In this article, a case will be made for automatic lubrication as a true necessity, rather than an option. Here are just five of many reasons why automatic lubrication is so valuable.
1. Automatic Lubrication Provides Optimal Lubrication
Proper maintenance of equipment prolongs the life of components, increasing performance and productivity, and reducing repair costs. Accurate, dependable lubrication is the most critical preventive maintenance step in preserving the life and productivity of any fleet.
Automatic lubrication systems provide consistent lubrication on a more frequent basis than manual lubrication. Too little lubrication creates heat and wear, while too much can create drag, heat and wear, and may damage seals.
“The effects of under lubrication are well known - increased component wear, premature failure, higher energy usage and increased operating and maintenance costs,” says Charles Hartl, Industrial Lubrication Sales Manager at Graco’s Lubrication Equipment Division. “But the effects of over lubrication are just as harmful. It wastes lubricant, leads to excess heat buildup, puts stress on lube points and increases downtime. The solution is obvious: optimal lubrication.”
Ideal machine and vehicle performance requires maintaining a minimal lube film to separate the moving surfaces under all speeds and loads. For most grease applications, the volume of grease required is equal to an average thickness of 0.001 inch (1/1000 inch) of the surface area, applied every four hours. For oil applications, the same thickness is applied hourly. Even with an acceptable variance of +/- 20 percent, achieving this film thickness with manual application is next to impossible. However, for metering devices in modern automatic lubrication systems, this is an easy task.
2. Automatic Lubrication is Environmentally Friendly
Environmental concerns are another factor. First, a well-lubricated machine is more energy efficient. This benefits the environment as well as the bottom line. Second, most lubricants are derived from the same crude oil used to produce fossil fuels, so using less lubricant is better for the environment. Automatic lubrication applies less lubricant more frequently, reducing waste and therefore, protecting the environment.
3. You can Trust and Rely on Automatic Lubrication
Reliability is always a concern. A manual lubrication plan can result in points being missed occasionally or forgotten entirely until something breaks. With automatic lubrication, you can trust that the right amount of lubricant is reaching critical pivots, bearings, and joints at the right frequency. Automatic lubrication systems also offer system monitoring options, alerting you to a problem with the lubrication supply.
4. Contaminants Are Reduced
In many operating conditions, there are natural contaminants present, which can negatively impact lubrication points and cause more wear and tear, especially when manual lubrication methods are used. Most often, lubrication points are not properly cleaned prior to manually lubricating, and the coupler used to attach to the point is often dirty too. Contaminants such as chemicals, rocks, sand, and other particles are then forced into the lubrication point. With automatic lubrication, the grease is pumped through a filter before it enters the reservoir of the lubricator, limiting the penetration of contaminates into these lubrication points.
5. Automatic Lubrication Means a Safer Operation
The optimal time to lubricate a bearing is while it is moving, which is an unsafe condition for the people applying the lubricant. Lubricant points are also often in very hard to reach locations, which can cause technicians or operators to put themselves in risky situations. In general, automatic lubrication provides a safer method of supplying the required lubrication.
Modern automatic lubrication products – such as those offered by Graco – help equipment owners overcome the cost penalties of conventional manual lubrication. By applying the right amount of clean lubricant at frequent intervals and monitoring lube system performance, optimum lubrication is assured.
Protect your equipment, and your employees, by utilizing automatic lubrication in your operation.