The Importance of Internal Clearance

As a global leader, NSK knows a thing or two about the importance of proper bearing pump image for Jan blogmaintenance. Often times it is easy to overlook, but that can be a big mistake. We’ve seen end user customers lose valuable time and money due to poor bearing maintenance, especially when it comes to pumps. Recently NSK’s own Miles Woodard and Ryan Thomas published an article in the influential industry publication, Pumps & Systems magazine. In this highly detailed piece, Miles and Ryan take on a very specific problem that everyone who deals with pumps should pay attention to: internal clearance and its effect on bearing fatigue life.

There are many different reasons why it is critical to pay close attention to internal clearance when attempting to get the most out of your pump bearings. At its most basic, proper clearance allows for longer bearing life, lower running noise and vibration, reduced sliding of elements, and maintaining safe temperatures.

In the article, NSK went into detail about the different types of clearances, which include

  • Measured Internal Clearance
  • Theoretical Internal Clearance
  • Residual Internal Clearance
  • Effective Internal Clearance
  • Operating Clearance

The most important of these, is effective clearance. It turns out that theoretically, a slightly negative effective clearance (or preload) will provide for the longest life. According to the article, a preload will become positive under the influence of bearing load. Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to set all your bearings at the ideal effective clearance, so it becomes a matter of finding the best if not ultimate clearance. In attempting to find the right clearance for your needs, even the smallest mistake can lead to bearing slippage and poor pump performance. It is at this point that it pays to have an expert like NSK on your side.

At NSK, we are the experts when it comes to predictive and preventive reliability maintenance services. We take the guesswork out bearing maintenance, thus saving you time, money, and frustration. To learn more you can visit our website, read the fascinating and in-depth article by Miles Woodard and Ryan Thomas, or contact one of our experts today!

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