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Hartford Technologies Blog

3 Metrics to Monitor Bearing Performance

Posted: Mar 30, 2017 2:55:39 PM

It's important to monitor the performance of the bearings in your machine designs to keep them running at 100% efficiency and increase the length of their life-cycle. What, though, are the best metrics and methods for determining if the ball bearings you are using in your designs are performing at an acceptable standard? For such a simple component, determining whether it is doing its job well can be a confusing task. Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to gauge and determine the performance of ball bearings so that you can specify the perfect bearing assembly for your machine designs.

1) Audible Monitoring

Audible monitoring is one of the simplest ways to tell if your machines are functioning correctly, and it is likely something that you or your operators do on a daily basis without even thinking about it. After all, if a machine is making an odd noise when it's being run, investigations ensue. For gauging the performance of ball bearings using audible monitoring, though, a little more nuance is required.

Since the sound emitted by a single ball bearing that is malfunctioning can easily be masked by the rest of the machine's audible output, stethoscopes and decibel meters are needed to monitor the audible output of ball bearings. As a general rule, a ball bearing that is making any noise at all is malfunctioning. Modern ball bearings are designed to be completely quiet, and any banging or grinding noises coming from the bearing housings in your machinery should be investigated right away.

2) Temperature

As ball bearings begin to perform at substandard levels, their temperature increases - sometimes dramatically. This, in turn, will increase the temperature of the bearing housing, and while this is in no way a good thing, it does make a malfunctioning bearing much easier to identify. Since different bearings are made to operate at different temperatures, there's really not a standard temperature that all bearing housings shouldn't exceed. However, by measuring the temperature of your bearing housings that are equipped with new bearings and comparing that temperature over time, you will be able to identify when the temperatures start to rise and replace your bearings in the early stages of their decreasing performance.

3) Vibration

Bearing housings shouldn't vibrate, and any jostling or vibrating at all is a likely indication of poor bearing performance. If safety permits it, measuring the vibration levels of your bearing housings is something that can be done by hand, though to detect more nuanced vibrations you will want to use accelerometers or displacement sensors mounted to the bearing housings on your machinery.

One of the most important aspects of modern bearing design is to produce bearings that run completely smooth, and any sign that your bearings are not running completely smooth and vibration-free should warrant further investigation into their specifications and performance.


There's a lot of data to be gathered by analyzing your bearings' performance, and doing so could greatly increase the efficiency, functionality, and longevity of your machine designs. If you find that your current bearings are operating at a substandard level and would like to learn more about replacing them with modern bearings that are guaranteed to operate at 100% efficiency throughout the duration of their life-cycle, feel free to contact us today.