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New bearing technology combines grease analysis and vibration diagnosis


Through the intelligent interconnection of its products, Schaeffler Industrial Aftermarket has said it will make it possible in the future to combine the monitoring and condition-based lubrication of rolling bearings in one system that combines grease and vibration diagnosis with a lubricator that is activated by the monitoring devices. This allows every critical change during operation to be detected and rectified at an early stage before damage to the rolling bearing occurs. This means comprehensive monitoring and a constant, optimum supply of grease is possible without the need for somebody to be in the vicinity. It is especially beneficial for machines that are difficult to access or critical in the event of failure.

Until now, the company says, it has not been possible to reliably analyze the lubricating grease in rolling bearings during operation. Now, Schaeffler’s FAG GreaseCheck sensor permanently monitors the condition of the grease and sounds the alarm as soon as critical changes occur. When this is combined with FAG SmartCheck – a compact system for measuring vibration and other parameters – the rolling bearing is completely under control. The final piece of the comprehensive monitoring puzzle falls into place with the integration of the new FAG Concept 8 lubricator. It has eight outlets that can be activated by the condition monitoring devices and, depending on its requirements, supply the rolling bearing with Arcanol, a lubricant developed specially by Schaeffler. 

The components, with their innovative features and functions, have many advantages for the customer, even when they are operated individually. For example, the compact design and attractive price of the FAG SmartCheck mean that smaller machines that are less critical in the event of failure can be monitored cost-effectively for the first time ever. 

The FAG Concept 8 lubricator is able to dispense different quantities of lubricant and therefore provides a unique solution for electric motors, machine tools, printing machinery, wind turbines and the food industry. It can replace centralized lubrication systems. 

The characteristics of the lubricants are also decisive when it comes to achieving a long operating life for rolling bearings. FAG’s Arcanol rolling bearing greases were designed and tested for a wide range of applications and have better characteristics than normal greases in all areas.

The FAG GreaseCheck grease sensor was specifically developed for the Arcanol grease range. It can detect four parameters using the optical infrared reflection method: Water content, cloudiness, thermal or mechanical wear, and temperature. The intelligent evaluation electronics generate an analogue signal from these values that keeps the operator constantly informed of the condition of the grease.