Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication July Aug 2013

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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AUTOMATIC LUBRICATION Improve System Reliability By Canlong He and Paul Conley, SKF USA Inc. Flow Confirmation with Lubricant C Centralized lubrication systems were developed to deliver lubricant to multiple lubrication points in the right amount, at the right place and at the right time. However, it can be challenging to confirm that the lubricant reliably reaches the lube point. Currently, most centralized lubrication systems on the market do not offer a means of confirming the flow to the lube point. Because of this lack of confirmation, manual lubrication sometimes is selected. This in turn lowers the reliability of machinery lubrication. The good news is that there are solutions available to improve the dependability of centralized lubrication systems with lubricant flow confirmation. Centralized Lubrication Systems Centralized lubrication systems have evolved through the years with different dispensing devices. There are three major automatic lubrication systems that are suitable for dispensing both grease and oil: series progressive, dual-line and single-line parallel systems. Because the lubricant in these three systems is dispensed into a lube point and lost in application, they sometimes are called total-loss systems. Other centralized lubrication systems include oil-circulation systems and oil-mist lubrication systems. Due to the differences in the lubricant-dispensing units of these systems, the lubricant flow confirmation must be implemented differently. Series Progressive Systems A typical series progressive system dispenses lubricant through divider valves. Larger systems may have primary divider valve feeds and multiple secondary divider valves. The operating principle of a progressive system facilitates a lock-down of the entire system when there is a blockage at any lube point. Most series progressive systems are fitted with an indicator pin at one of the ports to provide visual indication of proper system function. Some progressive systems are equipped with a proximity switch or cycle-counting device to prevent a lock-down or jammed system. 26 July - August 2013 | An example of a series progressive system (courtesy Lincoln Industrial) While monitoring the indicator pin improves the reliability of series progressive systems, it does not cover the fault of a feed line or leaking grease fitting at the lube point. In order to provide 100-percent assurance of the lubrication at the lube point, lubricant flow confirmation is needed. Common practices of monitoring the indicator pin may include a proximity switch (top left), a proximity switch with cycle counting (bottom left) and a cycle counter with data logging (top right). (courtesy Lincoln Industrial) Dual-Line Lubrication Systems Dual-line lubricant-dispensing valves can also be fitted with an indicator pin. The movement of this indicator pin can confirm

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