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Tapered Roller Bearing Damage Analysis

Bearing maintenance and proper analysis are the keys to keeping equipment up and running, optimizing performance and decreasing downtime.

The most common types of bearing damage that may result in a reduction of bearing or application life are often caused by:

• insufficient maintenance practices
• mishandling
• improper installation and adjustment practices
• inadequate lubrication
The following offers a quick reference to the common causes of bearing damage. 

Inadequate  lubrication:
1.Total bearing lock-up —Rollers skew, slide sideways and lock-up bearing.
2.Cone large rib face  deformation — Metal flow from excessive heat generation.
3.Cone large rib face scoring —“Welding” and heat damage from metal-to-metal contact.
Fatigue spalling:
1.Inclusion origin — Spalling from oxides or other hard inclusions in bearing steel. 
2.Geometric stress concentration — Spalling from misalignment, deflections or heavy loading.
3.Point surface origin —Spalling from debris or raised metal exceeding the lubricant film thickness.
Foreign material:
1.Abrasive wear — Fine abrasive particle contamination.
2.Bruising — Debris from other fatigued parts, inadequate sealing or poor maintenance.
3.Grooving — Large particle contamination imbedding into soft cage material. High spots in cup seats: Localized spalling on the cup race from stress riser created by split housing pinch point.
Cage damage:
1.Cage Deformation — Improperly installed or dropped bearing. 
2.Rollers binding and skewing — Cage ring compressed during installation or interference during service.

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