Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication March April 2014

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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12 | March - April 2014 | F (25 degrees C). At the end of the three-week cycle, the mixture is analyzed. The oil is considered to pass if only 20 percent of the original oil remains intact. The ultimate biodegradability test is similar to the primary test. For this test, the oil is contaminated with micro-organisms and then left to sit for four weeks at 72 degrees F (22 degrees C). With this test, the amount of carbon dioxide produced is measured and compared against a standard. To pass this test, 70 percent of the candidate fluid must be degraded at the end of the four-week period. A new biodegradability test method (CEC-L-103-12) was recently developed. It measures the loss of oil and oil-soluble metabolites over 21 days in a nature-like aqueous environment. See the article on page 22 for a more detailed explanation of this new method. When comparing environmentally friendly lubricants, one must consider that much of a lubricant's biodegradability depends on the base oil with which it is formulated. Higher refined mineral oils (Group III) tend to degrade better than Group I oils. Group IV poly- alphaolefins, which are perhaps the most common synthetic oils, score poorly in biodegradability, while polyolesters and diesters are among the best for breaking down naturally. However, if you are looking for the best oil in terms of biodegradability, you would pick a vegetable base oil (natural esters). Vegetable oils are gaining popularity not only because of their inherent environmentally friendly nature but also because they are able to match the performance characteristics of their mineral counterparts. While governmental agencies focus on what happens to mineral and synthetic lubricants after use, they aren't nearly as concerned with lubricants that are derived from animals or vegetables. This can be a benefit in the disposal of vegetable-based lubricants, as expensive reclamation of these oils (due to environmental regulations) may not be required. Of course, this does not mean you can simply pour vegetable oils into a ditch and walk away from them. They just don't fall under the same jurisdiction as used mineral or synthetic oils. Many compa- nies purchase used vegetable oils and recycle these base fluids as bio-diesels and other fluids. Leakage Aside from the actual task of draining waste lubricant from a system, there is the risk of oil leakage, which can introduce used oil into the environment. Leakage is common in all industrial facilities, although some plants do a better job of mitigating it than others. Leakage is what causes most facilities to use more oil than what they actually need. Remediating leakage-prone equipment not only can save the company money from wasted oil but also help lessen potential environmental problems. There are several ways to find the source of leakage, including using ultrasonic equipment. By listening to pipe fittings, valves and pump interfaces on circulating systems, you can often pinpoint internal leaks and fix them. Another common method introduces dye into the system. The dye will bleed through leakage points with the oil and can be identified with the use of an ultra- violet light source. Once oil leaks from a piece of equipment, the first action must be to control the spill to prevent it from spreading. Several prod- ucts are available that can help with this problem. Many of the plants I visit use oil "pigs" or super-absorbent mats to quickly soak up and contain the spills. If the oil has any hazardous mate- rials, the area must be isolated and documented before clean-up procedures can begin. Depending on the severity of the leak and the fluid in question, the reclamation technique may range from simply washing down the leak to full soil reclamation for decontamination. Always Cover storY The Code of Federal Regulations' guideline on overfill prevention instruments (40 CFR 280.20 (C)) states that tanks must: 1. Automatically shut off the supply flow when the tank is 95 percent full, 2. Alert the operator when the tank is more than 90 percent full, or 3. Reduce flow 30 minutes prior to overfilling and alert the oper- ator with a high-level alarm one minute before overfilling. Guidelines for Bulk Storage Spill Protection The best practice for the removal of waste oil from a machine is to keep oil from ever being intro- duced to the environment. TYPICAL TEST RESuLTS FOR LuBRICANTS LuBRICANT TYPE PRIMARY BIODEGRADED QuANTITY Vegetable Oils 70 - 100% Polyols and Diesters 55 - 100% White Oils 25 - 45% Mineral 15 - 35% PAG 10 - 20% PAO 5 - 30% Polyether 0 - 25% Containment capacity must equal or exceed maximum volume of the largest tank or 10 percent of the total stored volume, which- ever is greater.

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