In the never-ending search for improved operational efficiencies, the cam followers in use in your facility may present some opportunities to reduce replacement and repair costs while increasing uptime. Operating environments vary greatly, which is why a wide variety of cam followers – suitable for every condition – has been made available. Look for the following factors that may be draining the life from your cam followers and if no adjustment can be made, consider replacements that have been designed to address that specific problem.
Misalignment is a major contributor to shortened lifespan of cam followers. Refer to the installation instructions to improve the alignment of the track or housing. If you are noticing evidence of corner loading, consider a replacement cam follower that features a slight crown on the OD of the bearing, which helps center the load.
Another contributor to shortened lifespan is incidental thrust, which can also be caused by misalignment of housing or track, in addition to high loading. If improvements to alignment do not result in a reduction of incidental thrust, you may want to consider cam followers designed to manage it, such as those featuring double rows of cylindrical rollers as found in heavy duty bearings.
Internal contamination can wash grease out of cam follower bearings and particles can dent raceways, leading to an early need for replacement. However, cam follower bearings that feature rubber lip seals – also found in heavy duty bearings – can prevent contamination, as can bearings featuring a metal end plug seal on the roller face, as found in other special duty bearings.
Lastly, the key to a long-lasting cam follower is lubrication. In addition to reviewing the selection, frequency, amount, and procedure of relubrication, you may want to consider a more efficient cam follower when the time comes for replacement. Some heavy duty cam followers feature large lubricant reservoirs to keep more grease in the bearing, while some cam followers feature bearings that utilize a non-metallic bushing instead of needle rollers, eliminating the need for relubrication altogether.