You’re Doing it Wrong! Checking Bearings

May 11, 2022 | Technical / Equipment, TRM Blog | 0 comments

Owe Forsberg


an Independent Subsidiary of TRM, Inc.


Checking bearings to detect early signs of failure is an excellent way to extend the life of equipment, but don’t do it wrong! You need to use the right tools and methods.

What is condition based monitoring?

Often called predictive maintenance or inspection. A large part of improving reliability is to employ condition monitoring methods to detect failures before catastrophic break downs happens. However, condition monitoring only improves reliability if planning, scheduling, and repair is done before the breakdown happens. Find out how maintenance planning and condition based maintenance work together.

If it is neglected there are few corrective jobs in a plant that can be planned and scheduled. There are two important rules when you document a condition monitoring system:

  1. Find a method that allows ‘on the run’ monitoring rather than shutdowns
  2. Use object methods rather than subjective

What are some objective condition monitoring methods?

  • Wear particle analysis
  • Infrared
  • NDT
  • Shock pulse meter (SPM)
  • Vibration analysis
  • Temperature readings
  • Leak detection

Checking bearings, how should I do it?

Back to our subject. If you want to detect early failures a regular vibration pen won’t detect it, we suggest using a Shock Pulse Measurement (SPM) tool. In the video above, Owe Forsberg will show you the reading on our demo rig with a vibration pen versus a SPM meter. Thanks to SPM Instruments for providing us with the Bearing checker pen.

Checking bearings, pros and cons of vibration pens

There are pros and cons of using a vibration pen to check bearings

Shock Pulse Meter (SPM) for checking bearings

There are pros and cons of SPM for checking bearings


Do you have the right PMs for your equipment?

We can help your team build a cost-effective program

Reach out to us at if you have any questions or would like to discuss maintenance and reliability consulting or training.