Smart Bearings and Condition Monitoring Technology for Industrial Applications


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Smart Bearings and Condition Monitoring Technology for Industrial Applications

As with many technologies used throughout today’s manufacturing sector, industrial bearings are becoming smart and interconnected.

Sensorized smart bearings are increasingly common for critical equipment applications that demand real-time data on bearing performance and longevity. Continuous condition monitoring allows you to troubleshoot any issues as they arise, and thus repair/replace the affected bearing components before a critical failure occurs.

However, it’s not just about preventing bearing failures and downtime: these smart technologies can also be employed to improve the operational efficiency of your equipment – a key step towards achieving factory sustainability.

At Bearing Service Company, we work with manufacturers to distribute state-of-the-art condition monitoring equipment which meets their specific performance requirements. By combining quality American manufacturing and bearing repair services with the latest smart factory technologies, BSC strives to deliver the most sustainable industrial bearing solutions possible.

How Do Smart Industrial Bearings Work?

Smart bearings are built with integrated sensors designed to measure the system’s performance and efficiency while predicting the remaining useful life of the bearing. The two most common ways to analyze bearing performance and wear rates is through careful vibration analysis and temperature analysis.

Smart bearing technologies work in conjunction with other advanced features to provide the end user with far better-performing, long-lasting industrial bearings than was traditionally possible. For example, BSC distributes highly efficient automatic lubricating systems that ensure every targeted bearing assembly receives the calculated amount of oil or lubrication needed for smooth operation.

We offer single-point lubrication systems that specifically monitor one component’s lubrication levels, as well as multi-point lubricator systems that deliver precise amounts of lubricant to several operating points. With these complex lubrication systems, the chosen lubricant is held at a single reserve point to further streamline the maintenance process.

Methods for Smart Bearing Analysis:

Vibration Analysis

Some smart bearings can automatically detect abnormal vibration which indicates misalignment, imbalance, or uneven wear characteristics. Real-time vibration analysis provides maintenance teams with the troubleshooting info they need to schedule repairs or replacements proactively. Smart bearing systems can thus minimize unexpected downtime as well as overall maintenance costs.

Temperature Monitoring

Temperature sensors in smart bearings identify overheating issues which commonly result from lack of lubrication or excessive friction in the system. Precise temperature data is used to identify maintenance requirements in a more timely fashion. In some cases bearing life can even be prolonged by making the proper adjustments to alignment, preload, etc., thus eliminating an array of possible issues at its source.

Load and Stress Monitoring

Some smart bearings can directly measure the load ratings and stress that internal bearing components are subjected to. Load analysis provides detailed information about the operating conditions and helps further optimize the choice of bearing components, as well as preventative maintenance scheduling.

BSC offers complete inventory management to numerous customers who have recurring orders or high-volume requirements. With several sales and warehousing facilities at our disposal throughout the Midwest, East Coast, and Southern US, BSC maintains an available replacement inventory on our shelves to meet your unique supply chain needs exactly as they arise. Not only can our company replace or repair virtually any industrial bearing component – we also create a seamless supply chain for our customers by maintaining a constant inventory of all needed products.

Lubrication Management

By monitoring friction and wear, smart bearings can help in optimizing lubrication schedules, reducing both under-lubrication and over-lubrication, which can lead to overheating and bearing damage.

Alignment and Balance

Smart bearings can assist in ensuring proper alignment and balance of machinery, which is critical for bearing longevity.

Bearing Condition Monitoring for Better Machine Efficiency

Condition monitoring is not limited to smart bearings alone. It involves a broader range of analysis techniques to monitor and assess the performance of industrial bearings (including conventional and smart bearings) and their related machine processes. Some of the most common condition monitoring techniques include:

Vibration Analysis

External vibration sensors are used in smart bearings to detect abnormal vibrations that result from various issues such as excessive wear, misalignment, or inadequate lubrication.

Acoustic Emission Analysis

Even the basic sounds emitted by bearings during operation can signify stress, damage, or other anomalies. In modern smart bearings, these issues can be detected through careful analysis of acoustic emissions in comparison to the norm.

Ultrasound Analysis

Ultrasound sensors detect higher-frequency sounds, generally produced by excessive friction in industrial bearing applications. Careful ultrasound readings and analysis can help identify issues early before they lead to total bearing failure.

Infrared Thermography

Industrial smart bearing thermography uses infrared cameras to capture precise temperature variations in and around bearings. This helps identify hotspots indicative of excessive friction, starved lubrication, or other common bearing issues.

Oil Analysis

Monitoring the condition of lubricating oil for contamination, wear particles, and chemical changes allows us to extrapolate details about the overall health of the internal bearing components.

America’s Leading Source for Industrial Bearings and Maintenance Since 1933

BSC is one of the nation’s leading independent manufacturers and repair sources for industrial bearing components. Founded in 1933, we provide leading experience in the manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance of virtually all bearing types – ball, cylindrical, thrust, and standard interchange bearings. Our solutions include integration with the latest developments in smart bearing technology and condition monitoring systems.