Causes and diagnosis of rolling bearing damages


In addition to gears, rolling bearings belong by far to the most heavily loaded machine components. In the case of a machine defect, the clearest signs and most massive damages can be found on the bearings. Thereby, the rolling bearing itself, is almost never the failure reason. In fact, the amount of bearing failures, caused by real production failures or material defects is very small. Figure 1 gives an overview of the most common causes of rolling bearing damage.

Diagnosis and Damage Analysis

Causes of failure of rolling bearings in field

Often a machine defect is not noticed until a massive damage has already occurred to several components. In such a case, usually measures for a quick repair has got priority. Important information on finding causes and thus avoiding damages in the future are lost during disassembly or transport. Often only parts of damaged components remain for a subsequent failure diagnosis.

Our service includes:

  • Visual bearing diagnostics
  • lubricant analysis
  • Metallographic investigations andevaluation of rolling bearings
  • Metrological analysis of all components
  • Measurement of form deviations and surface structures of rolling bearing components
  • SEM investigations for the detection of elements or passage of current
  • Calculative and constructional verification of the bearing arrangement
  • FE analyses of machine components and strength calculation


Close up of a  bearing damage and damaged rolling elements

Example - Proof of the cause of a standstill corrosion due to improper lubricant change and water intrusion by using systematic lubricant analyses

In that case, the service of our Application Engineering Team, with many years of experience and the necessary expert knowledge of a rolling bearing manufacturer, is at your disposal. We offer a profound support, from the detection of a mechanical defect to the complex investigation of a non-functional bearing solution.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our application engineering team.