During remanufacturing, deeper grinding of inner and outer ring raceways of larger bearings is acceptable. Moreover, further machining methods, such as hard turning, can be applied. Superficial damage is removed, and the stressed material volume is modified. The surface is finished to its original blueprint specification. In some cases, new rolling elements exceeding the original rolling element diameter may be engineered. This size increase of the rolling elements may require reworking of the cage pockets or cage replacement.
After work is completed, final inspection and measurements, cleaning and preservation, service reporting and archiving of documentation should be performed.
Early Damage Detection Is Key
Success in remanufacturing will turn on when the bearing is flagged for the process. In some particularly critical industries, it is common practice to remove rolling bearings during scheduled maintenance or overhaul of equipment, regardless of the bearing’s condition, and then perform the rework and return the bearing to service. Since this is not necessarily the case in all industries, when does a bearing become a legitimate candidate for remanufacturing?
Predictive maintenance strategies and associated condition monitoring technologies offer a big assist in detecting early defects and damage, which can signal the early need for intervention and resolution to extend bearing service life. Other related technologies, such as traditional vibration monitoring and lubrication analysis (detecting wear particles), also can be engaged—all in an effort to avoid catastrophic failure and the increasingly intensive and costly rework required for totally failed bearings.
In short, bearing damage detected at the earliest possible stage will contribute to a timely and positive remanufacturing outcome at relatively minimal cost. Despite the potential benefits of remanufacturing, the question still arises as to whether a restored bearing will perform like new.