The Path to Lubrication Excellence

This ebook is a must read for all the maintenance professionals out there working with lubrication and who are aiming for excellence. We talk about why bearings fail prematurely, the different approaches to lubrication practices and how ultrasound technology is fundamental for a world-class lubrication program.

UE Systems Inc.
UE Systems Inc.
The Path to LUBRICATION EXCELLENCE CHAPTER 1 When Bearings Fail Prematurely CHAPTER 2 The Challenge For Maintenance Professionals CHAPTER 3 Traditional Time-Based Lubrication CHAPTER 4 Condition-Based Lubrication CHAPTER 5 Condition-Based Monitoring With The Right Tools CHAPTER 6 Identifying The Source Of A Sound CHAPTER 7 Ultrasound Assisted Lubrication CHAPTER 8 Any Lubrication Method Is Better Than None CHAPTER 9 The Best Case Scenario CHAPTER 10 UE Systems Ultrasound Instruments TABLE OF CONTENTS FORTUNATELY, THERE ARE EASY SOLUTIONS FOR POOR LUBRICATION PRACTICES. WHEN BEARINGS FAIL PREMATURELY, POOR LUBRICATION PRACTICES ARE OFTEN THE CAUSE. In fact, over 80 percent of premature bearing failures can be traced to a problem with lubrication. The proper amount of bearing grease dampens the stress caused by the rolling element bearings, the housing and the shaft. That damage can go unnoticed until the bearing fails completely, disrupting workflow, creating downtime and causing financial loss. Too little lubrication increases friction, creates heat and adds stress on the bearings. Too much lubrication, believe it or not, also increases friction and has the same effect. CHAPTER 1 Using the correct lubrication type for the specific application. Storing lubricant in a way that keeps it cool, dry and clean. Filtering lubricant as necessary and in the correct way. Incorporating predictive maintenance tools like ultrasound to assist in the timing and amount of lubrication application. THE BEST LUBRICATION METHOD CONTAINS EACH OF THESE FACETS WITHOUT LEAVING ANYTHING OUT. THE CHALLENGE FOR MAINTENANCE PROFESSIONALS IS TO DEVELOP A BEARING LUBRICATION PROCESS THAT ENSURES THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF GREASE EVERY TIME. Simply eyeballing the right amount – even for seasoned maintenance veterans – isn’t the best strategy. Instead, these professionals should leverage a reliability centered lubrication process that revolves around several best practices: CHAPTER 2 WHAT IF THE BEARING ALREADY HAS ENOUGH GREASE? WHAT IF THE SCHEDULED LUBRICATION IS TOO FREQUENT OR NOT FREQUENT ENOUGH? WHAT IF THE AMOUNT OF GREASE APPLIED IS TOO MUCH OR TOO LITTLE? WHAT IF THE BEARING HAS ISSUES BEYOND LUBRICATION? MANY FACILITY MAINTENANCE TEAMS RELY ON TIME-BASED LUBRICATION – A TRADITIONAL METHOD THAT ESTABLISHES INTERVALS FOR LUBRICATION AND A SET AMOUNT OF GREASE. This technique may seem like a solid approach, but there are a few gaps that could result in early bearing failure even if the schedule is followed to perfection. Consider: OF THESE, THE CHIEF CONCERN FOR THE TIME-BASED APPROACH IS OVER-LUBRICATION. Often, the bearing will end up with far more lubricant than necessary, which hastens the onset of failure mode. CHAPTER 3 CONDITION-BASED LUBRICATION IS A BETTER STRATEGY. To help establish a condition-based lubrication protocol, maintenance professionals use the I-P-F model to analyze a piece of equipment’s life, from installation to point-of-failure. Rather than establishing a rigid structure for lubrication based on time intervals, maintenance teams can use a combination of equipment run time, historical data and condition monitoring tools to detect mechanical failures. THIS IS FUNDAMENTALLY A DIFFERENT WAY TO LUBRICATE – using asset health and alarm indicators as the determining factor for when to apply lubrication and in what portion. CHAPTER 4 WITH THAT SAID, CONDITION-BASED MONITORING WORKS BEST IF MAINTENANCE PROFESSIONALS HAVE THE RIGHT TOOLS AT THEIR DISPOSAL. In fact, ultrasound can go even further – the technology detects slight changes in amplitude or decibel levels due to increased friction, either from too much or too little lubrication. IN MANY CASES, ULTRASOUND CAN REDUCE GREASE CONSUMPTION BY 30 PERCENT. To that end, ultrasound is an excellent way to find early stage bearing failures. By incorporating ultrasound into best lubrication practices, the results can include: Fewer lubrication-based failures. More accurate and efficient lubricant usage. Longer motor and bearing life. Lower rebuild or repurchasing costs. The discovery of otherwise undetectable problems. Better overall reliability. CHAPTER 5 Generally, there are three sources of ultrasound: WITH THE RIGHT TRAINING AND TOOLS OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY, ULTRASOUND OPERATORS CAN IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF A SOUND AND LEARN TO IDENTIFY THE TYPE OF ISSUE THAT MAY BE CAUSING IT. These are defects that create sound, but at a frequency outside what the human ear can perceive. Human hearing ends at about 20 kHz and that’s right where ultrasound begins. THESE SOUNDS ARE LOW-ENERGY, WHICH MAKES IT EASY TO TRACE THE EXACT SOURCE OF THE SOUND. In this way, ultrasound can help pinpoint any number of early failure defects – not only those related to lubrication. For lubrication specifically, though, ultrasound is ideal. Turbulence Ionization Friction and impacts < 20 kHz > 20 kHz CHAPTER 6 That gives them the necessary data points to determine exactly how much grease is required at any given time. These professionals will know what they need to do by simply listening and reading the feedback: ULTRASOUND ASSISTED LUBRICATION IS A PROCESS BY WHICH MAINTENANCE PROFESSIONALS MONITOR AND TREND DECIBEL LEVELS IN A BEARING WHILE GREASING. 8dB above baseline indicates a lack of lubrication. 16dB above baseline indicates damage to the bearing – a failure mode beyond lubrication alone. 35dB above baseline means the asset is critical – it is close to failure. As the operator adds grease, he or she will notice a gradual drop in decibels. ONCE THE LEVEL FALLS BACK TO THE BASELINE, THE BEARING IS SUFFICIENTLY LUBRICATED. If the decibels increase, that means there is already enough lubricant.Even if ultrasound finds no change in decibels after adding grease, that is still actionable information. The inspector can follow up with a spectrum analysis of the recorded ultrasound sound file, vibration analysis or some other technique to determine why there was no change in the decibel level. CHAPTER 7 8dB 16dB 35dB At the very least, maintenance professionals should: ANY LUBRICATION METHOD IS BETTER THAN NONE WHATSOEVER, BUT SOME TECHNIQUES ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS. To take it a step further, these individuals should also: Ensure the correct grease is being used. Lubricate to the manufacturer’s specifications. Calculate the amount of grease based on bearing type and size. Determine lubrication frequency by equipment run time and operating conditions. Implement a basic ultrasound device to listen to the bearing while greasing. Track the changes in decibel level with added grease. Make note of any other issues that may be unrelated to lubrication. CHAPTER 8 Use an ultrasound tool with data collection functions to record the decibel level and the sound file for future analysis and comparison. Set baseline, high and low alarms after enough data is compiled. Establish a follow-up inspection after lubrication to ensure the bearing is still functioning as expected. Create a report – a Lube Report, Alarm Report, 4 Image Report and FFT and Time Wave Form images from a spectrum analysis software are all good examples. IN THE BEST CASE SCENARIO, THE LUBRICATION METHOD WILL TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL OF THE ABOVE, BUT ALSO: WITH THIS STRATEGY, OPERATORS WILL FIND MORE PROBLEMS AND RESOLVE THEM BEFORE THEY BECOME DEBILITATING. CHAPTER 9 There are a range of options: UE SYSTEMS PROVIDES ULTRASOUND INSTRUMENTS CAPABLE OF ALL LUBRICATION NEEDS. ALL BEARINGS FAIL EVENTUALLY – THAT’S A FACT OF FACILITY MAINTENANCE. But they don’t need to fail as often as many do. Proper lubrication is key to healthy, long, productive bearing lives and the right ultrasound tools play a major part in that process. The Ultraprobe 201 Grease Caddy is simple to use, cost-effective and will let the operator know when he or she has applied enough or too much grease. The Ultraprobe 401 Grease Caddy can store data, trend decibel levels and grease amount, store a before and after decibel level, record the number of grease pumps and can be used with remote access sensors if equipment access is restricted. CHAPTER 10 14 HAYES STREET ELMSFORD, NY 10523 914.592.1220 INFO@UESYSTEMS.COM
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