April 2001

Engineering Case Histories

Case 2: The hidden load in a three-bearing machine

A screening analysis helps in understanding the cause

Sofronas, A., Consulting Engineer

Production demands can stretch equipment to its design limits and possibly reduce the life of couplings, bearings, gearing and shafting. In this case history, modifications increased the gearbox oil temperature which resulted in additional "hidden loads" and bearing failures. Internal clearance of ball or roller bearings is the clearance between the rolling elements and the race. Adequate clearance is required to keep a bearing from being excessively preloaded during installation or shaft thermal growth. It is also critical when a shaft is supported by three bearings. If sufficient misalignment occurs at the cente

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