Dry, Not Damp: Extending the Shelf Life of Your Bearings

Written by  //  October 21, 2013  //  Workshop  //  Comments Off on Dry, Not Damp: Extending the Shelf Life of Your Bearings

Many bearing failures are actually attributed to either improper handling or storage facilities so if you want to extend the shelf life of your bearings, the message is clear. You have to look after them and store them properly, so here is a look at how you can achieve this aim.

Storage of bearings

One of the fundamental aspects of successfully storing your FAG bearings for example, is to avoid storing them in places which have a high level of humidity. They should ideally be placed in a cool place and if they come into your store room packed in a wooden box, you should take them out immediately and arrange to store them on an appropriate shelf.

It is important to make the distinction between a wooden box and a cardboard box when it comes to storage of your bearings. If the bearings have been delivered in a cardboard box and have protective wrappings, then you should not unwrap them as they do not present the same humidity problems that you will experience with a wooden box.

The storeroom

It is probably fair to say that the storeroom can often be an afterthought with many companies, and you will often find this facility hidden away in a cold dark corner of the building or even in an outbuilding.

This means that your bearings will be stored amongst other replacement parts in a potentially cold and damp environment, until they are called into use.

Limited shelf life

If your bearings are stored under the wrong conditionings then they will almost certainly have a limited shelf life and you may find that they are not even fit for purpose when you come to use them in certain circumstances.

After the bearings have been manufactured, they are packed with a preservative to protect the rolling elements, cages and rings. If you fail to store your bearings under the best possible conditions then you will potentially be degrading this preservative and having an adverse impact on the shelf life of the bearings.

The ideal temperature

In order to maximise the shelf life and usability of your bearings you should ideally store them on a flat surface and in an area that is free from vibration with a cool constant temperature.

The suggested settings and limits for the relative humidity of your storage area is –

75% at 68F

60% at 72F

50% at 77F

Even under these ideal relative humidity conditions, you should still remember to keep the bearings in their original unopened packaging, provided it is not a wooden box, so that you greatly reduce the chance of contaminants and corrosion affecting your bearings.

If you do take the bearings out of your packaging then it becomes even more critical that you achieve an ideal temperature within your storage facility.

Take a look at the re-order history for your spare parts and bearings and see if your poor storage facilities are having an impact on their shelf life and also their subsequent performance when used.

William Dawson works in a small machine shop and is a father of five. He likes to unwind by blogging on various Internet websites.

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