The bearing is the heart of a machine tool spindle. Optimal operating conditions result in a smooth functioning machine with little noise and vibration. However, when a bearing fails, it can result in lengthy and expensive downtime. There are many reasons for bearing failure, but only one type contributes to most machine tool spindle failures—bearing contamination.
Bearings rely on a clean operating environment to function efficiently and quietly. Therefore, introducing contaminants can and will result in premature bearing failure. Some common contaminants are:
The best way to ensure that contaminants do not enter the spindle bearings is to operate the machine in the cleanest environment possible. Keep dust prone operations and tools away from machine tool machines. Verify that the spindle seals are working correctly and are in good condition to keep coolant and chips from entering the bearings. And always clean and purge air lines before installing onto a machine or directly on a spindle.