Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication May-June 2017

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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Page 41 of 76 | May - June 2017 | 37 ment. Simply screw the unit onto the lube point, set the operation time and start it. The operation time generally can be set from one month to 12 months. While managing a single-point lubricator may sound simple, it is quite easy to ruin a bearing or the entire machine if you are not knowledgeable about these devices. There are three basic models of SPLs: gas-activated, motor-driven and spring- activated. The gas-activated version involves a chemical reaction that expands a gas. This reaction is initiated by releasing a gas generator into the electrolyte fluid. The increased pressure of the gas is transformed onto the lubricant in the container, thus forcing the lubricant to flow out to the lube point. A typical maximum pressure of a gas-powered lubri- cator is 75 psi (5 bar), but in some models it may be as low as 15 psi (1.5 bar). The second type of single-point lubricator consists of a piston on top of the container and an electric-motor-driven mechanism with a stem that forces the piston into the container and thus the lubricant to flow out. These models are usually able to reach some - what higher pressures than the gas-driven versions, with normal pressure ranges from 72 to 145 psi (5 to 10 bar). The third type of SPL contains a small piston pump that sucks from the container and feeds directly out. These models can reach pressures of 425 to 850 psi (30 to 60 bar). Using a single-point lubricator of any type requires treating batteries or the used lubricator as waste. Disposal of this waste must be considered when choosing the type of equipment to be used. Manual vs. Automatic Lubrication It is important to strike a balance between manual and automatic lubrica- tion. Manual lubrication with a high-quality lubricant may be best for lube points that require infrequent relu- brication, such as monthly intervals or longer. However, avoid manual lubrica- tion of points with short lubricating cycles whenever possible. Although manual lubrication can be expensive, replacing it could be even more costly. While lubricating manually, techni- cians may also observe the machinery and can report or even fix irregularities. Pay special attention to manual points that are difficult to reach. If lubricant cannot be applied in a safe manner, an automatic lubrication system may be the only solution. Converting manual points for auto- matic lubrication will require an investment estimated at approximately $650 per point. While this conversion cost may be discouraging for some, keep in mind that automatic lubrication can result in a more reliable system with fewer bearing failures. Any investment in an automatic system must also be compared with the expected return on investment from the elimination of labor costs, better control of lubricant dispensing, and the reduction of potential health and safety costs. Which System Should You Choose? Deciding how to lubricate equipment in a process plant is not an easy task. There is generally no accepted rule for how this can be accomplished. To develop a strategy for the relubrication of each lube point, you must consider several factors, such as the consequences of a bearing failure, the lubrication cycle, the ability to lubricate manually and the hazards of relubricating during a normal production run. The consequences of a bearing failure can be classified for both automatic and Examples of single-line progressive systems Valve Manifold Micro Switch Sight Glass Line From Pump to High Pressure Indicator To High Pressure Signal Device Fixed Cam Crankshaft Pump Direct Drive Pump System Primary Manifold Primary Manifold To Primary Manifold System with a Grease Gun Line strainer, pressure gauge and manifold cycle indicator must be added to the system. They are not part of the gun. ML

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