Thursday, February 28, 2019

To grease or not to grease? That is the question

Grease exhibits superior stop-start performance compared to oil. While oil drains, risking a dry start, grease, with its ability to be retained by seals and connectors, prevents such issues.

Machines are designed to function smoothly, and proper lubrication is essential to achieve this goal. Periodically greasing bearings offers several advantages, but it also comes with some drawbacks, which we will explore and discuss today, along with determining the appropriate usage and which lubricant is more suitable.

Choosing the right lubricant can significantly extend the lifespan of a bearing, while neglecting lubrication can lead to the premature failure of the bearing. The key question is how to preserve the bearing and ensure optimal performance – the answer lies in proper lubrication.

Friction is a fundamental aspect of movement, and virtually everything, including the human body, relies on moving parts. Whether it's driving, manufacturing, or any other activity, friction plays a crucial role. However, friction is a double-edged sword. While it's vital for machine functionality, underestimating or overestimating when to grease a bearing can result in costly replacements.

Let's look at some common mistakes people make when it comes to lubrication:

Lubricating based on a fixed schedule rather than considering the actual condition of the bearing. Even if the machine is not in use, ensuring its functionality and condition is essential. Lubricating periodically is crucial, but blindly adhering to a schedule could lead to the bearing's failure, rendering it unusable.

Over and under lubrication can both be harmful. Too much grease raises the temperature of the bearings, reducing the lubricant's effectiveness and potentially causing damage.

Relying solely on a "listen-only ultrasound instrument" for bearing inspection is insufficient, as everyone perceives sounds differently, and it's impossible to remember what the bearing sounded like a month ago.

There's no definitive answer to the question of whether to grease or not to grease. It depends on the specific bearing and the conditions in which it is used. Therefore, before making a decision, it's crucial to ask yourself how you have been using and treating the bearing.

It's important to differentiate between greasing and lubricating with oil. Grease serves the same function as oil, but it is thicker and has a longer-lasting effect. Unlike oil, grease immobilizes dirt and impurities, transporting them to filters.

Grease, when used in gears and bearings, may result in higher energy consumption losses and heat generation compared to oil. In similar applications, the energy consumed when using grease can be significantly higher than that of oil.

In summary, selecting the right lubrication method involves considering the specific bearing, its usage conditions, and the advantages and disadvantages of each lubricant type.

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