• Font Size:
  • A
  • A
  • A

Motion Control Resources

Troubleshooting Tips: Lubrication - page 2

by Kristin Lewotsky, Contributing Editor
Motion Control & Motor Association

Read Page 1 of this Article
Read Page 3 of this Article
Read Page 4 of this Article
Read Page 5 of this Article
Read Page 6 of this Article

Troubleshooting Tips: Lubrication - page 2

 

The first priority when it comes to lubricating a gearbox is making sure that the gear mesh is properly lubricated. Gear meshes often have a lot of sliding contact and they also have extreme pressure on the actual teeth as it turns against itself.

—Rachel Braddock, Senior Applications Engineer, SKF America

When selecting a lubricant for any gear application, the following issues must be considered: type and materials of gear; operating conditions, including rolling or sliding speed, type of steady load, and temperature; method of lubricant application; environment; and type of service. Ambient and operating temperatures also determine the selection of gear lubricants. Oils operating at high temperature require good viscosity and high resistance to oxidation and foaming. Oil for gears operating at low ambient temperatures must be able to flow easily and provide adequate viscosity. Therefore these gear oils must possess high viscosity indices and low pour points.

—Isaac Diggs, Engineering Project Manager, MicroMo

Many customers wish to consolidate and reduce the total number of lubricants used in their facility. While this can usually be done with excellent results, you need to be very careful. Trying to consolidate too much and too quickly can lead to mistakes. I have seen this several times. Don't forget to consider all factors for lubricant selection such as water resistance, speed, loads, bearing types, gear types, starting and running torques, seal and paint compatibility, etc. Sometimes there is a benefit to using a couple more lubricants than initially desired in order to avoid lube-related problems.

—S. M.

What can a good choice of lubricant do to actually improve system performance (e.g. reduce vibration/noise, etc.)?  

Some of the best high-performance lubricants will actually extend the life of equipment, dampen vibration, eliminate noise, and lower operating temperatures as compared to conventional lubricants. In addition, they will last longer and require less maintenance. These lubricants are priced higher but typically provide a lower total cost of operation. Keep in mind that lubrication is a relatively small part of the maintenance budget (about 3%) but can have a huge impact on the other 97% of the budget. Also remember that even the best lubricants can't overcome mechanical/design flaws.

— T. S.

With the possible exception of synthetic lubricants offering reduced friction losses, lubricants are not intended to cure ills. They are intended to assure long term reliability and life of equipment. Sure, it is possible to reduce some noise and vibration by adding a heavier lubricant to some equipment and some applications, but these are masking problems. This is not the purpose of lubricants. The proper selection, introduction into the machine parts—splash vs. forced, for example—plus proper conditioning steps like filtering and cooling, will assure long life of the equipment.

—J. C.

A properly selected lubricant will help a gearbox function better, especially when it is subjected to extreme environments. At cold temperatures, a gearbox must overcome added friction due to the increased viscosity of the lubrication as well as contraction of components (especially from a no-load state). There are lubricants that are designed specifically for low temperatures so they do not add to this friction. Also, at high temperatures, it is very possible for lubricants to burn up or even separate which means they lose their essential lubricating properties.

—M. P.

The ideal lubricant should allow the application to operate at its most efficient state. That typically means lowest friction, lowest operating temperature, minimal wear, lowest noise, and longest life. High efficiency will reduce maintenance, reduce power consumption, and extend component lifetime. All of this will help to reduce costs.

—S. M.

NEXT PAGE...

Read Page 1 of this Article
Read Page 3 of this Article
Read Page 4 of this Article
Read Page 5 of this Article
Read Page 6 of this Article

Back to Top

Browse By Products/Services Browse Companies