The basics of Industrial Lubricant Selection
When choosing the correct industrial lubricant, there are various aspects to consider. A manufacturer’s recommendation is a good place to start, but it isn’t the only option. The majority of manuals are produced in ideal settings, but they do not take into account the actual environment in which the equipment is used. What if your equipment’s manufacturer recommends NLGI-grade #2 grease, but you’re working in below-freezing temperatures?
It’s important to utilise an industrial lubricant that’s tailored to your unique needs. If you are ready to do the research and learn the basics, there are new developments in lubrication that could prove to be more reliable or increase the life of your equipment.
Customers should be aware of the 4 C’s of Lubrication:
- Correct Technology
- Correct Quantity
- Correct Frequency
- Correct Procedures
Correct Lubrication Technology
To identify which lubricant is suitable for a certain application, one must first evaluate the situation. Consider elements like as speed, temperature, load, vibration, moisture, and dust in the application/environment. Consider the following:
- The type of lubricant base oil is determined by temperature.
- The viscosity required (at operating temperature) is determined by speed.
- The additive package is determined by load, vibration, and moisture.
A lubricant can be classified into three (3) categories:
- Fluid (Liquid)
- Semi-Solid (Grease)
- Solids (Dry)
Grease, for example, is made up of an oil base stock, thickeners, and performance-enhancing functional additives. Conventional base stocks like mineral oils and standard thickeners like lithium/lithium complex are available. These thickener-based greases are less expensive and thus more widely utilised, but they don’t perform as well as synthetic base greases. The additive package in a lubricant has a considerable impact on the lubricant’s performance.
The viscosity of a lubricant decreases as temperatures or speeds rise. Viscosity, or the resistance to flow of a fluid, is critical for equipment protection. To reduce friction, you’ll need a formulation that provides a suitable film layer of lubrication.
Keep the application environment in mind when choosing a suitable industrial lubricant. Choose a lubricant with low water washout and high corrosion resistance properties, for example, if you expect a bearing to be exposed to significant amounts of water contact. Choose a higher base oil viscosity lubricant with high-load capabilities in situations where bearings are operating at low speeds and under extreme pressure to improve equipment reliability. In each situation, choosing the right lubricant can pay off handsomely.
Prepare for bad weather in advance.
If you’re working in a harsh environment like a mining industry, where there’s a lot of moisture, corrosion, and extreme temperatures, choosing the correct lubricant is even more important. Selecting a lubricant that will maintain a sufficient coating of lubrication to reduce friction, resist load and wear, and prevent corrosion is even more crucial to equipment life.
Quantity and frequency of lubrication must be correct.
It’s critical to understand the consequences of over- or under-greasing your equipment. Re-greasing too frequently and/or with the wrong amount of grease, or automatically lubricating with the wrong lubricant, can be harmful. The goal should be to give the right sort of lubrication, in the right amount, at the right time, whether you use an automatic system or a human one. This method ensures a continual level of security.
The harm caused by over or under greasing is exemplified by frequent bearing failure. According to the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA), % of bearing failures are due to poor or inadequate lubrication. To appropriately pick re-lubrication intervals, it is necessary to understand the many parameters surrounding the operation of every individual bearing. Greasing too much will result in higher operating temperatures, which will result in energy losses and eventual bearing failure. Similarly, employing insufficient grease will prevent the grease from adequately carrying the weight applied to it, resulting in bearing failure.
Procedures for Proper Lubrication
Procedures for maintaining a lubrication program should be put in place once the proper lubrication has been determined. This will ensure that all maintenance employees follow the right lubrication methods for each piece of equipment throughout the plant. The creation of a lubrication strategy should be included in the maintenance standard operating procedures.
These elements should be considered:
- Examining storage and handling circumstances
- Keeping track of the correct lubricant type for each application
- Determining the proper amount of lubrication per day and re-lubrication frequency
- Monitoring the Mean Time Between Failures (MTBR)/Mean Time Between Maintenance (MTBM) (MTBM) You can identify patterns in performance over time and adjust accordingly if you keep meticulous records.
With your lubrication selection process, you may improve equipment performance and save money.
Equipment and staff are being pushed to deliver as industry strives to increase production efficiencies and demand more from current resources. Rethinking your lube selection process is a simple method to improve equipment dependability and performance.
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