Lubricant

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.

Overgreasing

Lubrication is a critical part of any industrial application. Equipment have to be properly lubricated to ensure optimum performance and prevent damage. Industrial grease is one of the most commonly used lubricant products. It is applied on bearings, bushings and other applications in which a lubricating oil is unable to remain in position.
overgreasedA problem that often comes up with grease application is overgreasing. Overgreasing is what happens when too much grease is applied on the lubrication point. This can cause serious and costly problems. Too much grease can result to increased operating temperatures, collapsed seals and higher energy consumption for electric-powered equipment.

The excessive volume of grease increases the pressure within the cavities of bearings and between gears. This leads to higher temperature and more energy required to power the mechanical components as the increased pressure hinders movement of components. If left unattended, this can lead to equipment failure.

Increased oil bleed is another effect of overgreasing. The heat and pressure squeezes out the base oil from the thickener. As the thickener becomes devoid of oil, it can harden and create a solid buildup that can prevent oil from reaching the components that require lubrication. This can lead to increased wear of the mechanical components.

A proper maintenance program is necessary to avoid the problems caused by overgreasing. Calculations must be performed to determine the right amount of grease to be applied and the ideal frequency for grease reapplication.