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Bearing Seal Failure: How to Avoid It   


As an experienced industrial bearings supplier, Yorkshire’s YB Components have helped customers with all sorts of machinery problems, with bearing seal failure being one of the most common.

Seals are possibly one of the most overlooked components on any machine, and especially so with bearing seals. However, they play a crucial role in the maintenance of the application and for optimising its performance. Seals guard against contamination whilst keeping the lubricant where it is supposed to be. Bearing seal failure is usually quickly followed by full bearing failure, which means significant downtime to replace the failed bearings.

You can avoid unnecessary bearing failure due to seal neglect by understanding what causes seal failure and how to prevent it. Here is a quick guide to the three most common causes of bearing seal failure and their solutions.

Incorrect Seal Selection

Some types of seal are not designed for use in extreme temperatures or environments where they come into contact with chemicals or other potentially corrosive elements. Using the wrong type of seal, even if it fits perfectly, will either eventually or quickly lead to premature failure.

The solution is to identify the exact type of seal for the operating conditions of the application, keeping in mind additional factors such as cleaning methods used, such as power washers and chemical cleaners. You will also need to reassess the seal types being used whenever there is a change in the operating parameters of the application, such as temperature or speed, as well as the surrounding environment.

Improper Installation

Installing the seals using force or excessive heat can cause irreparable damage which makes it only a matter of time before the seal fails prematurely, subsequently causing bearing failure as well.

The solution is to always follow the original manufacturer’s fitting guidelines and ensure those who are tasked with fitting the seals are fully trained in the proper procedure. Experienced industrial bearings suppliers like Yorkshire’s YB Components can always offer advice regarding the proper fitting method.

Misaligned Shafts

Misaligned shafts can push bearing seals to one side, causing a loss of sufficient contact with the shaft. This loss of contact allows contamination to infiltrate the bearing, which of course will soon cause premature failure.

The solution is to regularly check for visual signs of shaft misalignment and take corrective measures. Look for the likes of lubricant leakage coming through the seal, which will be the most obvious visual clue. Also check the operational temperature of the bearing as an unexplained increase may mean there is some shaft misalignment to correct.

If you require any replacement bearings, then contact YB Components who are the UK’s leading industrial bearings supplier in Yorkshire. We keep local stocks of all such parts and more ready to ship out fast and free all over the UK and the rest of the world.