Reasons to Use the Right Lubricant in Industrial Settings

Posted by Tim White

One of the most crucial machinery maintenance an operator can perform is proper and consistent lubrication. A lot of people think that the sole purpose of lubrication is to make things slippery. And while that’s partially true, there’s much more to it. For instance, proper lubrication reduces the amount of wear the machinery experiences during operation, it reduces the temperature, minimises corrosion and helps keep contaminants out of the system.

To get a better understanding on what lubrication is, you need to understand why it’s such an important practice in machinery maintenance. As you probably know, friction is the force that occurs when two bodies come in contact with one another while in motion. Without friction, nothing would stop moving. In other words, friction is present all around us in one form or another and it’s very necessary. However, in automotive processes, where two bodies come in contact over a thousand times per second, we need to reduce the amount of friction that happens, otherwise a catastrophic failure may ensue.

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When we apply automotive lubricants, there are a couple of things to consider, such as its properties, viscosity, the additives needed, and so on. The reason why you need to use the correct automotive lubricants is to minimise machinery downtime, improve efficiency and reduce wear, all of which are very important in industrial settings for financial and practical reasons.

Reducing heat and friction are just two of the several reasons why we use lubricants. When two parts come into contact at fast speed, the weaker one breaks off and creates microscopic abrasive particles, which then results in more broken pieces that create more abrasion. It’s a vicious cycle, and the best way to prevent it, or at least minimise it is by creating a lubrication film. The two most common types of lubricant films are elastohydrodynamic and hydrodynamic.

When a shaft isn’t in motion, the lubrication layers sit on the bottom of the bearing, but as soon as it starts to move, the lubrication layers attempt to climb up the sides of the bearing, thus creating friction with each other and forming an oil wedge between the bearing and the shaft, and protecting both surfaces.

Lastly, many places (if not most) have humidity present, which means that when air and water come in contact with the metallic pieces of the machinery there’s a chance of corrosion occurring. So how do lubricants prevent corrosion? There are many types of additives that work similar to the additives used for contamination control that prevent metal surfaces from coming in contact with water. This prevents damage to the metal machine surfaces by preventing the production of rust altogether.

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