A bearing isolator can be defined as non-contact, non-wearing, and permanent bearing protection device. The device has a rotor and stator, which are bound together so that they do not separate from one another while operating the device. The rotor turns with a rotating shaft, while the stator is pressed into a bearing housing. These components interact with each other to avoid the contamination of bearing. Bearing isolators help keep lubrication in and contamination out. Bearing isolators do not need lubrication or any kind of shaft finish during operation.
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Bearing insulators are usually made up of bronze, which helps utilize vapor blocking feature and enables free transfer of vapor contamination at the time of rotation of the equipment. Much before the innovation of bearing isolator, the bearing protection for industrial equipment was carried out with contact seals such as lip seals and face seals. These seals were temporary and unpredictable with regard to protection of heavy duty bearings in heavy machineries. The usage of these seals led to catastrophic failures due to bearing degradation.
These seals were replaced by bearing isolators. Bearing isolators have proven to be economic alternatives for lip seals and face seals, as they provide longevity and have the ability to perform extremely well with respect in providing bearing protection capability. Bearing isolators also provide two-way sealing protection for rotating equipment, which helps in extending the bearing life. Various technologies applied on high performance materials allow bearing isolators to operate far beyond the shaft speed.
Based on type, the bearing isolators market can be divided into metallic bearing isolator and non-metallic bearing isolator. Metallic bearing isolator is usually manufactured with bronze as the standard material. Metallic bearing isolators offer excellent chemical resistance properties. Non-metallic bearing isolators are specially designed for corrosive environments. The standard material used in manufacturing non-metallic isolators is polytetrafluoroethylene. These isolators have a wide temperature capability and provide outstanding chemical resistance. The metallic bearing isolator segment accounts for the major share due to its cost effectiveness and key functional properties such as non-sparkle and high wear resistance. It is the ideal bearing isolator in oil & gas, chemical processing, metal processing, and mining industries.
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Based on application, the global bearing isolators market can be split into oil & gas, chemical processing, mining, paper & pulp, metal processing, and others. Bearing isolators are primarily used in the oil & gas application, as it has proven to be the optimum solution for bearing failure. It has also helped increase the Mean Time Between Repair (MTBR) and reliability of rotating equipment in the oil & gas industry.