Grease is essential to keep equipment running efficiently and minimize wear damage. In order to accomplish this task, the lubricant must be in good working condition. Industrial grease and other kinds of lubricants start to degrade once put into service. Working conditions like heat, loading forces, and contamination can cause the grease to deteriorate, negatively affecting its lubricating capability. If the lubricating capability is compromised, so does equipment life and performance.
The primary purpose of lubricant analysis is to prevent the aforementioned problem from happening. After the grease is put into service, periodical testing is performed to determine the rate of deterioration which is then used to determine the schedule for reapplication. The aim is to replace or reapply grease before deterioration can affect equipment performance and health.
Aside from being a preventative maintenance process, lubricant analysis is also used for troubleshooting. The result of the analysis can be used to detect problems in their early stages which can help full-blown failures from occurring. The condition of the grease is helpful for identifying problems way before equipment shows signs of trouble.
The frequency of grease analysis differs according to equipment. Lubricant analysis can be costly if done unmindfully. Lubricant analysis must be frequently performed for critical equipment. Critical equipment refers to those that have the highest value to the operation. These are the equipment that when experience failures can really affect productivity or halt the operation.
A common chore when it comes to lubrication is choosing between mineral-based and synthetic lubricants. Both types of lubricants have pros and cons. Synthetic lubricants have longer lifespan and have excellent properties that makes them usable in applications in which mineral oil lubricants can’t. A synthetic lubricant, however, cost significantly higher than its mineral oil counterpart. Its use requires careful deliberation and must consider how the high cost can be recouped. So when do you use a synthetic lubricant?
One of the best qualities of synthetic lubricants is its ability to tolerate harsh operation conditions. It is ideally used in environments that are very hot or cold. Its use is also recommended for situations where the temperature regularly changes from very cold to very hot.
Synthetic lubricants also have longer lifespan compared to mineral oils. This makes it ideal to use on lubrication points that are hard to get to and you cannot get into without stopping the operation. By doing so, you are able to increase the time between operation stoppage and helps improve the productivity of the operation. Another quality of synthetic lubricants is its great protection against corrosion. This makes it perfect to be used on very expensive equipment or machines that requires the best kind of protection.
There are synthetic lubricants that have good biodegradability which makes them ideal for applications where leakage to the environment can be an issue. An example for sort of use are for heavy equipments that are used for digging or dredging of canals, rivers and other water ways. Its biodegradability makes it less harmful to the environment.