Ball bearings, and other machine bearings for that matter, are incredibly important to the continued life and use of machinery.

Those small metal balls can be the difference between a smoothly working machine, and a machine that breaks down and causes all manner of problems. Due to this, it can be incredibly important to ensure that a machine’s ball bearings are properly maintained.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell if a bearing has a fault. They’re metal balls, after all. It’s not always easy to tell if there’s a fault in a sphere of metal. Luckily, there’s a process for just that situation. It’s called “condition monitoring”.

Condition monitoring is nothing more than a process of monitoring a parameter of conditions in machinery. It checks for things like temperature and vibration, and involves things such as lubricant analysis and ultrasound testing.

Essentially, condition monitoring is a process by which a number of tests are done on a piece of machinery in order to see if there is any kind of flaw developing.

In the case of machine bearings, this can be incredibly important. It’s not always obvious when bearings begin to break down and degrade. That’s why tests need to be done.

By utilizing condition monitoring, it’s possible to see if a bearing is beginning to fail. The vibration tests can see if the internal structure of a bearing is beginning to weaken. Using ultrasound scans can get a sense of the overall structure, and give an indication of whether or not the bearing is actually holding up under duress.

It may seem as though condition monitoring is a lot of trouble for something that’s ultimately cheap to replace, and that may be true. However, machines tend to use a large number of bearings in order to run properly. This means replacing bearings can add up over time

Not only that, but if a bearing breaks down during use, it can result in the machine developing other damage as it tries to function without the bearings. This can lead to ever more expensive repairs, far beyond the cost of simply replacing the bearings.

So if you want to ensure that your machinery is working smoothly, you need to make sure you’re checking on the life of your machine bearings. Condition monitoring can give you the tools to do that very thing.