Heater 200

How to mount or remove a bearing: procedure using heat

by Kevin Sweeney
19 February, 2024
7 min read

Removing and installing bearings is an important skill that demands knowledge of the right equipment, procedures, and expertise. Proper bearing mounting techniques prevent damage to machinery and ensure successful long-term operation. In this article, we look into the methods of using heat for bearing mounting and removal. The use of heating for installing or removing bearings is essential for tight-fitting bearings.

Basics of Bearing Removal Using Heat

The process of removing bearings using heat relies on the principle of thermal expansion. When a bearing is heated, it expands, causing an increase in its inner diameter. This expansion loosens the bearing’s fit, making it easier to remove from a shaft or housing. The key is to apply heat evenly and gradually, typically using a controlled heat source like a heat gun or an induction heater, to avoid uneven expansion or damage to the bearing and the surrounding components. The correct temperature must be reached to ensure sufficient expansion for removal but should not be so high as to alter the metallurgical properties of the bearing. This method is highly effective for interference fits or bearings that have seized due to corrosion or overuse.

Pacific International Bearing recommends the use of bearing induction heaters to let users control the process of mounting bearings onto a shaft or dismounting them with precision.

Methods, like torching or heating bearings in a hot oil bath, are difficult and do not have the control of an induction bearing heater

Induction heating is a non-contact, safe method for precisely heating electrically conductive materials, such as bearings, bushings, and gears. The heating process changes the physical properties of the bearing metal and allows the material or workpiece to harden, soften, or bond metals. This is especially useful not only for bearings but also gears, shafts, and axles.

Bearing induction heating is an easy solution to fit bearings onto shafts. Induction heaters create an oscillating electrical current that causes the bearing or metal to heat when placed in the device’s magnetic field. Eddy currents cause the bearing to heat and expand. Once the induction bearing heater reaches the target temperature, then it is time to remove the hot bearing with safety gloves and place it over the shaft. As it cools down, the bearing shrinks to fit.

Typically bearing induction heaters are safe, clean, and simple for replacing bearings safely, securely, and quickly on a shaft.

Maintenance teams can remove bearings without causing bearing damage or introducing particle contamination. We offer bearing induction heaters from FAG Bearing company which come in large, medium, and small sizes. We also offer a portable bearing induction heater.

Visit pibsales.com or contact us at [email protected]

Basics of Bearing Mounting Using Heat

FAG induction heating devices allow uniform, controlled heating of rolling bearings for easy handling. FAG induction heaters prevent damage during mounting and dismounting in a targeted manner.
FAG induction heating devices can be used for a wide range of applications. These include not only all conventional rolling bearings but also other ferromagnetic steel parts such as gears, clutches, and bushings.

Preparation Steps for Bearing Removal

The preparation steps for bearing removal using heat are essential for a safe and effective process. These steps include:
Safety Equipment Preparation – ensure you have all necessary safety equipment, including heat-resistant gloves, eye protection, and a fire extinguisher.

Workspace Preparation – clear the workspace of flammable materials. Ensure adequate ventilation to handle fumes or smoke.

Equipment Shutdown and Isolation – turn off and isolate the equipment from power sources. This prevents accidental activation during the removal process.

Selection of Heat Source – choose an appropriate heat source, such as a heat gun or induction heater, suitable for the bearing size and material. As mentioned we highly suggest using FAG induction heaters

Measurement Tools Ready – have tools ready for measuring temperature, ensuring the bearing is heated to the appropriate level without exceeding its material limits.

Arrangement for Cooling -plan how to cool the bearing and machinery part post-removal to avoid thermal shock or warping.

Accessibility Check – ensure the bearing is easily accessible for heating and removal. Remove any components that may obstruct the process.

Heated Bearing Removal Process

The heated bearing removal process begins with gradually heating the bearing, using a heat gun or induction heater, to expand its metal and loosen its fit. It’s crucial to apply the heat evenly around the bearing, avoiding direct flame contact, and to carefully monitor the temperature to prevent overheating. Once the bearing expands, it loosens on the shaft or housing, making it ready for removal. This step should be performed promptly as the bearing will start to cool and contract. Using appropriate tools, the bearing is then carefully removed. Post-removal, allow the bearing and the part it was attached to cool down slowly to room temperature to avoid thermal shock.

Heating the BearingGradually heat the bearing using the selected heat source. Ensure even distribution of heat to prevent warping or uneven expansion. Monitor the temperature carefully to avoid overheating.
Observing ExpansionWatch for signs of expansion. As the bearing heats up, it should loosen on the shaft or in the housing, becoming easier to remove.
Removal of the BearingOnce the bearing is sufficiently expanded, carefully remove it using appropriate tools. This step must be done promptly as the bearing will begin to cool and contract.
Cooling DownAfter removal, allow the bearing and the machinery part to cool down slowly to room temperature. Rapid cooling can cause thermal shock and damage.
Inspection Post-RemovalInspect the shaft and housing for any damage post-removal. Also, check the removed bearing, if it’s to be reused.
The heated bearing removal process involves several steps

Finally, inspect both the shaft and housing and the bearing itself if it is to be reused, for any signs of damage. This detailed process requires a balance of precision, patience, and safety precautions to ensure effective removal without damaging the bearing or the machinery.

In conclusion, the process of removing bearings using heat is an easy solution when properly executed. Of course, this is an essential task in machinery maintenance and repair. It requires a methodical approach, balancing safety, precision, and technical knowledge. This process underscores the importance of understanding the material properties and the intricacies involved in bearing operations.

For professionals seeking quality bearings and expert guidance, Pacific International Bearing Sales offers an extensive range of bearings and induction heating tools. 

Check our online store or contact us.

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Written by

Kevin Sweeney

Founder and CEO at Pacific International Bearing Sales Inc (PIB)
Education: BS Business and Economics California State University Hayward Ca
CBS (Certified Bearing Specialist)

My role with Pacific International Bearings (PIB) is currently CEO. Since 1976, I have been deeply involved in the bearing industry, working in manufacturing sales at NTN Bearing and subsequently in Bearing Distribution. Before establishing PIB in 1990, I gathered valuable experience in bearing manufacturing and distribution. The last 45 + years in the bearing industry have been both rewarding and challenging, assisting customers across a large number of diverse bearing applications.
Outside of the bearing industry, my interests are family, woodworking, motorcycling, cars, gardening, and golf.
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