Minimize The Risk of Bearing Failure Due to Heat

04_img_3026_357x233A bearing is a basic element of numerous machineries. A whole process can get impeded as a result of a bearing failure. The top quality bearings are constructed to last a very long time. If operating under the correct conditions and adequately taken care of, the bearings really should be one of the last components of the hardware to fail over the course its lifespan. But operating under the best conditions does not happen often. The limited room in most factories or workshops leads to working environment that is hotter than ideal and the risk of contamination also increases. The industrial grease within the bearing which protects it from mechanical and chemical wear can degrade very quickly when contaminated or exposed to an abnormal level of heat.

It is important to employ measure that protect against bearing failure caused by heat problems. A good place to start is by reorganizing the workshop and processes in such a way that heat is maintained to suitable levels. The working environment must also be kept clean as much as possible. Processes that generate plenty of dust particles can be placed in a more secluded area to avoid affecting the more sensitive pieces of equipment.

As the bearing lubricant starts to deteriorate, its lubricating capability suffers. It will not have the ability to lubricate bearing components as well as it used to. This leads to greater creation of heat which is serious threat to the health of the bearings. The warped races can then hinder the entire movement of the bearing.

Industrial Grease and Applicability

DrillingThe grease is integral to various industrial processes. Even the most advanced machines can fail due to issues related to lubrication. A lubricant such as grease must be able to withstand the operating conditions to prevent failure. The industrial grease is a lubricant designed to handle the tough industrial conditions such as intense heat, heavy loading and high speeds.

The industrial grease is composed of the base oil, additives and thickener. The base oil is responsible for lubrication. Additives give extra properties such as improved loading or resistance to conditions like heat and moisture. The base oil and additives are blended together to create a homogenous mixture. The thickener acts like a sponge that can release and reabsorb the mixture of oil and additives depending on the presence or absence of mechanical and thermal stresses. The viscosity of the grease allows it to stay within the lubrication point even without seals, unlike lubricating oil.

The applicability of grease is limited by the risk of contamination. Grease is like a magnet to dust, shavings and other contaminant particles. The presence of contaminants in the grease can cause performance problems. This makes grease unsuitable for operating environments with large amount of contaminants.

In the inapplicability of grease,  solid film lubricants are used. There are various solid materials with natural lubricating capability that are used for high-contaminant environments. The most commonly used are molybdenum disulfide, graphite and PTFE. This type of lubricants are applied to surfaces similar to paint.

Water Contamination Of Lubricating Oil

There have been plenty of articles regarding the effects of contamination to lubricating oil. The presence of foreign particles in the lubricant can decrease the life of machine components like valves, pumps and bearings. That is why countless of dollars are spent for filtration systems that maintain the cleanliness of the oil. However, the harmful effects of contamination is not limited to solid contaminants. In certain operations, water contamination of lubricating oil and other lubricant products pose greater danger to machines.

Water on lubricant

The danger presented by water contamination of oil depends on its quantity. It gets dissolved and spread throughout the oil if the quantity of water is very little. The dissolved water has little to no impact on lubricant performance or life expectancy of machine components.

Water contamination starts becoming a serious issue once water level in the oil is beyond that of the ability of the oil to keep it in dissolved form. Water droplets start to develop or a layer of free water is created. At this point, the water can interfere with the ability of the oil to form a film over the surfaces of the mechanical components. This can greatly increase the wear on the components.

There are applications where water contamination of lubricating oil is impossible to avoid. In these situations, it is extremely essential to keep an eye on the water content to avoid the potential damages that can result from too much water content.

Biodegradable Lubrication

It has been quite awhile since biodegradable lubricants were introduced. This class of lubricants were meant to address the growing concern regarding environmental effects caused by the production and discharges of mineral-based lubricants. But even after being on the market for quite some time, the number of machine shops using these lubrication products are still relatively few. This can be attributed to old practices and mindsets.

green lubrication

If the current lubricant is performing well as needed, there is very little reason to change to a new product whose performance is yet to be determined. People tend fall into a routine, resulting to current practices staying the same.

Truth be told, many operators are not aware of the new products on the market. It is usually not until an occurrence like a discharge, government agency involvement or new personnel entering the facility that old practices are questioned and new ideas are considered.

The current economy also makes it hard to make operational changes. There are more crucial issues that companies have to address and details regarding lubrication often take a backseat unless there is a threat to the operation. However, there are companies that are actively searching for products and implementing techniques that maximize efficiency while also protecting the environment.

The higher cost of biodegradable lubricants compared to mineral-based oil is another issue to its limited use. This prevents smaller shops from changing to the eco-friendly lubricants. It is important to remember that the cost not only involves the lubricant but also the preparation process which involves cleaning out the machine completely. This can take a significant amount of time away from production.