The Importance of Speciality Lubricants
Enhancing Safety, Efficiency and Equipment Reliability
Accross all industries, day after day, innumerable gears , bearings and compressors work incessantly in assembly belts, baking lines, escalators, in cars, in trains, and on offshore rigs, resulting in a continuous flow of production, transport and assembly, but also a constant consumption of energy. This constant consumption of energy is a major issue for designers and operators of theses systems, not only because energy costs figure prominently among the items on a company's bottom line, but also because this energy consumption is one of the main sources of greenhouse gas - CO² - which impacts the environment and climate change globally.
There are numerous national and international regulations and guidelines in place to help reduce CO² emissions worldwide, but one simple measure, which is often overlooked, is that of speciality lubricants. According to Klüber Lubrication, speciality lubricants can help operators considerably reduce their energy costs and improve their CO² balance by reducing friction in gears and bearings. Tests have shown speciality lubricants to minimize friction and increase component efficency by up to 10 % thereby reducing valuable energy loss and thus lowering emissions and energy consumption.
Choosing the right lubricant can be an especilly tricky task. As manufacturers continue to push the limits of machine performance, lubricant suppliers must deliver tailored solutions.
Increasing equipment reliability is one of the main concerns of manufacturers, but how can lubrication support this ? By selecting the right lubricant for the application in mind is one way, to do this one factor to consider is the base oil viscosity. To select the appropriate viscosity, consider the following information about your application :
These general technical requirements are dependent on the operating conditions and manufacturing processes in your plant, some lubricants for example, like polyalkylene glycol (PAG) oils, are good for sliding friction, but are not well suited for rolling friction. Likewise, polyalphaolefin (PAO) oils are used for rolling friction and can handle some sliding friction, whereas silicon and PFPE lubricants are typically used for extremely high temperatures.
Component materials, very high or low temperatures, pressure, rotational speed or moisture - all of these factors come into play when selecting a lubricant.
On the contrary, a lubricant when selected and used correctly can have a significant impact on various manufacturing aspects, including :
Companies rarely spend more than 1 % - 3 % of their total operating costs on lubricants, but are "happy" to spend maybe 40 % on energy, 12 % on replacement parts and 35 % on labour.
We can show you ways to seriously impact theses costs.
Synthetic oils are usually selected to provide mechanical and chemical properties superior to those found in traditional mineral oils.
The benefits of Synthetic base oils, include :
As manufacturing continues to push the limits and seeks to cut energy costs, minimize friction and reduce C0² emissions, the use of highly specialized lubrication options for a host of power transmission applications is paramount. Yes, speciality lubricants are more expensive, but it is important to look at the entire cost-benefit calculation of a given application, and price is just the tip of the iceberg, hence the potential for cost savings requires a closer look.
Hiding from first sight, but worth noting are the savings in down-time costs, maintenance, energy usage, spare parts, storage, disposal and of course lubricant consumption overall, as when synthetic high-performance lubricants are tuned to the particular application the total operational cost of that application decreases.
Consider a synthetic gear oil, which offers more energy efficiency because they have better oxidation and thermal stability, which means the gear oil lasts much longer - one could expect to change a mineral oil every 5,000 hours, whereas PAOs or synthetic hydrocarbon oils can last approximately 15,000 hours before a chage-out is required. Although the savings provided by one gear box can be miniscule, when multiplied across a manufacturing plant with numerous industrial machines the cost is significant and can lead to a dramatic reduction in energy, thus making a higher performance lubricant that reduces friction resulting in less wear, delivers longer maintenance intervals and lower energy consumption : the economical choice.
Lubrication evolves from tribology (the science of friction and wear) and not all lubricants are designed the same, which is why it's important to take a proactive approach to lubrication management and make sure the lubricant is applied in the correct manner, including the right amount and at the right time. To do this training is vital and it is important to have the various stakeholders involved from the beginning - it takes time for operators on the factory floor to become knowledgeable in all of the pertinent aspects of lubrication management - lubrication is a science after-all.
As a lubricant manufacturer our aim is to add value to your business, but more specifically value that can be quantified through our lubrication solutions, which is why we developed our "Tech Days". Through our tailored on-site training, we support our customers with :
We regularly emphasize in train-the-trainer style program, which allows knowledge sharing to becomoe a practice even after the training ends.
We can also assist with development of lubrication schedules, lube mapping, labels for equipment, single point lubricators, recommendations for lube systems and identifying correct procedures for storage, sampling and applying lubricants.