What Causes of Industrial Lubrication Failure?

Big industries require bigger machines, and to run those machines, they require effective lubrication. The absence of lubricants makes it harder for your machines to work properly, leading to their early corrosion. Machines undergo extensive processes without a lubricant film; they might go into premature failure. The most common problem is surface degradation due to contaminants. Another type of problem that happens occasionally is the failure of bearings. It is one of the problems that is caused by material fatigue. Apart from this, many other problems happen with the machines due to lubrication failure. What are the causes of lubrication failure, and how can you prevent them? This blog post will help you understand the different causes of lubrication failure and what you can do to avoid them.

Water Contamination

One of the biggest causes of lubrication failure is water contamination. Water contamination can cause catastrophic failures in any machine, the most common result of water contamination is rust. This is due to the oxidation process on the surface of iron or iron alloys. Therefore, exposure to moisture and water content must be avoided at all costs. Lubricants must be covered properly when not in use, and the machines must be kept dry to avoid any water contamination.

Other Types Of Contamination

It is not just water contamination that can cause lubrication failure, but other types of contamination can also be responsible for a machine’s failure. Contamination is any unwelcome foreign substance that gets into a bearing’s lubricant. These substances might include dust, dirt, steel chips, wooden particles or any other contamination from your working areas, or even dirty hands and tools. Therefore, special care must be taken to avoid any contamination in the lubrication process. The machines and the area where the machines are working must be cleaned thoroughly.

Improper Lubrication

Some studies show that up to 80% of machine failures are caused by improper lubrication. It includes wrong lubrication type usage, insufficient lubrication, or excessive temperature that might degrade the lubricant. Therefore, you must hire lubrication technicians who know which lubricant is effective for that machine and how to properly lubricate it. Moreover, they must also know how to store different lubricants to avoid water contamination or any other type of lubricant degradation. Incorrect decrease base, the use of grease when you should be using static or circulating oil, or over lubrication can also affect the machine and lead to lubrication failure. Also read: Know about the Basics of Automatic Lubrication System

Machine Fatigue

Excessive load on the machine, continuous running without proper lubrication, and similar things can fatigue the machine. This leads to fracturing the running parts and its surfaces. Moreover, lack of proper lubrication also leads to machine fatigue. All this must be avoided at all costs. If you notice any increase in the vibrations and noise of the machine, it is better to check it as soon as possible.

Prevent Failures

Keeping yourself aware of the potential reasons behind a machine and lubrication failure is necessary to prevent those failures. Apart from the factors mentioned above, over-heating, electrical damage, and improper machine mounting can lead to bearing and lubrication failure. If you experience any problems with your machine, it is best to call a professional lubricant expert who can assist you in the process.

About Micro-Lube

Micro Lube is a leading and diversified maintenance company associated with several supreme quality filtration and lubrication products. At Micro-Lube, we provide:
  • State-of-the-art industrial filters
  • Lubricants
  • Oil handling equipment
  • Other equipment maintenance systems that are designed for both commercial and industrial applications
We have built our reputation on delivering affordable and personalized services to our customers. Our mission is to serve commercial, industrial, and manufacturing industries with the best possible products and services which deliver consistent performance. Our existing client base has been with us for over 20 years, and we look forward to building long-term business relationships with new companies looking for professional and personalized maintenance services based on the latest research and development findings. Our expert team can help you apply the correct lubricants to your machines while making significant cost savings and improving your equipment’s reliability and efficiency. Contact us here for further information.

5 Warning Signs Of Lubrication Failure

5 Warning Signs Of Lubrication Failure Lubrication failure can be defined as a lack of success in accomplishing lubrication goals in any equipment. We often attribute these goals to the lubricant’s correct selection and its quality only, but they are also supported by how we perform the lubrication methods we follow, and how efficient and effective our lubrication program is. The primary objectives of a successful lubrication program include:
  • Providing a lubricant film to decrease friction and wear and tear between moving parts.
  • Act as a heat-transfer fluid to reduce an equipment’s operating temperature
  • Remove contaminants from the lubricant and lubrication system.
  • Minimize the corrosion of metal surfaces and prevent the buildup of varnish and sludge in the system.

Oil Analysis

A successful lubrication program is essential to keep your manufacturing plant running smoothly. You can tell if your lubrication program is on track by carrying out a thorough oil analysis and lubrication test and comparing their results with previous reports. These analyses will also help you identify important signs that may indicate if your lubrication program is failing.

Spotting Problems

In the end, it is all about spotting problems before they can wreak havoc on your machine. Regular lubrication testing and inspection will extend your machinery’s life and reduce costly and inconvenient failures. When oil analysis takes place, it helps to spot various warning signs of lubrication failure. We mention some of these important signs below.

Total Acid Number

Testing for the total acid number is an essential part of oil analysis. It measures the amount of oxidation that a lubricant undergoes since its top-up in the machine. It is an important indicator of the lubricant’s performance and helps technicians predict the best time to change the oil. Unless the lubricant is properly stored in a sealed container, the air can quickly cause its oxidation, decreasing its effectiveness. A total acid number that is higher than the lubricant’s initial acid number is a key indicator of lubrication failure.

Particle Count

Dirt and other impurities in the environment can quickly accumulate in the lubricant, decreasing its effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to keep your lubricants clean. Having an effective filtration system will increase the longevity and quality of the lubricated equipment. Like the total acid number, the system’s particle count is an important warning sign of lubrication problems. A particle count provides information about the cleanliness of the system and the filtration system’s performance. As the particle count of a lubricant increases, its effectiveness decreases significantly. This indicates problems with the lubricant. To avoid lubrication failure you must replace your oil immediately.


Water is a known enemy of lubricants. Although it is an issue in any area, environments with high moisture levels can impact your lubricants performance significantly. Different lubricants have varying tolerance for water content. Whenever the water content exceeds this acceptable level, it can decrease the lubricant’s quality, impacting its performance and lead to lubrication failure.


Running a metal analysis on a lubricant can also help you identify problems with your lubricant. As the equipment wears, it releases metal components in the lubricated area and into the lubricant. As with water content, different lubricants have varying tolerances for metal content. However, a lubricants metal analysis that shows too much metal present can indicate possible lubrication failure unless you change and replace the lubricant immediately.


Checking the viscosity of a lubricant is the easiest and the simplest way to determine lubricant performance. An increase in viscosity directly indicates a lubricants wear. As a general rule of thumb, you should replace your lubricant before its viscosity changes more than 10 percent. You can easily measure a lubricant’s changing viscosity by tracking a fixed amount of oil as it travels through the system. These are the important signs that can help you determine whether your lubricant program is on track or not. For more information on lubrication failure and developing an effective lubrication program, visit our website or contact us here today.
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