Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication May - June 2018

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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38 | May - June 2018 | www . While helping a pharmaceutical manufacturer address deficiencies in its lubrication program, I realized one area that needed attention was the variety of grease guns in the hands of the lubrication technicians. Various styles were in use, and there was a wide range of delivery volumes. e first step was to gather this motley collection of tools and choose a new standard grease gun for the company. We settled on a quality gun with a clear tube to allow users to view the type of grease that had been loaded into the gun. We calibrated the gun by measuring the delivery rate per pump. inking we were well on our way to lubrication nirvana, I was surprised to receive a call that there was a problem. e new grease guns were leaking. e techs were finding puddles of red oil in the bottom of their toolboxes, and the new grease guns were the source. Even the clear tubes were stained with oil leaking outside the tube. We knew the proper procedures for storing grease tubes. Before being opened, when the grease tubes are still in their cases or stored on the shelf, they must be kept with the plastic cap up and the pull-tab down. e plastic cap is not a sealing surface. When oil invariably separates from its thickener, the plastic cap is a pathway for oil to migrate away from the grease. What we failed to realize, especially for greases that easily separate, was that the orientation of the grease gun mattered, too. Gravity, shearing and vibration are all forces that can separate oil from a grease thickener. It happens in a machine when moving parts shear through the grease to release oil into contact points. It happens in machines subject to high vibration, when the increased rate of sepa- ration prompts you to relubricate these locations more often. And it happens when gravity works on a stationary grease to draw oil to a low point. If that low point is not a sealing surface, oil can leak away from the machine, grease tube or even a grease gun. Grease is sticky. We apply it to bearings, gears and machine surfaces specifically because we want it to stay in place. We know that oil gets flung around by the movement of the machine. When the movement stops, gravity takes over and the oil finds its way to the bottom. However, just because grease is stickier, you can't ignore the effects that gravity has on it. You need to have a strategy to address the three key ways that gravity can defeat your grease lubrication efforts. Strategies for Overcoming Gravity's Impact on Grease GREASES Rich Wurzbach | MRG Labs "Even though grease does a better job of staying in place than oil does, it is still in a constant battle with gravity as it tries to separate the lubricant's components."

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