Industrial processes in all industries require rotating equipment to provide motion, pressure and other forms of energy to their product streams. Whether it’s a compressor or vacuum pump in a gaseous process stream, a pump in a liquid process stream, or a conveyor in a product handling stream, rotating equipment is critical to continued and reliable production. Common to all rotating equipment is a shaft supported by bearings. As such, protecting bearings is a basic requirement for plant reliability, regardless of industry. In fact, bearings are so ubiquitous, they’re often taken for granted as an intrinsic process element. That is, until they fail.
Over the last 30 years bearing protection has emerged as prime territory for increasing overall rotating equipment reliability. With metallurgy, tribology and bearing design having progressed to the point where further enhancements to bearings and lubrication will be incremental at best. The deceptively simple task of retaining lubricant and excluding contamination from the bearing housing then remains as an opportunity for achieving significant gains in rotating equipment reliability.