Introducing machinery Lubrication
Machine lubrication should play a role in any maintenance strategy, potentially yielding a significant return on investment in materials and resources. What is equipment lubrication? This article will look at this critical product that sustains all types of machinery, the importance of lubricant formulation and manufacturing technology in 2022, and how we can help. It is the practice of introducing a lubricating agent — almost always an oil — into machine components to achieve several goals:
- Reduce friction
- The lower part and operating temperatures
- Wick away debris and contaminants
Lubrication is critical for any moving parts that encounter one another in a machine. Most frequently, these are rotating parts and components such as gears. Machine lubricant is designed to prevent:
- Undue wear and tear on components
- Premature failure of components
- Excessive unplanned maintenance
- Equipment overheating
- Part seizure
Friction is a force generated when two objects move against another — think of one gear interacting with another. This force converts kinetic energy (movement) into thermal energy (heat), which can quickly become a significant heat level at high speed and frequency. Lubrication introduces another element or medium into the friction equation to transfer heat away from the friction point. It plays several other roles, as well.
These roles include:
- Part wear reduction: Contact points erode as parts move against each other. Lubrication provides a buffer against this raw wear.
- Shock absorption: Lubricant can dilute the impact and effect of shock and vibration on parts, further reducing wear while maintaining proper, consistent operation.
- Corrosion reduction: Lubricant protects metal surfaces from environmental elements that can lead to corrosion.
- Drawing debris and contaminants away from moving parts: As moving parts come into contact with each other, they begin to erode. The pieces of debris that form because of this can then lead to further friction and erosion. Lubrication serves to move these tiny (and large) contaminants away from moving parts to reduce further damage.
- Friction and heat reduction: Already mentioned above, these functions are the primary role of lubrication and should be reiterated. By reducing friction forces and the heat they generate, machinery lubrication can reduce wear and tear, lower the chances of a significant component or equipment damage, and yield performance improvements such as increased uptime and less maintenance.
What are Lubricants Made of?
Lubricants is used interchangeably with lubricating oil. The term ‘lubricating oil’ refers a wide range of products that are characterized by hundreds of base chemicals and additives. Lubricating oils may be either mineral-based or synthetic. are made of oil. In the case of manufacturing and industrial equipment, this typically is either mineral oil (created from crude oil) or synthetic oil (formulations manufactured in a lab). One of the lubrication fallacies takes hold in this area: lubrication is the simple application of a lubricant.
There are numerous choices and options for lubrication — not only whether to use mineral or synthetic oil, but what type of formulation to use. There is a vast range of formulation options depending upon the type of equipment, operation environment, application, usage, and more.
What Types of Machines Need Lubrication?
Any equipment with rotating or moving parts that come into contact with one another can benefit from lubrication. These include gears, rotors, stators, and more.
When Should Lubrication Occur?
Lubrication should occur on a regularly planned and scheduled basis as part of an overall maintenance strategy. The schedule can be based on usage and wear patterns, but lubricant checks should be part of a standard preventive maintenance checklist so that we can replace or mend at the thing before it wears out. Lubrication should also occur upon introducing any new equipment or components and after equipment repairs and significant maintenance.
The Benefits of Lubrication
Lubrication of machinery provides numerous benefits, including:
- More extended component and equipment service life: By reducing friction and heat — and thus wear and tear — lubrication allows equipment and parts to remain in an optimal operational state for longer. By helping features to stay intact and closer to their “out of the box” form, the time between breakdown and replacement requirements will be extended, improving OEE and reducing overall costs.
- Reduced maintenance needs: Less wear and tear comes less potential for breakdown. Parts operating with high friction and heat are susceptible to unexpected failure and corrosion at any time, regardless of the age of the component. Proper lubrication keeps equipment operating at an acceptable temperature and friction level, vastly reducing the potential for unexpected maintenance requirements.
- Higher part quality: Lubrication allows for more consistent operation by helping to absorb shock and vibration and keep equipment running as expected. This translates to increased repeatability and quality in part production, creating fewer rejects and a higher productivity yield.
- Safer operations: Any time equipment is operating at a high level of heat and with increased vibration — as would be the case in unlubricated or insufficiently lubricated equipment — there is a potential for catastrophic failure, which can create a danger to equipment operators and other employees. Proper lubrication is critical to a safe working environment.
The Function and formulation of lubricants
The primary use of lubricants in motor vehicles (as well as in industrial machinery) is the reduction of friction and wear from mechanical contact. As we have thoroughly explained above..
Friction is the force that opposes movement on two surfaces. At the same time, wear is that change that takes place on a surface due to the removal of abrasive debris as a result of mechanical contact, as well as of a chemical-physical nature due to the heat generated by friction.
A lubricant is a balanced mixture of various components. The composition of this mixture, the recipe that a production (blending) plant must follow, is called the “formulation ‘.
The formulation of a lubricant is made up of base oils and additives, which, when combined, determine the behavior of the mixture during product use, both in terms of performance and durability.
The final quality of lubricating oil usually depends on the quality of the base oils used, which are generally classified as follows:
- mineral oils: obtained from the distilling process in the refining of crude oil
- synthetic oils: which are derived from particular physical/chemical laboratory treatments
Compared with mineral base oils, synthetic base oils guarantee:
- a lower level of volatility to a comparable level of viscosity (which leads to lower consumption during use)
- a higher viscosity index (a wider temperature gap)
- more excellent chemical stability at high temperatures (longer life)
The use of synthetic base oil in the formulation of a lubricant is generally defined by the performance requirements of manufacturers (regarding volatility, viscosity, longer life), environmental considerations (nontoxicity, biodegradability), or by marketing demands (synthetic oil = high technology oil). The most important group of additives are tribological additives, as far as lubrication is concerned, since the ability to reduce wear and damage to machines is ultimately the goal. Indeed, the aim of any new formulation is to achieve better performance, higher energy efficiency, and a longer life cycle for the machinery, as well as longer intervals for the replacement of the lubricating oil
We have a dedicated team globally and in research, institutes bringing all the material chemistry necessary to produce all types of lubricants. Just get in touch. Contact us or call 24 hours +1 443 204 1972