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Handling of Bearings

Bearings are precision machined elements that operate in a high-precision environment and the correct handling of a bearing is essential for achieving maximum performance.

Storage recommendations are advisable when handling bearings to ensure overall good maintenance.

  • Bearings should be stored at a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight and moisture
  • Bearings should always be place above the floor, to avoid dust accumulation
  • A stable temperature of 20 degree Celsius should be maintained in the storage area
  • Humidity levels should be below 65 percent to prevent rusting
  • Bearings should never be overly stacked in layers due to impact shock and consequential damage
  • Bearings should be conducted on a first-in, first-out basis

Mounting of Bearings

Bearing performance is determined not only by the careful selection of a high-quality bearing type but also by its appropriate mounting, therefore precautions should also be considered before mounting a bearing.


  • Tools and equipment must be prepped, cleaned, and inspected for cracks or breaks
  • The mounting location should always be clean and dry
  • The shaft and housing should always be cleaned and checked for any evidence of physical damage
  • The measurements of the shaft and housing should always conform with design specifications
  • Prevent bearing misalignment and distortion by tightening or overtightening of mounting bolts
  • The applicators of the lubricant and cleaning of the bearing should always remain clean.

Lubrication of Bearings

Bearing rings, rolling elements and cage are subjected to high levels of rolling and sliding friction. Friction may cause damage to the bearing and, as a result, shorten its service life. Lubricants use a very thin layer of oil to separate rolling and sliding surfaces. Therefore, the proper selection of lubricant and lubrication method is imperative to a bearing’s performance and operational life.


Lubrication can either be oil-based or grease-based. A guide on selecting oil and grease lubricants is advised for the different application conditions. 


Lubricants primarily provide the following functions reduce frictional damages and extend a bearing’s productive life:

  • Decrease the rolling friction between the rolling elements and the raceways
  • Minimize sliding friction between

– the rolling end and guide faces of bearing 

– the rolling elements and cage

– the cage and raceway guiding surfaces

  • Prevent contamination
  • Prevent rust and corrosion
  • Remove heat from the bearing

Bearing Failures

Bearings do not fail suddenly. This is a well-known fact. However, bearing failures may occur due to environmental factors, misapplication, or the quality of the bearing itself. The detection of a bearing failure can be linked to noises, vibrations, external indication of damage, rise in temperature and increased rotational torque.


When to replace a bearing?

This can vary considerably as from the initial damage of the bearing until the bearing becomes unserviceable solely depends on the handling, mounting, lubrication and preventative measures to preserve a bearing.