Protect your investment: Essential tips for handling and storing bearings

26 January, 2023

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Proper handling and storage of bearings are fundamental to ensure their reliability and longevity when fitted. 

The conditions in which bearings are stored and the manner in which they are handled before and during the fitting process can have a negative effect on the bearing’s performance and lifespan. 

To achieve the optimal performance and service life of your bearings, B2K recommends the following storage and handling guidelines:

Storage Guidelines

  • To avoid the adverse effects of corrosion and contaminants, bearings should be stored in their original packaging until it’s time for them to be mounted.
  • Bearings that are not stored in their original packaging should be well protected against corrosion and contaminants.
  • Store bearings flat, in a vibration-free area.
  • Store bearings in a cool, dry, moderately ventilated area with a minimal amount of dust.
  • Store bearings, particularly sealed bearings, away from direct sunlight. 
  • Ensure an ideal temperature of between 20°C and 25°C and relative humidity of between 60% and 75%.
  • Keep bearings away from strong magnetic fields, which can adversely impact their performance.
  • Store bearings in a way that prevents them from being damaged by heavy loads or impact.
  • Ensure the storage location is easily accessible so that bearings can be quickly and easily retrieved when needed.

Shelf life of bearings 

The shelf life of bearings is typically three years. Bearings are coated with a rust-inhibiting compound and suitably packaged before distribution.

With regards to open bearings, the preservative provides protection against corrosion provided the storage conditions are appropriate.

The maximum storage interval for sealed bearings is dictated by the lubricant inside the bearings. The lubricant deteriorates over time as a result of aging, condensation, and separation of the oil and thickener.

Bearings that are stored for long periods need to be inspected and possibly remanufactured before fitting. 

Storage of large-size bearings

Special caution should be taken when storing large-size bearings. Large-size bearings should be stored horizontally and, preferably, supported along the entire extension of the lateral faces of internal and external rings. If stored vertically, the weight of bearing rings and rolling elements may cause permanent deformation to the bearing because the ring walls are relatively thin.

Handling Guidelines

  • Handle bearings with care to avoid damaging the raceways or rolling elements.
  • Keep bearings in their original packaging or protective covers until they are ready to be used.
  • When handling large or heavy bearings, use proper lifting equipment or ask for help to prevent accidents or injuries.
  • Don’t handle bearings with bare hands. Talc-free finger cots or talc-free surgical gloves should be worn.
  • Avoid cleaning the housing and shafts with shop rags or cotton swabs when installing.
  • Ensure proper mounting tools are utilised and kept clean.
  • Bearings should never be subjected to shock or impact loads.
  • When fitting a bearing, force should be applied only to the ring that is being fitted.

For more information, speak to one of our B2K sales consultants.

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