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How to overhaul and maintain NTN spherical plain bearings

NTN spherical plain bearings are widely used in various engineering machinery and equipment due to their high load capacity, low friction coefficient, and high structural flexibility. However, like all bearings, they require regular maintenance to ensure their performance and reliability. In this article, we will analyze the basic steps of maintenance and overhaul of NTN spherical plain bearings to help improve their longevity and reliability.

Inspection of the Spherical Plain Bearings

The first step in maintaining and overhauling NTN spherical plain bearings is to check their condition. Screw the cover screw on the spherical plain bearing housing, remove the retaining ring from the outer ring, and remove the bearing from the housing. Check the bearing data and determine the axial clearance of the bearing.

spherical plain bearings

Cleaning and Lubrication of the Bearing

After verifying the condition of the spherical plain bearing, the next step is to clean and lubricate it. Clean the spherical plain bearing with an appropriate cleaning solution to remove all dirt and debris. After cleaning, apply a thin layer of lubricant to ensure the bearing operates smoothly. For this process, one should only use recommended lubricants from the bearing manufacturer.

Disassembly and Reassembly of the Bearing

If inspection and cleaning do not reveal any issues, it is not always necessary to disassemble the bearing. However, if there is visible damage or excessive wear, it may be necessary to disassemble and replace parts of the bearing. First, remove the outer ring from the housing. Then, remove the inner ring from the shaft by carefully applying pressure to avoid any damage to the ball or raceway. Finally, remove the end cover from the bearing, and disassemble it accordingly.

Inspection of the Bearing Parts

Visually inspect the bearing parts for any visible damage or abnormal wear. Check the ball gap, ball surface wear, and outer ring wear. Any parts showing visible wear or damage should be replaced immediately. The recommended replacement parts are usually available through any authorised manufacturer.

Assembly and Lubrication of the Bearing

Reassemble the bearing and apply lubrication to support the smooth operation of the spherical plain bearings. Apply a thin layer of lubricant on the spherical plain bearing and on the inside of the outer ring. Adequate lubrication helps reduce wear, friction, and heat generated by the spherical plain bearings.

Testing and Monitoring of the Bearing

After the reassembly and lubrication, test the NTN spherical plain bearing to check the correct installation and assess its performance and reliability. Once installed, check the bearing on a regular basis to detect any early signs of wear, misalignment, or damage. And, based on the conditions of use, the frequency of inspection should be conducted once in every period.

  1. The regular inspection of bearings is an important task to maintain them in optimum condition and to reflect the detection of problems. Matters that should be noted about the bearings in use and related knowledge.
  2. Firstly, we would like to stress that it is important to keep NTN spherical plain bearings lubricated and clean. So when we inspect the NTN bearings before, we should clean the surface of the NTN spherical plain bearings and then disassemble the parts around the bearings. You should note that the oil seal is a very fragile part, so you need to be extra careful when inspecting and disassembling it, and do not apply excessive force to avoid damage to the parts. Then carefully check the oil seal of the NTN bearing and its surrounding parts, if it has shown the symptoms of bad, be sure to replace it, bad oil seal will lead to bearing damage, so that the NTN bearing cloud is not normal and cause equipment downtime.
  3. Secondly, we have to check the lubricant of NTN bearings. Lubrication is important, not only for NTN bearings, but for all bearings as well. Please note, however, that NTN bearings should not be over-greased.
  4. The way to check the lubricant of NTN bearings is to dab a little lubricant and rub it between your fingers, if contaminants are present, they can be felt; or apply a thin layer of lubricant to the back of your hand and then carry out a seal light inspection.
  5. Then it is to replace the NTN bearing lubricant. After removing the old oil from an oil-lubricated NTN bearing, if possible, fill it with fresh oil and let the machine spin at low speed for a few minutes. The oil should be allowed to collect as much residual contamination as possible before it is drained. Note: The oil should preferably be filtered before use. For grease lubricated NTN bearings, avoid using a grease remover with cotton joints on any part of the bearing. This is because these residual fibres can wedge between the rolling elements and cause damage, especially in small bearing applications.
  6. Finally, care should be taken to cover exposed NTN bearings. When inspecting NTN bearings, never expose them to contaminants or moisture. If work is interrupted, the machine should be covered with a sheet of greaseproof plastic or similar material.

Conclusion

In conclusion, maintenance and overhaul of NTN spherical plain bearings can help improve their longevity and reliability. The critical steps involve inspection, cleaning, lubrication, disassembly, inspection of bearing parts, and monitoring its performance. It is also essential to thoroughly follow the recommended procedures from the manufacturer during every maintenance and overhaul process. By following these steps and taking necessary precautions, NTN spherical plain bearings will operate efficiently, reducing production downtime and saving on cost.

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