The causes of bearing failure

bearing failure

There are numerous reasons why bearing failure occurs in applications fail; corrosion, lack of lubrication, misalignment, incorrect installation and wear to name a few. Depending where the bearings are in the application will determine what they are exposed to and, therefore, what might cause failure. Let’s look at each of the areas of potential failure:

Lack of or incorrect lubrication

Lubrication is a word used a lot in the engineering world. It can be both a positive and negative attribute in a machine. But is it necessary? Not always.

It can cause issues with grease clogging up machines and dirt and dust getting trapped. This can cause breakages and bearing failure. Sometimes, if parts are not lubricated, this too can cause issues. Metal components require lubrication to prevent them from seizing. This is when the igus® products come into their own.

How can igus® help bearing failure?

igubal® self-aligning bearings are designed with our highly engineered composite polymer materials that consist of base polymers for wear resistance, reinforcing fibres for high forces, and solid lubricants for a smooth, maintenance-free operation. They are not only insensitive to dirt and dust but are also corrosion-resistant. They can withstand shock, impact and edge loads. When you look at the properties, it is clear to see why they are replacing their metal counterparts every day!

improve bearings and avoid failure

If you need more reasons to use a polymer spherical bearing over a metal one, another key feature to this range is that the igubal® self-aligning bearings are up to 80% lighter than steel and much quieter. By switching to a polymer bearing, you can reduce your overall bearing costs by 40% without sacrificing quality! Not only that, as with all igus® products, you have the ability to calculate your igubal’s® expected service life BEFORE it’s installed. This allows you the flexibility and security of knowing you can perform maintenance procedures on your machine when it suits you as opposed to when it becomes detrimental!

Incorrect installation

The beauty of the igubal® spherical bearings is that they are simple to install and can replace like for like metal equivalents. The self-aligning bearings allow for misalignment errors. The bearing insert in the centre of the part allows the shaft to have a degree of freedom and prevents shafts from sticking. Not using lubrication means there is no grease or oil, making the part much cleaner than the metal versions and there is no corrosion! There are many industries that these bearings can be used in such as:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Wood processing
  • Brick manufacturing
  • Agricultural

Ensuring the bearings are installed correctly is crucial otherwise you may be subjected to breakdowns and bearing failure

Wear and tear

With metallic parts, they can wear easily. However with self-lubricating polymers, the wear is minimal in comparison. This corrosion can be fatal for machines and once again cause expensive breakdowns. With igus® igubal® bearings you are able to have the ability to calculate the lifetime of the bearing means you will know when it needs replacing before it does. With polymer igubal® products, the life cycle tends to be up to 8 times longer than that of a metal version. We also have intelligent industry 4.0 igubal® parts, communicating with the control panel to inform of any wear before it becomes detrimental and damaging.

igubal bearings

Go green and replace your metal spherical bearing with an igubal® one!

The igubal® bearings are more sustainable than metal versions.

Key facts for metal versions:

  • 22.7 million tonnes of lubricating oil contaminate the environment every year.
  • 75% more weight for metal versions which leads to higher energy consumption and wear of parts.
  • Billions of hours of downtime due to poor lubrication.

Now for the igubal® facts:

  • 40% cost saving.
  • 80% less weight.
  • 100% lubrication-free.

Read more blogs about igus® igubal® products here

If you have a metal spherical bearing, you should speak to us about replacing it with an igubal® one. Save yourself time and money, help the planet and avoid bearing failure! Win win.


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