Manufacturer warns lack of bearing knowledge risks failures
24 May 2019
Distributor SMB Bearings has warned that too many operations are using hybrid rather than ceramic bearings in situations where they could fail with dangerous results.
MD Chris Johnson said there was insufficient awareness of the differences between full ceramic and hybrid bearings, with the latter used in applications where they were clearly unsuitable.
He cautioned: “Ultimately, this misunderstanding about material types could cause the bearing, and the entire application, to fail.”
Hybrid bearings use a combination of materials in their design, usually encompassing steel rings and ceramic balls made of silicon nitride.
By contrast, full ceramic bearings do not include any steel or plastic in their design and can perform in extremely harsh environments, such as those with high temperatures or corrosive substances.
Explained Johnson: “Despite having ceramic balls, the corrosion resistant properties of hybrid bearings are inadequate for use in many submerged and underwater applications — even when using a marine grade metal, such as 316 grade stainless steel.
“Marine grade stainless steel relies on a high rate flow of water, as the passive film of the metal requires frequent oxygen to retain its corrosion resistance. Without this, the bearing will begin corroding when fully submerged.”