The Importance of scientific lubrication management

The Importance of scientific lubrication management

Good machine lubrication can lead to energy savings and an improved mechanical maintenance, thus helping in corporate profitability.

Energy conservation is very important to the cement industry, as important as conserving natural resources, reducing emissions and improving profitability; and the proper selection and use of high-performance lubricants plays a vital role here. It is possible to make dramatic gains in energy efficiency by reducing friction, and the best way to do to that is to employ good lubrication practices, use high performance lubricants and adopts lubrication reliability best practices. Speaking about New Age lubricants and emerging trends in the market KB Mathur, Director, Global Technical Services, says, "Lubricating oils are improving with technology. There have been a lot of R&D activities undertaken by oil and additive companies. For the modern day lubricant, there is the need to meet environmental requirements; Euro IV and Euro V are not too far away." Mathur then adds, "Keeping in view the price increase in mineral oil base stocks and also the need for high performance long drain oils, synthetic lubricants are emerging as a great future substitute for mineral oils. Though the price of synthetic oil is three to five times more than that of mineral oil, in view of the increase in the prices of mineral oils and the long life of synthetic oils, it is expected that in the next few years, the market will embrace synthetic oil, and mineral oil will be substituted by synthetic oil in a very big way. At present, mineral oils constitute almost 80 per cent of the market. By 2025, mineral oils will only be 40 per cent or 50 per cent of the market, and the balance will be synthetic oils."

Akhil Jha, Vice-president - Technical, Shell India Markets, is on the same page as KB Mathur. According to Akhil Jha, the cement industry has slowly started accepting synthetic lubricants given the high performance requirements in severe and highly loaded applications like VRM rollers, kiln support roller bearings, compressor oils, apart from benefits of reduced energy consumption. Akhil says, "Synthetic lubricants offer a longer oil life which can reduce the number of oil changes and hence, increase productive time. The cement industry is now using only specialty lubricants instead of bituminous compound for open gear and wire rope lubricants, and these are not as environment friendly as synthetic lubricants."

In the following pages, we give an insight into the importance of proper lubrication.

Parameters for total lubrication management implementation

  • Select correct grade and viscosity of lubricants for the specific application and ensure this grade has OEM acceptance.
  • Store oil in a clean environment to keep ituncontaminated in storage. Greases should be stored indoors to avoid day/night temperature fluctuations. This can lead to soap-oil separation, making grease unfit for usage. Good housekeeping at lubricants storage is the most important and is the fulcrum of the entire activity.
  • Adopt colour coding to eliminate any possibility of mix-up in oils leading to contamination.
  • Use good and clean lubrication equipment to ensure feeding uncontaminated lubricants to machines.
  • Keep oil clean by providing breathers on machines oil sump and inspect oil filters on machines oil systems regularly.
  • Test oils regularly for oil condition and machine condition, i.e, conta¡mination, additive depletion, wear debris and elemental analysis, etc.
  • Regular training to be given lubrication staff for correct lubrication techniques. All lubrication staff should be skilled.
  • Enforce housekeeping at oil storage, handling and dispensing area.
  • Keep oil points on the machine clean to ensure that no dust or dirt particles go in the machine sump along with the oil.
  • Adopt a target based oil management system. Ensure that at least 95 per cent of the oil is drained out from the sump before feeding new oil into the sump, failing which; new oil may be added to the muck in the oil sump or machine system.

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