important component of any maintenance program.
A test and measurement instrument such as the Fluke 810 Vibration Tester is designed specifically for maintenance professionals to troubleshoot mechanical problems, including identifying wear to ball or roller bearings.