The use of industrial lubrication has been around for more than a thousand years; olive oil and fats were first used by Egyptians to reduce frictional heat in the hubs of wooden wheels used on chariots. It is critical to understand why lubrication still seems to be a prime concern in industries today.

Why is precision lubrication important? Most maintenance experts will answer “to prevent failures”. While this is true to some extent, it is important to properly define the meaning of failure. Let’s have a look at some of the common types of failures:

Catastrophic failure

Catastrophic failure is often referred to as a sudden failure of a machine that leads to ceasing production operations and causes expensive collateral damage. For example, a seized piston ring can cause the rod to push through the cylinder wall while the engine is operating, or the failure of an ID fan bearing due to poor lubrication causing the motor and fan housing to be ripped from the base.

These kinds of situations are catastrophic and can cost you millions of dollars. Production interruptions, collateral damage and safety hazards are some of the consequences of not paying due attention to proper maintenance of industrial equipment. Reliability engineering and implementation of a well-thought-out lubrication program is the only way to prevent catastrophic failures.

Functional failure

Simply put, functional failure is the inability of a system to meet a specified performance standard. Needless to say that a complete loss of function can be referred to as a functional failure. A machine can be considered to have functionally failed while still operating. When your equipment doesn’t work in compliance with required design specifications, you can consider the problem as a functional failure which ultimately leads to catastrophic failure.

Related: Unreliable Equipment: Causes And Solutions

Lubrication-related failure

More than 50% of catastrophic and functional failures are caused due to lubrication-related issues. Poor lubrication selection, poor application practices, lubricant contamination and degradation are some of the factors that lead to lubrication-related failure.

You can prevent equipment failure and improve reliability by following the recommended lubrication practices which involve testing, filtration, handling, storage, and application. If you want to have maintenance experts carry out an on-site inspection of your facility, consult a reputable maintenance company.

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