When bearings fail unexpectedly, production grinds to a halt and the last thing manufacturers need to worry about is the price of replacing a single failed bearing. They must consider what processes have been affected, how long the downtime is going to take, if they even have the proper spares on location to make the necessary repairs, and what the total cost of downtime is going to be.
Even today, with the many advancements in maintenance coming with modern manufacturing techniques, data, and systems, so many machinery lubrication departments still grease their bearings on a wasteful calendar and formula-based schedule. Re-lubrication strategies based on formulae and calendars are the norm in industry and they were the best science we had before ultrasound. But using time-based strategies can lead to bearings being over-greased and under-greased. Therefore, a condition-based approach must be implemented for optimal bearing lubrication.
Most bearing manufacturers provide end-users with a grease replenishment formula for each of their bearings. So, picture there are two identical bearings from the same OEM. One ends up in a hot and humid paper mill outside of São Paulo, Brazil… The other, in the frigid climate of Northern Ontario’s, Kirkland Lake, at a gold mine. Would these bearings require the same re-greasing schedule? Probably not.
The following machinery re-lubrication formula factors in bearing housing temperature, roughly how much contamination there is, moisture, vibration, positioning, bearing design, RPM, and bore diameter… There are a lot of different measurements and calculations that need to be made to ensure the bearing’s grease intervals are correct and they need to be re-taken all the time to ensure accuracy. Surely this isn’t the best way to calculate greasing intervals… There must be a better way.
Organize your entire lubrication reliability strategy with Ultranalysis® Suite 3. Manage, trend, and analyze all of your ultrasound, vibration, and lubrication data using UAS3.
Your UAS3 Asset Database is your lubrication reliability roadmap. The seven level, tree structured hierarchy gives lube techs exact directions in navigating to their lubrication replenishment points. With multiple data folders, technicians have best in class condition monitoring organization, for even the most complex factory layouts.
LUBExpert maintains your bearing database. Technicians can keep tabs on all the bearings in their facility. This includes bearing types and make, dimensions, grease compatibility, and much more.
LUBExpert’s Work Orders are set up within UAS3 to serve technicians as a reminder for which bearings need to be greased and when based on historical condition monitoring data.
Remove the guesswork using LUBExpert’s Guided mode and let SDT’s Bearing Lubrication Algorithm determine optimal regreasing quantity.
Know your assets inside and out? Grease your bearings with LUBExpert’s Free Mode.
Different bearings and applications require different lubrication. Some lubricants are made up of oil, some are grease, which is a mixture of oil and thickener (usually lithium-based soap), some lubricants are dry to avoid dust and dirt… Some lubricants can’t survive high temperature applications, and a lot of greases aren’t compatible.
It is not as simple as grabbing the nearest grease gun and pumping random lube into a bearing. LUBExpert’s onboard assistant helps technicians select the correct grease and reminds them of the bearing’s maximum capacity.
An average lube technician might have thousands of bearings under management. Using the asset database in UAS3, technicians need not worry whether they’re greasing the right bearings. LUBExpert’s onboard assistant guides them through the plant, ensuring they arrive at the correct asset, with the correct grease, at the correct time.
While condition-based bearing re-lubrication is the optimal method for increasing bearing lifespan, LUBExpert and UAS3 accommodate both condition and calendar-based re-lubrication schedules. Based on parameters set by the lube technician, which can be based on historical data, or time interval since the last lubrication replenishment task, alarms can be set up and triggered to ensure bearings are greased at the right time.
When a bearing fails prematurely, lube techs can usually look to over or under lubrication as the cause. While this lubrication error typically stems from calendar-based re-lubrication schedules, it can sometimes still occur using a condition-based lubrication solution. Especially if the technician hasn’t selected the correct bearing greasing tool for the job…
Technicians need not worry with LUBExpert. In action, LUBExpert’s onboard assistant is continuously recalculating friction levels between half shots of grease, to determine whether or not to add more. Using historical data, LUBExpert’s onboard assistant alerts lube technicians when optimal friction levels have been reached.
Lube technicians can be confident when re-greasing bearings with LUBExpert’s onboard assistant smoothly guiding them through lubrication tasks from start to finish. After each lubrication replenishment task, lube techs receive a GOOD, BAD, or SUSPECT result to determine whether or not their lubrication task was a success.
Lubrication tasks results are tied back into UAS3, where reports can be generated to illustrate the health of the bearings on that task, grease consumption per department, total grease consumption.
Collect valuable, dynamic condition monitoring data with LUBExpert Dynamic and analyze it in UAS3. When the lubrication team can collect, and view data in the Time and Frequency domain they can remove silos between them and the condition monitoring team.
Allan Rienstra is the international business developer for SDT Ultrasound Solutions. He spoke at the Lubrication and Reliability Virtual Summit (LRVS) in late 2021. The LRVS is the home to lubrication technology development. Click the link below to watch his presentation at the LRVS 2021.
At SDT Ultrasound Solutions, we are meticulous about bearing lubrication, which is why we created LUBExpert Essentials™ Theoretical and Implementation Training. Our comprehensive body of knowledge, designed to help you Grease Bearings Right. Whether you are a Lube Tech, Lube Engineer, Lube Strategist, Reliability Engineer, or Reliability Leader, LUBExpert Essentials™ starts you on the journey to creating a world-class lubrication team.
LUBExpert Essentials™ is a two-part course consisting of 16 modules. In total, there are more than 20 hours of mentor-lead instruction, inter-modular quizzes, followed by an exam that, challenged successfully, awards you with your very own digital LUBExpert Essentials Badge.
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Register today and begin to Grease Bearings Right.
The LUBESense Contact Ultrasound sensor connects with the spring-loaded Acoustic Lube Adapter for condition based bearing re-lubrication. It also integrates with mounting pads and a magnetic mount for when drilling is not desirable. Check out this short demonstration by Allan Rienstra.