Learning the science behind bearings

Bearings are one of the most commonly used machine parts in any industry. A sound knowledge of best practices in installing and maintaining bearings is therefore essential for those in charge of machinery maintenance to avoid unexpected downtimes.

As a global bearing manufacturer, NSK offers accredited bearing training programs to interested parties, where experienced NSK trainers engage in theoretical and practical knowledge sharing with the participants. BSC, the national distributor for NSK bearings in Australia, helps organise these training sessions for interested customers, in partnership with NSK.

Tony Tormey, BSC’s Product Manager for Industrial Bearings, says all BSC engineers and staff also regularly undergo training by NSK trainers to remain updated with the latest trends in bearing technology.

“The bearing fitting process is critical for ensuring that the bearing runs to its optimum life span. If a bearing is not fitted right, irrespective of how well you maintain it, it is doomed to fail. That is why we ensure that our team at BSC is well-versed with the best practices in bearing fitment to be able to help customers with their requirements,” he says.

Adam Chakraborty, Application Engineer at NSK Australia, says the NSK training program is suitable for reliability engineers, maintenance personnel or new recruits in the mining and quarrying industry who are interested in learning about bearings.

“All of our trainers are experienced NSK application engineers and possess a very high degree of technical knowledge combined with significant field experience. They are familiar with many typical, often recurring, bearing failure patterns and can advise on best ways to avoid them,” says Adam.

“The standard training comprises of a total of four modules and it can be completed in one working day. At the end of the training, there will be an assessment and if participants achieve 70 per cent or above in the assessment, they receive an accreditation certificate. Apart from this standard program, we can also offer tailored training if requested by the customer,” he adds.

The four modules covered in the program, according to Adam, include: bearing basics, bearing fitting, bearing lubrication and new bearing technologies.

“In the bearing basics module, we focus on different bearing types and their characteristics. The bearing fitting is a practical session where we may, for example, fit a large spherical roller bearing to demonstrate the potential challenges. In the lubrication module, the participants learn how to determine the optimum amount and frequency of lubrication for each bearing. Finally, the fourth module focusses on what’s new in the bearing technology world. We introduce special types of bearings developed by NSK, such as the NSK HPS bearing, Molded-Oil bearings, air compressor bearings, and more.”

“The most important aspect of bearing knowledge is the fitting process. Once a bearing is fitted and starts running, the inner ring of the bearing expands and therefore the internal clearance of the bearing reduces. So, to get the maximum life out of the bearing, you should make sure that there’s optimum internal clearance to allow for the expansion of components upon heating.”

“Correct lubrication is also critical for the bearings. If you over lubricate the bearing, it may fail due to over-heating. The exact amount and frequency of lubrication depend on the internal free space in the bearing and this is what you can learn by participating in the program.”

To further help identify potential bearing problems and predict bearing failures, NSK also offers the NSK Bearing Doctor App, which provides information about correct bearing handling, mounting, lubrication, and maintenance.

“The Bearing Doctor App is a helpful tool that enables maintenance personnel to diagnose types of bearing damage and possible causes by referring to a directory of images and sound clips. Additionally, NSK also offers two more useful Apps, including the NSK Online Catalogue App and the NSK Verify App, with the latter helping users ensure that they are using a genuine NSK product,” says Adam.

“All NSK Apps are available online for download and the customers can install them for easy access to the latest bearing information.”

NSK also offers training through NSK Academy where users can register online and learn from the wide range of tutorials at their own pace and convenience.

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