The term "bearing" is a derivative of the verb "to bear." A bearing allows one part to bear (to support) another while constraining relative motion and reducing friction.
Bearings on alternators bear a lot. Power generation is a demanding application for bearings, and as such, they are precise devices that require a regimented maintenance program to ensure a long, trouble-free life.
Sleeve bearings, which Kato Engineering uses on larger generators, have an oil system, and the oil is typically changed at the same time as the engine or turbine oil. Ball and roller bearings use grease and have their own greasing interval.
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