Consistent maintenance and regular inspections are required to ensure continued use of the bearing throughout its operating life so that problems are identified and resolved early to avert future and potentially escalating problems or accidents.
Inspection of bearings during operation is integrated into such activities as occasionally listening to the sound of the bearings, monitoring bearing temperature, or investigating bearing vibration. Even a slight flaking of the bearing will create abnormal or irregular noise that can be readily distinguished from normal sound by a skilled worker using a noise locator. Although bearing temperature can be roughly determined by simply touching the housing surface, please insert a thermometer into a lubrication hole or similar point of entry to directly measure bearing temperature.
Bearings for moving units that cannot be monitored for noise or temperature during operation, such as roller bearings for vehicles, should be periodically inspected, and fresh grease should be applied. Examining the condition of the grease during operation is also a useful method for determining the operational condition of the bearing. The operational condition can be determined by the amount of dirt and fine iron powder contained in the grease as well as any sign of leakage or deterioration of the grease.
Whenever such inspections reveal abnormality or failure of the bearing, the bearing should be disassembled for further detailed inspection to identify the cause.