Important Impact of Lubrication on Bearing Performance

If squeaky sounds are starting to be heard from a vehicle, it could mean that something is not working well and something needs to be done about it, as that is probably not a good sound to hear from any vehicle. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an old adage that has been around for some time, pointing out that the more effective way to treat a problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place! Applying the same principle to keeping up with trucks or any heavy-duty equipment could surely result in a significant decrease in maintenance cost.

Lubrication is not the only cure for bearing damage per se; in a way, it will keep the performance constant by reducing friction and friction heat, decreasing the spindle temperature and helping the machine’s accuracy. The oil system is like the lymph system in a human body, providing fluid to keep all parts moving. Depending on the type of bearings, there are types of oils that can better suit each rolling element’s demand. Depending on the working conditions of each one, particularly with high speeds or high temperature, using the correct type of lubricant could result in great savings of both time and money for a business.

Growth of Lubricant Systems

It has always been difficult to apply grease to bearings since the process can include dismantling, applying the grease and re-assembling the friction-reducing mechanism again. This process takes some time to accomplish and the task is usually very messy. It is for this reason that much lubrication maintenance is overlooked by machine technicians.

As a result, many third-party manufacturers have begun designing automatic lubrication systems that automatically apply oil to bearings even while the equipment is being used. This technological advancement has greatly simplified the application of lubricant since all that needs to happen is to fill the lube or grease container within the automated system. These systems can be classified as single-point and multi-point lubricators, as well as circulating and total-loss for centralized systems. Overall, the whole process as compared to the conventional way of hand-applying lubricants takes less time and eventually saves money over the life of the vehicle.

Increases Bearing Performance

Getting the most from machine bearings means to prevent them from being damaged due to slippage; oils do a great job of this by separating the raceways and rolling elements. Furthermore, grease will protect them from corrosion and may actually replenish the bearing’s slightly damaged surfaces due to friction.

Good quality oil is consistent, will not easily leak, and is easy to use. Together with a good filling rate, grease can lower the friction value and increase the running life of the bearings. Although temperature, aging, mechanical workings, and sometimes the possibility of having an ingress of contaminants can cause deterioration of lubricants, it is a must to maintain the lubricants reliability by getting a quality lubricant then controlling the quantity and frequency of the lubrication application.

Other Factors

The internal geometry of bearings is one of the factors that directly affect lubricant property. Although there are different friction-reducing mechanism types, some things that should be considered are the configuration and materials of the cage, the sealing solution and the mechanism’s internal dimensions.

On the other hand, having knowledge about the mechanism’s physics and the lubricant’s chemistry should not be the basis of a conclusion about the bearings’ condition. Other considerations should include scientifically developed prediction models such as fluid dynamics, rheology (the study of the flow of matter), elastohydrodynamic lubrication (lubrication principles applied to rolling bodies), etc.

Lastly, the impact of lubrication on bearings brings sustainability to the machine as well as being environmentally friendly. The breakthrough of lubricants and the knowledge of lubricant application is the key to prolonging the bearing system’s life and then the lowering of energy consumption is achievable!

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