The method of mounting rolling bearings strongly affects their accuracy, life, and performance, so their mounting deserves careful attention. Their characteristics should first be thoroughly studied, and then they should be mounted in the proper manner. It is recommended that the handling procedures for bearings be fully investigated by the design engineers and that standards be established with respect to the following items:
- Cleaning the bearings and related parts.
- Checking the dimensions and finish of related parts.
- Inspection after mounting.
- Supply of lubricants.
Bearings should not be unpacked until immediately before mounting. When using ordinary grease lubrication, the grease should be packed in the bearings without first cleaning them. Even in the case of ordinary oil lubrication, cleaning the bearings is not required. However, bearings for instruments or for high speed operation must first be cleaned with clean filtered oil in order to remove the anti-corrosion agent.
After the bearings are cleaned with filtered oil, they should be protected to prevent corrosion. Prelubricated bearings must be used without cleaning. Bearing mounting methods depend on the bearing type and type of fit. As bearings are usually used on rotating shafts, the inner rings require a tight fit. Bearings with cylindrical bores are usually mounted by pressing them on the shafts (press fit) or heating them to expand their diameter (shrink fit). Bearings with tapered bores can be mounted directly on tapered shafts or cylindrical shafts using tapered sleeves.
Bearings are usually mounted in housings with a loose fit. However, in cases where the outer ring has an interference fit, a press may be used. Bearings can be interference-fitted by cooling them before mounting using dry ice. In this case, a rust preventive treatment must be applied to the bearing because moisture in the air condenses on its surface.
Mounting of Bearings with Cylindrical Bores
When both the inner and outer rings of non-separable bearings, such as deep groove ball bearings, require tight-fit, a mounting tool is placed on both rings as shown in Fig. 2, and both rings are fitted at the same time using a screw or hydraulic press. Since the outer ring of self-aligning ball bearings may deflect a mounting tool such as that shown in Fig. 2 should always be used for mounting them.
In the case of separable bearings, such as cylindrical roller bearings and tapered roller bearings, the inner and outer rings may be mounted separately. Assembly of the inner and outer rings, which were previously mounted separately, should be done carefully to align the inner and outer rings correctly. Careless or forced assembly may cause scratches on the rolling contact surfaces.
Since press fitting large bearings requires a large force, a shrink fit is widely used. The bearings are first heated in oil to expand them before mounting. This method prevents an excessive force from being imposed on the bearings and allows mounting them in a short time.
The expansion of the inner ring for various temperature differences and bearing sizes is shown in Fig. 3.
The precautions to follow when making shrink fits are as follows:
(a) Do not heat bearings to more than 120℃.
(b) Put the bearings on a wire net or suspend them in an oil tank in order to prevent them from touching the tank's bottom directly.
(c) Heat the bearings to a temperature 20℃ to 30℃ higher than the lowest temperature required for mounting without interference since the inner ring will cool a little during mounting.
(d) After mounting, the bearings will shrink in the axial direction as well as the radial direction while cooling. Therefore, press the bearing firmly against the shaft shoulder using locating methods to avoid a clearance between the bearing and shoulder.
NSK Bearing Induction Heaters
Besides heating in oil, NSK Bearing Heaters, which use electromagnetic induction to heat bearings, are widely used.
In NSK Bearing Heaters, electricity (AC) in a coil produces a magnetic field that induces a current inside the bearing that generates heat. Consequently, without using flames or oil uniform heating in a short time is possible, making bearing shrink fitting efficient and clean.
In the case of relatively frequent mounting and dismounting such as cylindrical roller bearings for roll necks of rolling mills and for railway journal boxes, induction heating should be used for mounting and dismounting inner rings.
Mounting of Bearings with Tapered Bores
Bearings with tapered bores are mounted on tapered shafts directly or on cylindrical shafts with adapters or withdrawal sleeves (Figs. 4 and 5). Large spherical roller bearings are often mounted using hydraulic pressure. Fig. 6 shows a bearing mounting utilizing a sleeve and hydraulic nut. Fig. 7 shows another mounting method. Holes are drilled in the sleeve which are used to feed oil under pressure to the bearing seat. As the bearing expands radially, the sleeve is inserted axially with adjusting bolts.
Spherical roller bearings should be mounted while checking their radial-clearance reduction and referring to the push-in amounts listed in Table 1. The radial clearance must be measured using clearance gauges. In this measurement, as shown in Fig. 8, the clearance for both rows of rollers must be measured simultaneously, and these two values should be kept roughly the same by adjusting the relative position of the outer and inner rings.
When a large bearing is mounted on a shaft, the outer ring may be deformed into an oval shape by its own weight. If the clearance is measured at the lowest part of the deformed bearing, the measured value may be bigger than the true value. If an incorrect radial internal clearance is obtained in this manner and the values in Table 1 are used, then the interference fit may become too tight and the true residual clearance may become too small. In this case, as shown in Fig. 9, one half of the total clearance at points and b (which are on a horizontal line passing through the bearing center) and c (which is at the lowest position of the bearing) may be used as the residual clearance.
When a self-aligning ball bearing is mounted on a shaft with an adapter, be sure that the residual clearance does not become too small. Sufficient clearance for easy alignment of the outer ring must be allowed.
Table 1 - Mounting of Spherical Roller Bearings with Tapered Bores
The values for reduction in radial internal clearance are for bearings with CN clearance.
For bearing with C3 Clearance,the maximum values listed should be used for the reduction in radial internal clearance.