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Proper Lubrication of Ceramic Bearings 

Ceramic bearings have different lubrication requirements than steel bearings.  Improperly lubricated, ceramic bearings lose their advantage which is enough of a reason right there to know how to lubricate them properly. 

The first rule of proper lubrication is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  No one knows the technical requirements of a particular bearing better than the manufacturer. 

Here are some general guidelines that most manufacturers recommend:

  • Ceramic bearings require less lubricant than their steel counterparts.  Over-lubricating ceramic bearings increases their rolling resistance.  The very reason ceramic bearings are used is ultimately to decrease rolling resistance and friction.  The viscosity of excess lubricant negates their advantage.  Usually, only a thin coat of lubricant is required for optimal lubrication of ceramic bearings.
  • Use a ceramic bearing specific lubricant whenever possible.  While any lubricant is better than no lubricant, a ceramic specific lubricant will provide the most efficient results.
  • Although ceramic bearings require less lubricant, do keep in mind that they still do require some lubrication.  Operation without lubrication is likely to result in damage to the bearing and possibly to the equipment they are installed in.
  • Ceramic bearings generally benefit from more frequent cleaning and maintenance, especially if the bearings are exposed to abrasive matter in the form of fine particles, such as dirt or dust.  Many manufacturers have maintenance schedules and procedures.
  • When re-lubricating, remove all traces of any previous lubricants with a solvent such as paint thinner, then dry solvent out thoroughly.  Mixing lubricants that could be of different types could result in ineffective lubrication which could result in bearing damage.
  • Bearings seals are best maintained on a regular basis and replaced upon the first signs of seal degradation.
  • Whenever working with lubricants and solvents, be sure to familiarize yourself with their safe use and potential hazards.

Establish a maintenance schedule that is flexible enough to allow for environmental conditions. Regular maintenance and proper lubrication will keep your ceramic bearings performing at optimum levels. 

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