Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication November-December 2018

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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Page 55 of 74

ML any misconceived perceptions about lubri- cation, such as "grease is grease," "new oil is clean oil," "if a little grease is good, more is better," etc. e assessment is the fi rst step in learning what you didn't know. How can you expect to change or improve if you don't have a knowledgeable person or organization to show you where you are and teach you what you didn't know you needed to know? Plan After you have established where you are on the spectrum of excellence, it is time to begin planning your journey for where you want to go. If you don't take the time and eff ort to invest properly in this step, all future steps will be impacted, and you will run the risk of failure. During the planning stage, try to account for all obstacles that may be encoun- tered. You likely will not be able to identify all of them, but the more you can address early, the better you can handle them in the future. Planning as it relates to excellence in a lubrication program involves a point-by-point review of the current practices along with the recommended practices. Every lube point in your facility must be evaluated to ensure you are performing the "rights" of lubrication – the right lubricant in the right amount at the right frequency and right place using the right procedure with the right tools and hardware. One of the biggest pitfalls during this step is over-consolidating lubricants or using a blanket approach across the facility. ere is no such thing as a universal grease or oil that can provide the proper protection for every type of machine. You must consider the environment, operating conditions and application, and then perform calculations to discover which lubricant would work best. Once you know which types of lubricants you need, you can begin consolidating to the optimum number of lubricants for your facility. Keep in mind that you cannot achieve lubri- cation excellence without lubricant analysis. Until recently, lubricant analysis was thought to only apply to oils. However, signifi cant advances have been made in analyzing in-ser- vice grease. All applications must be evaluated to determine which ones should be included in the lubricant analysis program. Among the factors to take into account are the reservoir size, machine type, lubricant cost, machine criticality, lubricant age and machine age. Once you know which machines and lubri- cants will be analyzed, you must choose the appropriate test slates and alarm limits. After all the tests have been selected, you will need to decide if it is more cost-eff ective to use an in-house lab or an outside vendor. An in-house lab can conduct simple tests and off er many advantages, but it should be climate-controlled with limited access. All procedures for how lubricants will be maintained while in service must be docu- mented so everyone on the lubrication team can perform each task the same way. A good procedure will include the machine name, which tools are required, which lubricant to use, how much lubricant to apply, how to perform the task with step-by-step details, and how to clean up after the task is completed. Finally, you must decide how you will receive, store and transfer lubricants throughout the plant. Find a central location that has suffi cient room, is climate-controlled and off ers a means to control access. is area can set the stage for lubrication excellence. It is where you will clean and store incoming lubricants as well as the tools for lubricant application, sampling and fi ltration. is is your fi rst line of defense for protecting your lubricants and machines from contamination and ultimately failure. If you don't get things right in this area, it will be impossible to achieve lubrication excellence. Implement Next comes the real challenge of the journey — putting your plan into action. Up until this point, you have not actually made any changes to your program. You now must fi nd a suitable computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) to manage the program, including all the lube points and procedures. You might need to purchase equipment to better maintain your machines and lubricants, as well as tools to provide better feedback of what is happening inside the machines. is may include particle counters, vibration measurement instruments, thermal imaging cameras or temperature sensors. In addition, equipment for obtaining lubricant samples and testing for the desired properties may be necessary. e days of passing down tribal knowledge from one generation to the next are no more. All lube points and tasks should be docu- mented so you no longer just guess at how much or how often to apply the lubricant. Another area that tends to be overlooked is how you will inspect and maintain your equip- ment. Once again, a blanket approach will not work. You should not just install a desiccant breather on every machine. In certain cases, this type of breather will be required, but in other areas you may need a particle breather or an expansion chamber. When selecting a level indicator, take into consideration where the oil level should be and the accessible port locations. In some instances, a columnar level gauge may be preferred. Other modifi cations might include bottom sediment and water bowls, quick connects, offl ine fi lters, sample ports and heat exchangers. Depending on if air entrain- ment issues exist, you may also need baffl es, diff users or other alternatives to increase the oil's residence time inside the reservoir. For grease applications, the two most common recommendations are line extensions and single-point lubricators. Again, employ these modifi cations wisely. Remember, the best place to regrease a lube point is as close to the rolling element as possible. If you can safely access and apply grease at the Zerk fi tting on the housing, you should not be applying grease as a matter of convenience for the lube tech. Install an extension line only when these parameters cannot be met. If an extension line is needed, it should not be longer than 4 feet. As a rule of thumb, if a lube point must be regreased 12 or more times a year and requires 10 ounces or more, a single-point lubricator may be the best option. Of course, all the greatest tools and widgets in the world will not achieve lubrication excel- lence. You must also train your team members on how to use these tools and on the importance 69% of lubrication professionals say their plant has not achieved lubrication excellence, based on a recent survey at www . | November - December 2018 | 51

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