Technical Help – 5 Lubrication Problems and How to Avoid Them

5 Lubrication problems & how to fix them


Step by step – How to avoid lubrication problems

Whatever it is that needs a bit of oil or grease, from a tractor, a truck, a CNC machine or even a door hinge, getting it right is essential to avoid the cost of inefficient running, breakdowns, wear or even catastrophic failure.

It has been said that nearly half of machine and engine problems can be attributed to their lubrication, and at Pennine Lubricants we often get asked how to avoid these problems, and we see many examples of lubrication practice from the excellent to the… less excellent.

Here are a few things to consider, regardless of whether you manage a fleet of trucks, a busy factory full of machines or just want to stop that door hinge squeaking.

1 – Have a plan, have a schedule, have a system

It’s obvious but it is still a huge cause of lubrication problems. Servicing something before it goes wrong is easier, cheaper, and more convenient than fixing it after it has gone wrong. Oils don’t last forever but the parts they protect will last a lot longer if the oil is changed when required. Also remember that oil and air filters have a vital part to play in getting the most from your oil. Whatever the service interval, hours, miles or work done, make sure someone has responsibility for servicing and keeping things moving.

2 – Get the right Lubricant

Lubricant choice these days is bewildering and more complex than ever before. Old chemistry is phased out, new chemistry becomes available and products change every year. Choosing the right oil can be a real headache and the days of one oil for everything are long gone. By keeping up to date with new specifications, changes in legislation and additive technology, as well as market trends, your Pennine Technical Area Managers are well placed to advise on everything from Boron free cutting fluids to Low SAPS technology engine oils. Choosing the right oil has never been more important.

3 – Not too much, Not too little

An often overlooked area of lubrication is the quantity applied. This is particularly true with grease, and overpacking bearings can be just as damaging as under greasing them. Filling a bearing until grease oozes out is common, but can lead to premature wear, increased power consumption and high temperatures. Getting the optimal volume of lubricant is essential to reduce friction and to provide protection from wear, corrosion and oil breakdown. This can be particularly important in water mix metalworking fluids where optimal dilution can avoid many problems and provide considerable production and health and safety benefits.

4 – Contamination

Most lubricants contain complicated additive technology, and do not generally need extra substances adding to them such as tea bags, water or dandelion seeds. Contamination occurs either in storage or in use and will invariably cause the products to deteriorate and weaken the protection they provide. Taking reasonable steps to avoid ingress of foreign liquids and solids is always good practice, whether it is making sure the barrel is stored undercover or making sure jugs and funnels are free from dust and dirt. In use lubricants should be protected by good filtration and good housekeeping. Frost can also damage many products. For advice on best practice in storage, dispensing, mixing and keeping systems clean please consult your Pennine Technical Area Managers.

5 – Monitor it, manage it, record it

All lubricants benefit from being looked after whilst in use. Too often they are forgotten about and left to get on with it. Whether it is a quench oil tank holding 10,000 litres or a gearbox holding a pint that oil is your investment in your machine, your engine or your process. Taking time to routinely check it will make sure you maximise your return on that investment. Having checked it, it is important to act on your findings and make any necessary corrections and adjustments. From preventing bacterial growth in a coolant sump or removing scale from a quench tank these small actions will prolong the life of the product, and defer the considerable cost and inconvenience of cleaning and replacement. An archive of reports can provide a picture over time, informing future management and helping with insurance, health and safety and quality accreditation.

As always, we are here to help and offer you advice on looking after your lubricant – our advice is always free, so call us on 0114 285 2987 or email [email protected].

Article Summary

Your Pennine Technical Area Manager will always be happy to advise or undertake an audit to ensure you have an effective lubrication schedule.
Pennine Lubricants Procare Coolant Monitoring provides an excellent way of making sure that your metal working fluids are working for you and not causing you rust, bad smells, tool wear and dermatitis. Your Pennine Technical Area Managers can discuss this service in detail and provide an audit to see where your lubricant consumption can be improved.
For advice on the support, monitoring, management, analysis and reporting services offered by Pennine Lubricants please refer to your Technical Area Managers.

Pennine are more than just a supplier, they offer technical support and expertise. They provide full regular monitoring of metal working fluids and any aspects that support the safe use and operation of the oils and coolants we use on our site. Kevin Martin, Health & Safety Manager, Abbey Forged Products

They offer an excellent service, are polite and offer helpful advice. Mathew Kelly, Operations Manager, Barrett Steel

The communication from Pennine is great, we are always fully informed of our order status and they always deliver on time. I have been really impressed with the quality of their oil. Mark Wood, Fitter, Betney Cop Restoration Co.

We've recently changed to Pennine Lubricants, I can't thank Bob enough for the effort and service that's provided every time we order. Always happy to do business. Mylo Charlesworth, Purchasing and Warehouse Operative, CNC

In fifteen years of dealing with Pennine Lubricants, I have found the service to be impeccable. Jeremy Gosling, Director, Fine Grinding LTD

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