Your Guide to Industrial Lubricants

Regardless of the industry you’re working in, maintaining ideal efficiency of your machinery is vital. Believe it or not, industrial lubricants can make the difference between optimal performance and malfunction for your machines. 

Lubricant solutions are used in a wide variety of industries like mining, manufacturing, food, and construction. It’s no wonder why the industry has a market value of more than $72 billion.

Also, some industrial lubricants are required if you’re dealing with specific machinery. The good news is that understanding what lubricants are and how they work isn’t difficult. 

In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about industrial lubricants so you can make the right purchase for your company. 

What is Lubrication?

Lubrication sounds like a simple concept to grasp. The most common form of lubrication is oil. Mechanics service cars by performing oil checks. This keeps the engine perfectly lubricated and prevents overheating. 

In reality, lubrication is much more extensive. To put it simply, lubrication is the process of reducing wear and friction between moving surfaces. In industrial machines, lubrication is necessary to keep tough and rigid parts from grinding against each other. 

On top of that, lubrication can help:

  • Cleaning and cooling mechanical parts
  • Shock absorption
  • Power transmission
  • Sealing
  • Reducing corrosion and wear

Now that we’ve explained what lubrication is, let’s discuss why it’s important for industrial machines.

Why is Lubrication Important

We’ve already discussed that lubrication is key for reducing the friction of moving parts. In reality, there is more to this concept. In any machine, a thin layer of lubricant is placed between two moving parts.

This is to keep the high points of the metal parts, called asperities, from colliding with each other. Without lubrication, these parts will touch constantly and destroy each other. 

In some cases, the asperities will weld and cause massive internal damage. Even with a valve lubricant applied, machine parts can get too hot and degrade the product.

This will cause the machine to overheat and result in failure. To ensure that your machines are working properly, you’ll need to apply the right lubricant along with regular maintenance. 

So, in sum, lubrication is important for:

  • Controlling the level of heat found in a machine
  • Creating an air-tight seal between moving parts to eliminate contamination
  • Eliminating the growth of rust
  • Transferring heat energy in a hydraulic system

With that said, let’s move on to the benefits of using lubricant in an industrial setting.

Benefits of Industrial Lubricants

As we’ve already explained, lubrication is essential for boosting the performance of industrial machinery. Using the right lubricant can help you prolong your machinery by several years and improve its ROI. 

In addition, here are some more benefits of using industrial lubricants:

  • Lubricants increase the uptime of vital machinery
  • Industrial lubricants can lengthen service intervals
  • Lubricants can protect machines against harsh weather, tough working conditions, and corrosion
  • Lubricants can help lower the total cost of ownership of industrial machines

Overall, investing in quality industrial lubricants serves a variety of purposes for all kinds of businesses.

Types of Industrial Lubricants

Industrial lubricants have many different applications, but there are generally two main categories. These are greases and oils. Greases are the standard choice if one of your machines has a leak that needs to be sealed.

Greases are highly ideal for promoting leak control, especially in high-contaminant areas. On top of that, greases are easier to use and provide the following benefits:

  • Greases can reduce noise pollution
  • Greases can protect metal equipment working under extreme conditions
  • Greases can help prolong worn-out equipment

One of the most popular forms of grease is called rail grease. This grease is known for its incredible lubrication in aiding railroad efficiency. Now, oils are different that greases because they provide both lubrication and cooling benefits. 

Oils offer heat transfer abilities, which you can easily observe in a car. Oil is placed in a car to transfer heat and prevent an engine lockup when it gets too hot. 

Also, oils are much easier to clean than greases and are simple to apply. Oils are more versatile than greases. In fact, here are all the different types of oils you can find in any industrial setting:

  • Circulation oils 
  • Compression oils
  • Heat transfer oils
  • Extreme pressure gear oils
  • Process oils
  • Slideway oils
  • Turbine oils

Now that you fully understand what industrial lubrication is and why it’s important, let’s go over some tips on how to use them properly.

Industrial Lubricants: Best Practices

Industrial lubricants are special materials that need to be taken care of properly. To ensure proper use, here are some tips to follow:

  • Make sure you use the right lubricant for a machine in the right amount and correct timing
  • Store oils and greases indoors in a cool and dry environment
  • Make sure your oil filters are changed regularly
  • Perform a regular analysis to check for proper lubrication

Using lubrication doesn’t require much effort if you’re constantly monitoring its application. 

Industrial Lubricants: Things to Avoid

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to apply lubricant to a machine. When you get started, make sure to avoid these mistakes:

  • Never store lubricants outside in harsh conditions, such as snow, wind, sun, and rain
  • Never leave the lid off a lubricant product
  • Don’t use one tool to handle multiple forms of lubricant
  • Never use dirty equipment to handle lubricant
  • Don’t use too much or too little lubricant
  • Don’t ignore oil and water leaks in your machines

Following these common-sense lubrication tips can help you avoid the headache of a catastrophic machine failure. 

Learn More Helpful Science Tips

At a first glance, it seems like lubrication is just another complicated scientific concept. As you can see, industrial lubricants serve one simple purpose.

And, that purpose is to keep machines running smoothly by reducing friction.  Without lubricants, any machine would quickly malfunction and cost you several thousands of dollars in repair. With that said, do you want to learn about more interesting science topics? If so, check out our blog for more helpful articles. 

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About the Author: Ali Raza