Anchor winches, cranes, level winders and other equipment exposed to the elements on the deck of a vessel may look good with a thick, consistent layer of grease, but appearances can be deceiving. In fact, several problems may be lurking below the surface of commonly used greases, namely.
- Premature wear can occur if the grease is not up to the design loads and speed of the equipment.
- Today’s deck equipment is being pushed much harder over a wider range of operations, resulting in higher loads on gears and bearings that are rotating faster. Advanced, high-performance grease formulations are designed to handle today’s more demanding conditions.
- Obsolete formulations can’t match the advantages of new lubricants. For example:
- Commonly used thick asphaltic grease will slide off the vertical face of the slewing gear on deck cranes. Alternatives can provide a thin layer which stays in place, improving longevity and safety on deck.
- Improper selection of lubricants can occur in an automatic lubrication system. Consider these factors:
- A softer grease often performs better than older types. Depending on the situation, the lubricant must either separate contact points with a film or deliver additives that maintain anti-friction benefits even when squeezed out at the point of contact.
- Temperature changes can affect grease performance; a grease which is good for the tropics may not flow through the auto-lube system in northern climates.
- Eco-friendly characteristics are required when lubricants eventually wash out to sea. This necessitates formulations that are as good in performance in deck equipment as they are for the environment.
Modern lubricants have been formulated to maintain lubrication in today’s challenging marine applications.
How is your grease performing? Let us know in the comments below.