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What are bearing isolators?

9/17/2013 10:30:34 AM | by Anonymous

Bearing Isolators

Bearing isolators are installed in equipment which have rotating parts. They are used to reduce friction of the moving parts in the equipment to prevent wear and tear and also to expand the lifetime of the rotating equipment. Most bearing isolators consist of a dynamic seal which includes a rotor and a stator which are attached to the shaft.


Most bearing isolators can be used in environments which have citric acids used in juice processing. In many paper and pulp processing plants, strong sulfides are also present. Most bearing isolators come in a standardization of a single material at the plant, this eliminates the need to buy different sizes of bearing isolators.

The more advanced type of bearing isolators has a design which has a two way sealing mechanism that ensures there is no lubricant leakage in their equipment. Having this unique design also ensures that the equipment is excluded from contaminants. The older types of bearing isolators still rely on the o-rings and other internal seals.

Bearing isolators can also be in gearbox applications. If bearing isolators are not installed, it will lead to the wear and tear of internal gearbox components. Studies have shown that by including the proper type of bearing isolators, internal gear components will be kept safe after 13 months as compared to 3 months if the bearing isolators were not installed.

In food processing, where it is important to keep unwanted chemicals away from the food, a different type of material has to be used in the bearing isolators. Most equipment in bearing isolators for food processing includes motors and drive of wash down grade. This is also good as if reduces the down time in food processing processes such as picker hubs. Furthermore, the time and costs of maintaining are also greatly reduced.


Tests for the effectiveness of bearing isolators

As with most products, bearing isolators are tested in the laboratory. Laboratory is more efficient than field testing. As with field testing, it is more expensive and time-consuming to identify and locate the faults with the machine. If there were any failures, it would also affect the production cycle which indirectly may lead to a drop in sales. However, with laboratory testing, these failures can be determined before producing such a large amount of bearing isolators. This enables the company to save more costs and improve their overall efficiency by reducing the number of faults and failure before going into mass production.

There are 3 tests that should be conducted with a bearing isolator to determine its effectiveness. The first test would be the oil sealing test. This involves splashing oil over the bearing isolators for about a hundred hours. The equipment is then checked to see if any oil has been able to penetrate through.

The next test would be the water exclusion test which involves injecting five nozzles into the equipment at different locations of the seal to simulate an external wash down. The water pressures are usually set at 30 to 60 psi, and the nozzles are sprayed from a distance of about 3 inches for a period of about 2 hours.
The last test would be the dust protection tests. A large amount of sand and fine dust is placed in the equipment for about 70 hours while rotating at speeds at up to over 3500 rpm.

If a bearing isolator is able to pass these three grueling torture tests then it is considered to be of high quality.

Components of a bearing isolator

The bearing isolators include materials such as the materials for the seals, the motor and rotor which is commonly made of metallic equipment, hydraulics, automation parts, filtration and instrumentation equipment.

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