Slow speed bearing defect detected though vibration analysis
(Case Study of a ≈ 20RPM Bearing Defect)
What is Condition Monitoring?
In general, Condition Monitoring techniques use instrumentation to take regular or continuous measurements of condition parameters, in order to determine the physical state of an item or system without disturbing its normal operation.
Condition Monitoring is basically applicable to components whose condition deteriorates with time. The objective of the Condition Monitoring technique is therefore to provide information with respect to the actual condition of the system and any change in that condition.
This information is required to schedule conditional maintenance tasks, on an as needed basis instead of relying on predetermined times. The selection of the Condition Monitoring technique(s) usually depend on the behaviour of the failures, type of equipment used and finally on economic and safety consequences.
This case study shows that when you collect the correct data parameters, vibration analysis can be invaluable in early detected of slow rotating bearings to enable a controlled change out prior to disruption to production.
Benefits of Reliability
The main benefits of applying an effective condition based maintenance programme are that repairs can be scheduled during non-peak times, machine productivity and service life are enhanced, and repair costs due to a loss of production time are eliminated. Safety is improved – Maintenance costs managed – Reliability reduces Maintenance costs
Case History Background
We were asked if we could offer a solution to detect when a rolling element bearing was failing prior to catastrophic failure. The clients concerns was not the cost of the bearing but the cost of the disruption to the production schedule if the bearing failed during a production run. The client was unsure what would detect the bearing issues as the bearing only rotates at around 20 RPM and it is in a harsh environment.
This is a slurry pot in a dusty foundry environment, the slurry pot is approximately 1.5meters in diameter and 2 meters in height. The bearing installed is an INA U250433 four point contact bearing. The outer raceway is stationary and the slurry pot is connected to the inner raceway that rotates.
We set up various sampling rates, various number of sample and utilised different filters. Data was collected using a magnetically mounted 100mV/g accelerometer. Velocity, Acceleration and PeakVue data was stored for analysis in the frequency and time domain.
The vibration data that clearly indicated a defect was the PeakVue Time Waveform.
The PeakVue time waveforms above are from the initial trial, and this compares the suspect failed bearing and a bearing that is expected to be good.
The above PeakVue spectrum is from the suspect bearing on the trial data. This data shows a mound of activity at 24.50 orders, and this activity is sidebanded by 1 orders. The theoretical overrolloing defect frequency for the rotating inner race way is 24.47. This indicates that we have an inner raceway defect.
We selected the slurry pot with the damaged bearing and requested the bearing to be change out and removed for inspection.
The above PeakVue time waveform comparisons show the before (in red) and the after with the new bearing fitted (in blue). This data confirms the new bearing has been fitted correctly and has no early defects. This also confirms that the bearing indeed had a defect.
On inspection the bearing cage elements had fatigued and failed, there is also a lot of spalling to the inner and outer raceway most probably due to subsurface and surface initiated fatigue.
ISO 15243: 5.4.2 Subsurface initiated fatigue
This shows that this bearing had reached its end of life, the cyclic stress changes occurring beneath the contact surfaces had initiated subsurface micro cracks this would have been in part of the bearing at the maximum shear stress. We are at the point where the crack has propagated to the surface and spalling has started to occur.
ISO 15243: 5.1.3 Surface Initiated Fatigue
Surface initiated fatigue basically comes from damage to the rolling contact surface asperities. This is generally caused by inadequate lubrication.
Damage to Retainers
Causes of damage to retainers can be due to Poor lubrication, Excessive heat (plastic retainer in particular) and Excessive moment load.
Once the bearing was split the outer races were moved to allow the rolling elements and cage pockets to be inspected as a whole. On inspection there are many areas of bearing cage failure.
Inner raceway, on the load side, has various stages of spalling all the way around with one area of heavy spalling.
The outer raceway has less of spalling but again there is one area of higher spalling.
The rolling elements display damage from over-roll of the spalled inner and outer raceways
The inspection confirmed that by utilising the correct data collection parameters a slow speed bearing defect can be detected in this working environment. We were successful in determining a failed bearing prior to catastrophic failure
A reliable plant is a safe plant
…..an environmentally sound plant
….. a profitable plant
……a cost-effective plant