N C Mavani, Director, Chem-Verse Consultants
After selecting the right lubricant, maximum benefits can only be realised if the lubricant is properly dispensed. Aerosol lubrication has been found to be not only one of the most effective means of dispensing lubricants, but also it gives quick results, writes N C Mavani.
Increasing automation and sophistication in machinery and equipment demands lubricants of the highest quality, not only to reduce friction and wear, but also to reduce the energy consumption, improve safety and prolong equipment life. However, after selecting the right lubricant, maximum benefits can only be realised if the lubricant is properly dispensed. Aerosol lubrication has been found to be not only one of the most effective means of dispensing lubricants, it also gives quick results, especially for Do-it-Yourself applications. In many cases, with proper use of diluents and propellants (required for aerosol formulation), the product is found to be more effective.
Aerosol lubrication has also become quite popular for critical applications in industry, especially where non-conventional lubricants based on silicone, teflon, molybdenum disulphide and synthetic polymers are required. Because these lubricants are expensive, they require exact and accurate dispensing, often infrequently, for it to be effective and economic. The aerosol package again provides the means to do just that. In addition to this, many of the conventional lubricants available in the form of liquids, fluids, greases, pastes, dispersions, coatings, powders, etc, can be made more effective by reformulation when dispensed through the aerosol package.
The following aerosol products have been identified which may be used in the industry:
Penetrating oil/release spray
It is a multipurpose maintenance aid formulated to protect metals, lubricate moving parts, penetrate and loosen seized nuts and bolts and to clean and displace water from contact surfaces, all in a single operation.
Multipurpose fluid grease aerosol spray
This is a multipurpose grease with special additives such as Moly, used for plain and antifriction bearings. It increases bearing life, extends lubrication interval, lowers energy consumption, protects from rust and corrosion and reduces grease inventory. It can be used in industries wherever multipurpose greases are used, especially for industries, which consume ball and roller bearings, bushes, and those, which require regular lubrication for chains, linkages, joints, slides and ways, open gears and wire ropes. It is an ideal lubricant for electric motors and water pumps in the rural areas.
Antiseize spray for the threaded connections
It is based on a highly concentrated lubricating paste fortified with micro- sized solid lubricants and metallic powders such as molybdenum disulphide, graphite, copper, nickel, zinc, for different types of threaded connections. It is used as an assembly spray, as a lubricant or slideaways, bearings under shock- loaded conditions, chains, cables, linkages, speed reducers, king pins, etc. It is especially used to prevent seizure in the case of nuts, bolts, studs, screws, pipes and couplings, unions, spark plugs and threaded connections of exhaust pipes, die heads of plastic extruder, etc. By spraying before assembly of threaded connections, seizure is avoided when subsequent dismantling is required.
Dry lubricant spray
This is a suspension of microsized solid lubricants (based on Moly/Teflon/Graphite, etc.) on its own or in a binder-solvent system to provide a bonded lubricating film over bearing surfaces. It can be used as:
Textile industry spray
It is a non-staining cleaner-cum-lubricant for modern textile machinery used for various operations such as spinning, winding and weaving, knitting etc. Based on a specialty cleaner, synthetic lubricant and other chemical additives, it immediately penetrates and cleans fluff, dust and other deposits accumulated on surfaces. It leaves a thin, non-staining and non-sticky film of lubricant, which protects the exposed surface from rust and corrosion, and reduces the wear and tear of moving parts. It is especially used for splicers and knotters of autoconers and winder mechanisms of spinning and weaving machinery, knitting and sewing machines and other modern high speed machines.
Switch and instrument lubricant spray
It is a high quality electrical contact cleaner-cum-lubricant formulated to clean carbon deposits, grease and other contaminants and protect electrical contacts from humidity and corrosion. It should lubricate all moving parts in switches, instruments and other similar gadgets without affecting the delicate movements. It should also be so formulated that it will not chemically affect the surrounding components made of rubber, plastic, metal, wood, leather etc. Such formulation would consist of a blend of selective chemicals such as synthetic lubricants, solvents, additives and propellants, which should make maintenance easier without dismantling of components and equipments.
Metalworking lubricant spray
This is a highly versatile product compatible with all conventional metals for different metal working operations. Such operations are drilling, trapping, reaming, fine machining, boring, thread cutting and profile milling. Its faster penetrating action would be advantageous over the conventional paste type compounds, which are slow acting, especially in the area of high speed, mass production operations.
The product formulation may also allow it to be used for exotic metals such as titanium, nickel-chrome steels and others used in the Aerospace and Electronic industries to give better finish and reduce friction and chip welding. It should be clear and non-staining and easily removable after the operations, so that subsequent treatment can be carried out without much difficulty.
Non-stick Teflon spray
This is a new generation multipurpose lubricant similar in application to the one described in the penetrating oils except that it is of higher quality and contains a solid lubricant based on polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).
In service, this lubricant forms a tenaceous, non-stick coating of the fluoropolymer which does not allow dirt and dust to settle on the bearing surfaces.
This makes the product ideal for cement plants, textile mills and mining industries, etc, where constant flow of dust and contaminants affect the conventional lubricants.
In such industries, contaminants after mixing up with the lubricants act as abrasives and damage the bearing surfaces causing premature failure. Such a type of product can offer the advantage of a truly multipurpose product, which can be used for a variety of applications and also can take care of emergencies under extreme conditions with the help of the solid lubricants whenever the situation demands. Other uses of the Teflon coating in industry are to provide electrically insulating and chemically inert film to protect surfaces from weathering effects.
From the products described above and applications mentioned, it is quite clear that aerosol lubrication has a good scope of usage in many industries. In a country like India where maintenance culture has yet to be developed sufficiently, the ease of maintenance through aerosol lubrication provides an even bigger scope for aerosols.