Lubrication is a critical part of any business that runs machines. Many companies don’t realize the significance and benefits of choosing the right lubricant and lubrication strategy for their equipment. Before you select lubricants for your machines, make sure you answer some important questions. For example: is your environment dry or wet, cold or hot? How often should your machines be lubricated? How fast do your machines move? Answering basic questions will help you make the right lubricant decisions. A general understanding of how lubrication works will be of great help.
Functions of lubricants
The oil you use to lubricate your machines performs several functions. Reducing the impact of friction or heat generation isn’t the only function lubricants play to keep equipment up and running. When you use the right oil in your equipment, it not only reduces mechanical and corrosive wear but also protects surfaces from corrosive elements. Lubricants also transport contaminants to separators and filters.
What you have to do is understand what challenges your applications create and then adjust your lubrication strategy accordingly. For instance, exposure to a corrosive environment, high pressure, and high temperature are a few possibilities. Choose lubricants that fit your application.
Many ingredients and additives are required to produce a lubricant. Lubricant manufacturers add different elements to the base oil to produce a diverse range of lubricants. The additives are typically used to customize the oils and greases based on how they will be used. One of the important ingredients is a thickener, a substance composed of fibrous particles that hold the oil in place. Each type of thickener has a different impact on the shear stability, water resistance, and heat resistance properties of a lubricant.
You have to replace lubricants when their optimal lifespan is over. Your maintenance strategy must define lubrication procedures to make it easy for you to track lubricant efficiency. Destroyed bearings, metal-on-metal contact, and downtime are some of the consequences of not changing lubricants before they reach their service life. To determine your lubricant’s lifespan, monitor the temperature of your machines. The rise in temperature can reduce the lifespan of a lubricant. For example, if a lubricant typically lasts for a couple of weeks at 150 °F, its total service life would reduce to one week at 170 °F. In other words, the higher the temperature the shorter the service life.
Digital calibration tools can be used to perform vibration analysis and thermal imaging to track heat. Your maintenance technicians must oversee lubrication and keep records of lubrication intervals. Having an effective preventive maintenance strategy will help you define your lubrication goals and processes. Selecting the right oil for your application is a key part of your lubrication processes.
In most situations, it’s not always ideal to go for the lower costs. Using cheap lubricants might create problems down the line. For example, if you decide to buy a lubricant that has poor runout characteristics or causes an abrasive paste, it will lead to unplanned downtime wiping out all of your savings. So, don’t just look at the price tag when buying lubricants. Take into account the cost of downtime, expensive repairs, and halted production before selecting an inferior-quality oil.
About Micro Lube
Micro Lube provides premium quality lubricants and other lubrication storage and dispensing solutions throughout Canada. Browse through our website to find products that meet your requirements. If you’re not sure what lubricant would be ideal for your application, feel free to contact us!