According to Machinery Lubrication’s 2020 survey polling over 1,000 lubrication professionals, approximately 54% of all bearing failures can be attributed to lubrication deficiencies, including the use of incorrect lubricants and grease. Other surveys and studies have reported that as high as 80% of bearing failures are the result of lubricant and grease problems.
There are three main causes of lubrication and grease deficiencies.
The good news is that you can manage over half of your bearing failures simply by using the right lubricants and grease to extend your bearing’s performance and operational lifespan.
Most bearing failures are a result of the following list of causes and possible solutions.
Using the wrong lubricant or grease in industrial bearings can have several negative effects on your equipment’s reliability. Here are some signs to watch out for that can indicate you are using the wrong lubricant or grease in your bearings.
If your bearings are running hotter than usual, the wrong lubricant or grease can cause excessive friction, which generates heat and will damage the bearing.
This could be a sign that the lubricant or grease is not meeting its performance requirements. This can be due to inadequate viscosity, incorrect additives, or simply the wrong type of lubricant or grease.
Incompatible lubricants or greases can break down, oxidize, or react with other substances in the environment, leading to contamination and premature failure.
Lubricants and greases are designed to provide a specific level of protection and performance, and using the wrong product will reduce the lifespan of your bearings.
This may be a sign that the lubricant or grease is not performing as required. Inadequate lubrication will lead to increased wear and tear, which requires more frequent maintenance.
Whenever you experience one of the sign that you are using the wrong lubricant or grease, it is important to investigate the cause and take corrective action as soon as possible. Common corrective actions are to change the lubricant or grease, adjust the lubrication schedule, or addressing other factors that may be contributing to the problem.
The simplest action to take is to switch to a synthetic grease. Today, there is no reason not to consider synthetic oils and grease. They are simply more advanced than mineral oil.
The biggest deterrent to switching to synthetic oils and grease is the initial cost of synthetic oil compared to mineral oil. However, studies show and plant owners verify that synthetic lubricants and grease not only save them substantial money, they improve performance and ROI.
An ISL Group professional can help you determine the potential long-term savings for your situation.
This following chart lists other reasons why synthetic grease is a better choice than mineral-based grease.
As a maintenance mechanic, you must ensure that the equipment you maintain is in top condition. By understanding the causes of gearbox failure and taking steps to prevent it, you can keep your equipment running smoothly and avoid costly downtime.
Recently, one of our valued customers in Kansas wrote to us and said that by following our advice and recommendations, “they will save $500,000 every year in reduced labor, bearing failures, and lubricant purchases.” Our knowledge pays, and we provide it to you for free.
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