5 Steps for Achieving Lubrication Reliability

A noncontact bearing isolator

How often do you change your equipment’s oil — every quarter, every year, once every three years? Contaminated lubricant caused by improperly maintained components like seals, breathers, and filters can directly lead to bearing failure. Effective lubrication reliability practices at your facility or plant can mean the difference between lucrative uptime and costly downtime, as well as getting the most life from your assets.

According to an on ReliabilityWeb.com, oil changes because of contamination may be eliminated or minimized if noncontact, compound labyrinth bearing isolators are used.

“[These isolators] allow for longer periods between oil changes and less oil used. The design of this isolator type, with expeller technology, forces any contaminants out of the seal with centrifugal force. They are moved away from the bearing and lubricant and out of the rotating asset.”

5 Steps for Lubrication Reliability

  1. The right type of lubricant
    “Without considering overall system reliability, full plant reliability cannot be achieved. Determining the right type can minimize wear and improve uptime.”
  1. The right quality of storage and handling
    “Lubricants must be tested at receiving to ensure they meet the defined specifications before they are mixed in the storage systems […] The transfer containers must be clean and sealed to prevent any contamination as the lubricant is transferred to the asset.
  1. The right amount of lubricant
    “Too little lubricant is an obvious problem, but more is not necessarily better.”
  1. The right place
    “Care must be taken to ensure lubricant containers are color coded and labeled by type. This helps teams prevent mixing lubricants in storage and transfer containers.”
  1. The right time
    “Timing provides the biggest opportunity to improve reliability. Yet, determining the right time to replace the lubricant can be the most subjective.”

A solution for lubrication reliability: Noncontact bearing isolators

Noncontact bearing isolators like the one (pictured above) may solve this problem. However, according to Tindell, static sealing can present even more of a challenge for a true non-contact seal, like compound labyrinth bearing isolators.

“With these seals, the bearing housing still takes in air under static conditions,” Tindell wrote in the article. “But, in contrast to traditional isolators, as airborne contaminants and vapor enter, non-contact oil seals break down their energy as they are forced through a series of vertical, throttling gaps. There, contaminants are captured within the internal condensate trap. They drain out through a small static weep hole at the six o’clock position of the bearing’s isolator.”

Read the full article on ReliabilityWeb.com for more information and to learn about the financial impact of proper lubrication techniques.

About the Author
Anna Claire Howard is a contributing writer, editor, and content marketing specialist for Sealing Equipment Products Co. Inc. (SEPCO) and has been since Spring 2019. Before those two big life changes, she was the content marketing specialist for Fluke Accelix; assistant editor for Grand View Outdoors, publisher of Bowhunting World, Predator Xtreme, Whitetail Journal, Tactical Retailer, and Shooting Sports Retailer; managing editor for Media Solutions, Inc., publisher of Gear Solutions, Wind Systems, and Thermal Processing magazines; assistant editor for MSI; and the editorial intern for B.A.S.S., LLC, publisher of Bassmaster Magazine and Bassmaster.com. In these B2B/B2C roles, Anna Claire developed an appreciation for the industrial sector, as well as the operators and technicians who make up the workforce. You can find her on LinkedIn at bit.ly/ACHowardLI.