Case Study: Measuring Bearing Friction in Real-Time: What 8.5 Billion Data Points Has Taught Us

Blair Fraser, Vice President Of Global Business Development, UE Systems


When it comes to monitoring bearing health, most of the industry automatically thinks vibration, and while they are not wrong, they may be overlooking an alternative measurement that provides simplicity and versatility that can both compliment vibration and stand on its own. 

Structure-borne ultrasound paired with a single-point lubricator is an innovative way to monitor and control the friction in a bearing. By using ultrasound sensors, we can continuously monitor the friction levels in our bearings. After reviewing the real-time friction values of thousands of bearings, with almost 8.5 billion data points collected, we were able to confirm what we had expected – that the proper amount of lubrication, applied at the right time, will bring our friction levels back down to baseline. However, we also discovered multiple new scenarios in a bearing that manifests with friction that even the most experienced ultrasound and bearing experts did not see coming. 

This presentation will walk through the various scenarios using real data to support each use case that was often overlooked with periodic route-based inspection or never even thought of as possible before real-time friction monitoring came along.  If you have ever wondered what is happening with your grease in a bearing when it needs replenishing, what happens with friction when you need to flush out old grease, or simply how friction works in a 10 RPM bearing, this presentation will cover our findings from similar situations that are supported by real data. 


Blair Fraser is a technology evangelist with a natural curiosity to think differently and challenge current thinking. He is Director of Global IIoT Solutions for UE Systems and the co-founder and advisor to many companies in the technology space.