Maintaining the correct lubrication on your heavy machinery is imperative to its performance. Without it, you’re at higher risk of equipment failure and increased machine downtime.
But what is lubrication?
It sounds simple, just greasing anything that’s squeaky… But it’s really much more complex.
Lubrication is the control of friction and wear by introducing a friction-reducing film between two moving surfaces.
The purpose of lubrication is primarily to reduce friction, but it also has other uses, including:
- Cooling (heat dissipation)
- Cleaning (contaminant transport to filters)
- Reducing corrosion
- Absorbing shock
- Sealing from contaminants
- Transmitting power
What types of lubrication are available?
Basically, there are two types: oil and grease.
Oils are made up of a base oil and an additive. The base oil controls the properties of the oil, while the additive determines its characteristics.
Some typical additives are:
- Antioxidants – stop oxygen reaction and reduce corrosion and sludge
- Detergents – counteract acids, and clean deposits and sludge
- Extreme pressure additives – create a film that stops adhesive wear
Greases contain a base oil, an additive, and a thickener. In essence, the thickener consists of simple or complex metal soaps and non-soaps and its purpose is to thicken.
But aren’t oil and grease used for the same things? Surprisingly not. They actually have some distinctly different uses…
Uses of oils:
- Cooling eg. a car engine
- Carrying away contaminants
- High speed areas eg. turbine bearings, conveyors, pumps
Uses of greases:
- High contaminant environments (seals out dust)
- Static and dynamic loads on bearings (slow rotation)
Lubrication Of Your Equipment
Lubrication can be done manually, or with Automated Lubricant Systems. Managing the lubrication schedule of all your machinery is much easier with ALS.
The benefits of ALS for heavy equipment include reducing machine downtime, improving employee safety and efficiency, extending equipment operating life, improving machine performance and reducing impact on the environment.
Whether you choose manual or automated lubrication, you’ll want to follow these top tips:
- Lubricate with the right type, right amount, and right frequency
- Keep oil and grease dry and cool
- Use ID tags on all lubrication dispensing equipment and asset points
- Reduce and consolidate lubricants
- Perform oil analysis on critical assets
- Clean and change oil filters at the right time