Improper bearing lubrication or re-lubrication accounts for up to 40 to 50 percent of machine failures. By eliminating lubrication from machinery, OEMs can minimize the costs and risks associated with maintenance for the end user. At the same time, costs related to the proper disposal of oil can be eliminated and the initial expenditure for ancillary components and processes (grease lines, zerks, manifolds, etc.) can be decreased.
Today’s mining industry is facing a new set of challenges. Commodity price projections for the future remain uncertain, global demand remains high and there is a global labor shortage. While the mining industry remains highly competitive and essential to continued global economic growth, mining companies continue to search for ways to sustain growth and profitability.
In an ideal world, the lube route is the perfect answer. Group activities based on commonality of frequency, task type (e.g. motor regreasing) or area of the plant and execute in one block. It’s efficient, effective and cuts down on paperwork by having just one work order for tens or even hundreds of tasks. The key here is “ideal world” – few if any of us live in this utopia, which causes some very real problems when it comes to executing what I tend to call “macro” lube routes.
So what is going wrong with the lubricant and bearings in our pumps? We do not get a service life any where near those numbers. It turns out that most bearings fail prematurely for only two reasons: High heat that caused the lubricant to “varnish” and then form “coke” that will introduce solids into the lubricant, and contamination of the lubricant by water, moisture, and solids.
SES Technical takes a “hands on” approach to all disciplines of predictive maintenance. The same Field Engineer who collects the data performs vibration, infrared, and ultrasonic analysis. This allows the engineers to develop an understanding of the equipment and develop a familiarity with its maintenance history. SES has also applied this principal to oil analysis.
This article presents, in layman’s terms, information regarding a high-speed electrostatic kidney-loop system, designed to remove submicron particles and other foreign matter (varnish) from lubricating fluids. It is a culmination of more than 30 years of research and development, on-site beta testing, and trial and error, and it has resulted in seven electrostatic filter patents which significantly aid in the process of oil purification.
Air can also be temporarily entrained into oil through bearing agitation. This can occur in healthy oil, but is more common in oil containing high amounts of moisture, as well as oil having other forms of contaminants. Air entrained in oil sumps of rotating equipment tends to rise out and re-enter the headspace over time. Read to learn some of the potential effects of air entrainment.
When rolling element or sleeve bearings operate under extreme conditions, it’s more important than ever to follow proper lubrication selection and maintenance procedures to maximize effective life and efficient performance. Long-term analysis of field data shows that the lack of proper lubrication is the most commonly cited cause of bearing failure and accounts for over 40 percent of breakdowns. Bearings for high temperatures must be properly maintained and lubricated to withstand high heat.
There are different thoughts of what constitutes a “world class lubrication program.” It is our belief that a world class lubrication program consists of researching, documenting and implementing the best lubrication practices and regulatory requirements as defined by the leaders in the lubrication and reliability industry (Noria, SMRP, ICML, etc.) as well as regulatory agencies (OSHA, EPA). We have determined that for most programs, best practices can be summarized into the following categories: