Maintaining your bearings
I realize that this isn't exactly an exciting subject, however it needed to be covered here on the hub pages, and if you're not careful you just might learn a little something helpful here. According to the dictionary a bearing is simply a machine element that constrains relative motion between moving parts to only the desired motion. The basic idea of a bearing is something that reduces friction between two rotating items. Companies all around the world manufacture bearings for multiple applications. Some of those applications include wheel bearings for automobiles, trucks, tractors, riding lawn mowers, Skateboards, roller skates, bicycles, trailers, and you'll find just about everything else that is on wheels is equipped with a bearing. Even a children's Yo-Yo has a bearing inside of it to help make it work.
It's important that all bearings be kept clean and lubricated to keep them alive! How long your bearings last depends on you. Hearing your bearings make a strange noise is an indication that the bearing needs to be cleaned and lubricated or completely replace with a new bearing. Depending on any damage to the bearing after a close inspection will determine if the bearing can be reused or if it has to be totally replaced with a new bearing.
There are a wide range of applications for bearings throughout the manufacturing sector, and that's what I'd like to discuss here. All of the bearings photographed below, I personally shot the pictures of before and soon after I deep cleaned them. As you can see in the photographs there was a lot of dirt and dust that was covering these bearings. Sooner or later all of that nasty build up would eventually help lead to bearing failure. To clean these bearing I simply sprayed a special cleaning solution onto the dirty surfaces of the bearings and wiped the dirt and excess grease build up off with clean shop rags. This isn't all that time consuming, and in the end saves a lot of money for the cost of new bearings down the road. It actually took much longer for me to take all of these photographs, then it did for me to clean up the dirty bearings themselves.
Eliminating the contamination source is a crucial step in maintaining your bearings. After you routinely lubricate your bearings, it's also a good practice to wipe any excess grease off of the bearing with a clean rag, which helps prevent the dirt and grime from having a sticky surface to easily attach itself to. One big disadvantage of excessive grease build up on bearings is that this allows the lubrication of the bearing to escape and for dirt to get inside of the bearing much more quickly. Another thing that helps improve the life of a bearing are plastic grease fitting caps or zerk covers for the zerk fittings. Zerk caps are designed specifically to mask the zerk fittings, and they are available in all of the colors to help identify the type of grease that you are using on each particular bearing. In the photographs below you will find that these particular bearings are using blue zerk covers.
Industrial conveyor bearings
Eliminating the contamination source is also an important step
I realize that deep cleaning and maintaining bearings isn't exactly the most exciting subject out there in the world on the Internet, but I really wanted to put to use all of these cool looking photographs that I took. Stranger things have happened, but who knows someone might have actually learned something new here.
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