Before going forward, we need to understand what a lubrication system is & why selecting a proper lubrication system is important for any application. When we are in the lubrication field, we must understand the types of lubrication systems available & the lubrication system is perfect for your application. In today’s post, we will analyze the Advantages & Disadvantages of Different Lubrication Systems & how to set a proper lubrication system.
What is Lubrication System
We have already discussed difference between Lubricating Oil is & Lubricating Grease & you can also read about how proper lubrication system can decrease friction & wear from moving surfaces in mutual contact. To understand how lubricants reduce friction & wear, you need to understand the basic relation between Frictions, Wear & Lubricants.
Types of Lubrication System
There are mainly two types of Lubrication system, as per the application criteria & industry wise it can vary.
- Manual Lubrication System
- Automatic / Centralized Lubrication System
Manual Lubrication System
By its name, you can understand the working principle of a manual lubrication system. Manual lubrication means lubrication process done manually in a certain period as per application requirement & considering the criticality of the application. To do manual lubrication requires a portable pump, which is not a part of the main machine. You need to arrange it separately for lubrication purposes. The tube is fitted with the lubrication pump, which carries the lubricant (Grease) to the friction point.
Automatic or centralized Lubrication System
Automatic lubrication system, which is also known as, centralized lubrication system used to deliver a controlled amount of lubricant in a controlled timing to different friction points when the machine is actually in running condition. As per the lubricants used, these types of centralized lubrication systems can be classified into two types.
- Automatic Oil lubrication system.
- Automatic Grease lubrication system.
A centralized Oil lubrication system is usually used to lubricate components through lubricating oils like stationary manufacturing equipment like CNC machines (Computer Numerical Controlled Machine). Whether grease lubricating system used in a wide range of machinery lubrication purpose.
Reasons for using automatic lubrication system
The study says that in plant maintenance, lubrication cost is approx. Only 3% of the total cost of maintenance budget, but lubrication-related activities could reach up to 40% of the total maintenance budget. If you need to achieve optimum reliability & maximum benefits from the Lubrication system, then many factors need to be considered.
The right lubricant
The proper lubricants selection for proper application is vital to get maximum benefits from the lubrication system. Normally right lubricants selection can depend on four factors of applications.
Neither less quantity of grease is good nor high quantity. An increase qty of grease can increase temperature & friction inside the bearing & can decrease the efficiency or lifetime of bearing lead to failure. Only measured lubricant qty reached to lubrication point so, no wastage of lubricants hence lubrication cost reduce.
At the right time
Lubricants will be effective to reduce friction & wear, if supplied in the right timing with proper re-lubrication interval.
At the right point
Grease or oil should reach at the right point where friction & wear is high. If it not reaches to the friction point, then it will be no use.
With the right method
Whether you are using Manual or automatic lubrication system, method used for lubrication as much important as the other factors considered. As in majority of applications, centralized lubrication system is recommended but in some type of special applications, manual lubrication is more beneficial.
Benefits of using Centralized lubrication system:-
- Ease of access: All critical components of the machine can be lubricated, regardless of criticality & location. This also ensures safe machine operation. It also reduces the risks taken by the maintenance people to lubricate the unassessed components.
- Increase machine efficiency: In a centralized Lubrication system, lubrication takes place when the machinery is in running condition causing the lubricant to be equally distributed to all the friction points and increasing the machine efficiency, overall performance, fewer breakdowns, reduced downtime & replacement costs.
- Reduced energy consumption: In centralized or automatic lubrication, the system as lubricants reaches the friction point at the right time, right qty hence due to less friction energy consumption reduced & lower overall machine operating costs.
- Cleanliness: Lubricant contamination with foreign particles effects bearing overall performance & life. Avoiding grease contamination in manual lubrication systems can be a challenge for every maintenance peoples. However, through an automatic lubrication system, we can avoid lubricants contamination & achieve cleanliness. In an automatic lubrication system, an automatic lubricator can supply a continuous and accurate flow of fresh and clean lubricant to the lubrication points.
- Reduced Labor Cost- In a manual lubrication system, laborers push a lever on a grease gun to provide lubrication to machines that a machine can easily replace. However, the real problem is whether you are getting the maximum benefits from your skilled maintenance people or not. Most probably, you will not be able to match the benefits you will get from a centralized lubrication system compare to a manual lubrication system.
Centralized lubrication system can be established or improved through below mentioned process.
- Lubrication routes can be improved continuously as per requirement.
- A lubricant analysis program can be implemented to analyze the lubrication process.
- By Implementing a Contamination control and oil reconditioning program, we can achieve max benefits of lubrication & increase overall machine performance & life.
- The study says that leakage of lubricants from the application costs is huge & creates high effects on the plant maintenance budget. A leakage control program must be implemented to reduce the lubricants consumption, reduce lubrication costs.
Environmental Health and Safety / Sustainability
Improper lubrication system or loss lubrication system can have a significant effect on the environment. Most lubricants used in applications are not biodegradable & contaminates our mother nature. In addition, it depends on the disposal practices you are implementing in your plant. Overall, to reduce environmental contamination, we need to establish a proper disposal method and check the lowest wastage of lubricants from application while running.
While you are using automatic lubrication, a system in your application does not mean that it will need no inspections & you will achieve a 100% success rate & application life. To achieve highest success rate & increase the overall application performance regular checkup & improvement is necessary as per industry standard.
Setting up automatic lubrication system
Setting up an automatic lubrication system requires a level of experience & investment. However, to get the return of investment, you have to choose the right lubricant as per application criteria & need regular checkups & improvement. Currently, there are different types of online monitoring devices available to increase the overall productivity & regular checkup of application & lubricants performance.
Suppose you are investing in critical machinery to get optimum performance. You have to decide whether you will go for manual lubrication or an automatic lubrication system for your application. In that case, it is better to install an automatic lubrication system & as I have told you earlier, regular checkups & improvements in necessary for a centralized lubrication system.
You can also read below articles for more information.
- Industrial Lubricants Manufacturing Companies
- Reliable Lubrication Solution for Caster Application in Steel Making Plants
- Reliable Lubrication Solution for Rolling Mills (Metal Working) in Steel Plants