According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), around 30 per cent of global electricity is consumed by electric motors in industry. Furthermore, motors are the asset that consume the most electricity in manufacturing, accounting for 70 per cent of global electricity in the industry. From this, we can calculate that an around 0.1 per cent reduction in industry consumption could save enough electricity to sustain the UK for almost a month.
ABB Group has found, using IEA data, that 51 per cent of all motor failures are related to their bearings. The common causes for these failures include exceeding recommended load ratings, vibrations and overheating. Choosing the right bearing for a motor can not only reduce the change of failures; it can also bring down a business’s emissions and maintenance costs.
No universal fit
There is no one-size-fits-all for bearings. AISI-440 grade stainless steel small motor bearings can sustain temperatures of up to 300 degrees Celsius, which makes them ideal for machinery that operates under high heat. However, the same process that allows the stainless steel to obtain these properties will also soften the metal. This makes the internal components more susceptible to physical damage.
Chrome steel small motor bearings are not only less expensive but are also better suited for most applications. They have low-noise and low-vibration properties that make them less wasteful in applications below 150 degrees Celsius. While some situations may require the superior anti-corrosion properties of stainless steel, most industries will benefit from the more efficient chrome steel alternative.
Vibration and noise can also be caused by exceeding the recommended payloads of a motor. Fortunately, chrome steel has 20 per cent higher load rating than 440C grade stainless steels so these symptoms of failure less likely to occur. Higher load ratings are also associated with longer life cycles, and therefore lower maintenance costs.
Choosing chrome steel bearings is not only likely to be more effective than 440C stainless steels, it is also less expensive in the short and long term. The energy converted in noise and vibration is lost, resulting in further wasted time and energy for downtime and motor repairs.
Electricity wasted on poorly matched motors and bearings prevents your company from being environmentally friendly. That’s why selecting a bearing that can sustain the loads it is subjected to can drastically increase the product’s lifetime while reducing the energy that is thrown away. In the long run, we will need to be as efficient as possible about energy consumption.