Bearings are important components in industrial machinery, and they are used to transfer movement from one component to another with as little friction as possible. As such, they are often securely fit with smooth sides and therefore very difficult to remove with conventional hand tools. When removing a bearing, there are several methods and tools available to use. However, some are much better than others in terms of preventing personal injury and damage to machinery. The following is a list of the different methods you can use to remove a bearing and some of the benefits and drawbacks to consider for each:
Considered one of the best ways to remove a bearing, bearing pullers are tools specially designed to remove a bearing without damaging the bearing and its surrounding parts. Bearing pullers come in two types, external and internal. External pullers are useful for dissembling a bearing that is mounted on a shaft. A set of adjustable jaws on the external puller, external bearing pullers clamp onto the outer diameter of a bearing while, in the center, a forcing screw pushes firmly against the shaft. When the screw is turned, it forces the jaws back and pulls the bearing along with them freeing it from the shaft. External bearing pullers may be simply mechanical or assisted by hydraulics for heavy machinery. Internal bearing pullers cannot be assisted by hydraulics. However, they are unmatched for removing bearings fitted inside of a recess with space only in their hollow center. Rather than clamping on the outside of a bearing, the jaws of an internal puller expand out firmly against the inner diameter of a bearing so it can be removed. For applications which require both types of pullers, reversible options are available.
Bearing pullers are a great method because they are specially built to be gentle on surrounding machinery and use far less manual effort than if you were to remove a bearing by brute force. In addition, pullers are easily adjustable and can fit a wide range of bearings, regardless of their size or shape. However, as they must be operated in part by hand, bearing pullers may not be suitable for larger, heavier bearings which cannot be easily lifted.
When dealing with very large, heavy bearings, you may benefit from using hydraulics. Rather than relying solely on mechanical force, a hydraulic nut or hydraulic pump and oil injector uses pressurized fluid to remove a bearing with minimal manual effort. In a hydraulic nut, pressurized fluid is used to close an adjustable nut very tightly on a bearing for as long as the hydraulics are engaged. By contrast, a hydraulic pump and oil injector is not directly attached to a bearing but instead uses a pressurized pump to let out a stream of oil at the desired force and amount needed to help in removal. Using hydraulics to remove a bearing allows for greater control and precision. There is also less manual force required to use hydraulics than a puller, making it a good option for removing large, heavy-duty machinery.
Hot Oil and Steam
Relying on the phenomenon of thermal expansion, hot oil or steam can be used to expand a bearing enough to easily remove it from its shaft. Whilst this method is effective, it can also be extremely dangerous. Hot oil and steam can easily cause personal injury if the correct safety measures are not taken and can also damage surrounding machinery. This method should be avoided if possible as it may have more cost than its worth.
The final method of bearing removal is using a hammer or other tool to dismount a bearing manually. This often requires a high amount of force as most bearings are fitted very tightly in or on their housing. While brute force can be effective, it poses a similar risk of personal injury and damage to the bearing and its surrounding instruments. As such, it is not recommended for most applications and should be avoided where possible.
There are several methods of bearing removal at your disposal; however, it is always important to consider the risk of injury, damage, and the resulting cost. As costly and competitive as the airline industry is by default, a lot of time and resources can be saved by choosing the right tools for maintenance of all kinds. On Stacked Aviation, our customers can find an extensive inventory of new and obsolete aircraft parts at competitive prices and proven quality of service. Feel free to browse our catalog of aviation parts on our website and/or send a completed Request for Quote (RFQ) form with details about your aircraft part needs today to get a tailored response in fifteen minutes or less
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