Why Your Bearings Are Better With Seals

Why Your Bearings Are Better With Seals

A photo of a series of sealed roller bearings against a white background. They're lined up from smallest to largest.

You wouldn’t leave the windows open in your car when it’s raining. So why would you want to leave your bearings exposed to contaminants? That’s where seals come in. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how bearing seals work, why they are important, and lastly, we’ll examine a sealed spherical roller bearing that stands above rest.

How Do Bearing Seals Work?

Bearing seals are designed to create a physical barrier between the bearing and the environment around it. They are typically made of flexible, resilient materials like rubber, and conform closely to contours of a bearing’s housing, shaft, or other components.

This barrier keeps the internal components of the bearing, such as rolling elements and lubricant, protected from external factors. It also helps guard against lubricant loss. 

Bearing seals can be either replaceable or permanent. Some units are fully factory-sealed, prompting replacement only when the entire unit has exhausted its service life. While these can effectively be called maintenance-free, you may incur a higher cost for replacement. Other products utilize replaceable bearing seals that can be removed independently of the bearing assembly. 

The sealing mechanism can vary, but a common design is the lip seal, featuring a flexible lip that extends inward toward the bearing. When the bearing is in use, the shaft causes the lip seal to press against the stationary outer housing, creating a tight seal

Why Are Bearing Seals Important?

Bearing seals can extend the life of your bearings by simply protecting them from outside contaminants. Whether that is small, medium, or large particles, dust, oil, or even extreme temperatures, sealed bearings add an extra layer of protection between your bearings and the outside world.

Additionally, because sealed bearings require less maintenance and attention, you can eliminate time-consuming tasks like lubrication from your facility’s to-do list. This in turn enhances worker safety, as they won’t be needing to squeeze into tight places when checking for lubrication, or interference with your bearings from contaminants.

Lastly, sealed bearings can save you immense amounts of time and money, because they can prevent downtime by enhancing bearing reliability.

For more information, view the Sealed SKF Explorer spherical roller bearing brochure.

What Is a Good Sealed Bearing Option?

If you’re in need of a sealed spherical roller bearing, SKF has a premium option that checks all the boxes. SKF offers the widest range of spherical roller bearings in the industry, both open and sealed, and can offer sealed bearings with an outer diameter of up to 2,500mm.

Sealed SKF Explorer spherical roller bearings are available pre-lubricated in both food grade and industrial grade specially formulated grease. They are also enclosed with high-performance contact seals. The seal protects the bearing and lubricant from contaminants that might otherwise cause premature bearing failure, thereby prolonging the bearing service life.

These bearings also feature a new design for smaller sizes that result in up to 50% less seal friction. This design reduces operating temperatures by as much as 36 °F, enabling the doubling of the limiting speed rating and extended relubrication intervals. As a result, even more applications can benefit from the superior contamination protection, such as elevators, off-highway and agricultural machinery, fans and fluid machinery, food and beverage equipment, conveyors, and some small electric motors.

Sealed SKF spherical roller bearings can help you reduce your overall costs, your environmental footprint and the risk of worker injury. You can cut down on grease consumption, save time by eliminating re-lubrication tasks, and increase reliability. On top of all of these benefits, you can also avoid costly and inconvenient downtime. 

Should You Seal Your Bearings?

When you consider all of the above– choosing a sealed bearing or notis it even really a question? The benefits are clear. But if you DO have questions, you can always reach out to our experts in our bearing and power transmission group. We’re happy to help you find the right bearing solution!

Shop For Spherical Roller Bearings Now!

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