The Selection of Lubricants in 2022 [An Ultimate Guide]

As a result of lubrication, heat is reduced which significantly improves the performance and efficiency of machine components since a film is formed between two surfaces that reduce friction between them.

Additionally, lubricating films serve several other purposes, as well. They can prevent corrosion by protecting surfaces from water and other corrosive substances.

Additionally, they act as conduits that transport contaminants to filters for removal. As well as preventing corrosion from surfaces, these fluids also reduce heat by absorbing heat and transferring it to a point where it can be dissipated at a lower temperature.

Considerations before Selection of Lubricants

You can also consult the equipment’s maintenance instructions, warranty, or manual before applying lubricants to make sure you’re using the right type of lubricant.

Here is an ultimate guide on the selection of lubricants for each surface and condition.

Related Guide: Classification of Lubricants with their Names (2022)? [Explained]

Functional Approach

The surfaces are less likely to wear and tear since metal-to-metal contact is avoided. A lubricant is introduced between the surfaces that rub together. By reducing frictional heat, it reduces metal expansion and material destruction. Due to its heat transfer properties, it acts as a coolant for metal. It prevents unsmooth relative motions from occurring.

In addition, it reduces the cost of maintenance. It also reduces the amount of power loss that takes place in internal combustion engines. A lubricant can also play a role in providing power transmission, as in the case of hydraulics. 

You must therefore understand your application’s unique challenges and choose your lubricant accordingly. Among the possibilities are high pressure, low temperature, and saltwater exposure. Look for lubricants that clearly indicate the conditions under which they are intended to perform.

Composition

It may seem like lubricants have just a few ingredients in the base oil, but in fact, there are several different additives added to it to make up the lubricant.

These ingredients are generally selected based on the intended purpose of the lubricant. In fact, greases and oils are actually oils with thickeners added to them, so the type of thickener matters very much.

To give the oil a more viscous quality, the thickener usually contains fibrous particles that act as sponges to hold the oil in place. The characteristics of each type of thickener vary, specifically with regard to shear stability, pumpability, heat resistance, and water resistance.

Characteristics

Good lubricants have the following essential characteristics: They have a high viscosity index. Usually, it is necessary for the flash and fire points to be higher than the operating temperature of the machine. A high level of oiliness is desirable.

A good lubricant will always have a cloud point and pour point below the operating temperature. A low-volatility lubricating oil is recommended. Carbon should be deposited as little as possible during use.

The aniline point should be higher. A higher level of corrosion and oxidation resistance is required. Good detergent qualities should be present in it.

Continuity of life

After a certain period of time, lubricants must be replaced, since their lifespan is limited. Taking such precautions can prevent runout, metal-on-metal contact, destruction of bearings, and other issues resulting in downtime and higher costs. There is always a chance that this can happen, though it may not be obvious at the time.

Monitoring the operating temperature of your equipment is an important way to track a lubricant’s lifespan. Lubricants are destroyed by excessive heat. 

The lubricant’s service life will be reduced by half for every 10 degrees Celsius rise above 65 degrees Celsius. When operating at 75 degrees Celsius, lubricants will only last two weeks, when operating at 85 degrees Celsius, just one week, and when operating at 95 degrees Celsius, just three or four days before requiring recycling. Even if lubricant levels are high, it will no longer offer protection after that.

In addition to thermal imaging, digital calibration tools can analyze vibrations as well as track heat. Maintaining a regular lubrication schedule is also recommended.

When records are still kept by hand at smaller companies, it’s easy to forget about this in the age of digital systems. This is a mistake you shouldn’t make. Maintaining accurate records of lubrication should be the responsibility of at least one member of your staff.

Lastly, it’s highly recommended that you research predictive maintenance if you are unfamiliar with it. In addition to saving companies money, this trend in maintenance scheduling keeps equipment operating at its best.

Applicability

There are different ways to apply oils. Your equipment will determine how to apply the solution. There are some cases in which an aerosol lubricant will suffice, such as a hinge that is easy to reach.

Easily accessible gearboxes can be greased by hand. In hard-to-reach areas, an automatic dispenser that must be refilled every six months can work well. A continuous dispenser might be the best option for chains that need regular lubrication.

It is best to consult with one of your vendor’s specialists before purchasing lubricants if you are buying from a reputable vendor.

Price

Price

Whether you are buying for your business or for yourself, price is the most important factor. The same applies to choosing a lubricant.

To determine cost-effectiveness, it is important to pick lubricants that deliver high performance and long-lasting performance. The return on investment for your business can be determined by comparing various price points, lifespan, and preventative maintenance requirements.

Even though all production facilities use lubricants to operate, not all lubricants are equivalent. Without considering the above factors, purchasing a cheap lubricant can be a serious mistake. There can be a snowball effect when a breakdown occurs. The type of equipment a business purchases should be considered just as much as the lubrication it uses.

Performance Challenge

Regardless of the industry, you’re in, there is an abundance of options when it comes to choosing the best lubrication for your equipment. High-quality and ordinary lubricants alike promise performance, with the difference being the price.

Your business operations depend on the performance of your equipment. In the absence of quality performance, you will be required to perform more routine maintenance, have more breakdowns, and will have reduced productivity.

Conclusion

It may be helpful for you to know the types and advantages of different types of lubricants. A lubricant must, however, be selected according to the job at hand. A lubricant selection process should take into account the load level, speed, sealing requirements, and environmental parameters.

The coefficient of friction, the operating temperature, the area of contact, and the thermal conductivity should also be taken into account when determining the optimal parameter.

If you take the time to study these metrics and get a good idea of the environment in which the lubricant will be used you will be able to choose the right kind of lubricant for the job at hand.

It is generally recommended to use solid lubricants when dealing with lower loads and speeds. Eventually, grease becomes the better option for higher loads and higher speeds. The first step is to use grease, then oils of varying viscosities, then gas lubricants are chosen. A gas lubricant is used for applications requiring high speeds.

Leave a Comment