If you need information on industrial lubricants and their use, look no further. In this in-depth article, we put these built-for purpose products under the microscope explaining what industrial lubricants are and the ways they are deployed. We’ll look at the types of lubricants included in this category and the advantages they offer. We’ll also examine the operating environments they are used in along with best lubrication practices. Understanding the difference between manual and automatic lubrication will also be covered and guidance on how to pick the right industrial lubricant for an application.
What is an industrial lubricant?
Any operation involving mechanical equipment relies on lubricants. Correct lubrication can ensure that the moving parts of machinery move smoothly and freely while reducing friction and heat production to prevent wear and tear. Lubricants also protect machinery from corrosive forces and contaminants and keep them clean extending the lifespan of equipment. The difference between industrial lubricants and more conventional products is the way that they are designed to cope with more extreme conditions and operating environments.
Whether they are greases, oils, fluids or pastes, industrial lubricants might be formulated to help them perform at a wider range of temperatures from extreme cold to intense heat or under incredible pressures and work rates. They are also often enhanced with additives to help lubricants remain effective in harsh environments and to protect the active service life of equipment.
Industrial applications involve the most competitive markets and the most demanding environments for lubricants and as a result, products that can last longer and cope with extreme conditions are in growing demand. Statistics from a recent study suggest that by 2027, the global lubricants market will likely be worth approximately £155 billion.
Advantages of industrial lubricants
Using industrial lubrication has substantial advantage for companies. These include reduced mechanical downtime, friction, and wear, but also lower maintenance costs and extended equipment lifespan thanks to enhanced heat dissipation and protection against oxidation and corrosion. Safer working conditions and equipment use are also aided by industrial lubrication. As machinery served by industrial lubrication operates more effectively, it not only improves productivity through optimisation, but also promotes sustainability.
Industrial lubricant applications
Industrial lubricants are used in a wide range of application and industries. The energy industry uses them to protect and keep hydraulic systems, generator bearings and turbine blades running smoothly. In the automotive sector they aid under the bonnet applications and optimise engine performance and in the marine industry they serve compressors, turbines, and gear systems. In extremely demanding applications where safety is a vital concern, like the aerospace sector, industrial lubrication makes sure flying controls and landing gear remain dependable. These are just some of the areas where industrial lubricants are used, the mining, farming, medical and textiles industry are among some of the other application, but any sector where machinery is used can employ these specialist solutions.
What are the main industrial lubricant types?
A diverse selection of industrial lubricants has been developed to serve specific applications and equipment. Bearing oil can be found employed in wide range of industries while engine, hydraulic and gear oils are employed in both the automotive sector and in some stationary equipment. Specialist solutions include chain and cable oils which improve performance and compressor oils used in refrigeration systems. Heat transfer oils are used to cool systems, while heat-proof grease can protect against oxidation and corrosion.
What is the difference between manual and automatic industrial lubrication?
There are two main ways to apply industrial lubricants, automatically or manually. Some operations use a technician to add lubricant as and when required while others use machines to perform this task automatically. Experts believe that automatic lubrication is more efficient and consistent. The benefits include reduced mechanical downtime and less waste lubricant.
Best practices and mistakes to avoid using industrial lubricants
It is vital that you never over or under lubricate equipment when using industrial lubricants. Determine the correct amount of lubricant required and apply it. Regular monitoring and testing of the lubricant in use will help you work out when changes are required to your lubrication plan. Ensure all industrial lubricants used are stored and handled safely and labelled to avoid issues of cross contamination. All staff members involved in lubrication practices must be fully trained.
How to select the correct industrial lubricant for an application
When ordering industrial lubricants for your operation always select the correct product for each type of machinery or risk harm to your equipment and a negative impact on your operation. Adhere to your original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) recommendation but also ensure you choose a lubricant which matches your operating environment and answers specific industry standards for your sector. If unsure, you can also look to expert lubrication distributors for advice on using the latest industrial lubricants available.