Grease, It's Slippery Stuff

 13th Feb 2015

How well do you know your greases?

Reports conducted by industry professionals suggest that operators who, despite in-depth industry knowledge regarding lubricants and their application, sometimes lack understanding or overlook the type of grease used.

More often than not operators select and apply multi-purpose EP2 grease across a site. By overlooking the selection and implementation of the wrong grease technology can significantly impact operations, causing major issues and potential equipment failure.

Grease consists of a base lubricating oil held within a 'thickening agent,’ often a lithium or calcium based metallic soap. The thickening agent holds the lubricating oil in place. As mechanical forces are applied to the thickener, lubricating oil is released to provide adequate lubrication to the application. Similarly to lubricants, greases vary in performance in order to meet a variety of operating conditions. 

Greases should reduce;

  • friction and wear
  • protect against corrosion
  • seal bearings from water and contaminants and
  • resist leakage

One of the main reasons for grease failure is the selection of the wrong type of grease for application.

There are critical elements used in the formulation process of grease which must be considered. These elements include the thickener type and concentration, lubricant type, viscosity and additive package. Thickness/consistency is rated by the National Lubricating Grease Institute (NLGI) and range from 000 (semi-fluid grease) through 6 (solid grease). Viscosity is measured in centistokes (cSt). It is vital that these elements are taken into account when selecting a grease.

Problems occur when using a grease which its viscosity or consistency isn’t suitable for the application. For example, using a multi-purpose, 220 cSt grease in a high speed 
application¯ such as an electric motor bearing¯ could cause the bearing to overheat, a common cause of failure. For such an application, 100 cSt grease is more suitable.  Similarly, using a grease of a consistency that is overly soft for effective performance in a high speed application could lead to grease 'fling-off,’ which will deplete grease reserves, meaning that there will not be enough grease remaining to sufficiently lubricate the application and potentially contributing to rapid wear.

WP Lubrication Solutions are experts in their field and can advise and work alongside companies to implement plan strategy and use of the correct type of lubricant and grease across applications.  WP Lubricant Solutions only use marketing leading Mobil™ branded products. Mobil lubricants and greases exceed industry standards and are implemented as part of a complete solutions package which optimises operational efficiency, provides long-term asset care, reduces carbon output and decreases operational expenses.     

To find out more about WP Lubrication Solutions call one of our experts today on 0800 9806172.

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