To understand why Greases are difficult to clean up once contaminated, first some background information on greases.
There are three components that form lubricating grease: oil, thickener and additives. The base oil and additive package are the major components in grease formulations, and as such, exert considerable influence on the behavior of the grease. The thickener is often referred to as a sponge that holds the lubricant.
The function of grease is to remain in contact with and lubricate moving surface without leaking out under the force of gravity, centrifugal action or being squeezed out under pressure.
Grease and oil are not interchangeable. Grease is used when it is not practical or convenient to use oil. Based on the properties of grease, the following list describes situations where grease is the lubricant of choice:
As with oil, grease displays its own set of characteristics that must be considered when being chosen for an application. Once the correct grease has been selected, it has to be applied properly with the right amount at the right frequency.
There are many different options for doing this. Ideally, a small amount should be applied more frequently. This is the advantage of using an automated system, such as single-point lubricators and centralized grease systems. The most common application system, though, is still the manual grease gun.
It is recommended to use techniques that avoid uncleanliness during storage and application: the lesser transfer of bulk grease the better. Use of cartridges or automatic lubrication systems are preferred.
In case bulk is used from drum, apply the right follower plate, cover and pump.
While it may be one of the oldest lubricants known to man, grease continues to be a vital part of any lubrication program. That’s because the majority of bearings in a typical industrial plant are grease lubricated.
The importance of selecting the correct grease and applying it properly—both in amount and frequency—cannot be overstated. These activities are key factors in a world-class lubrication program. Getting them right is crucial in improving (and ensuring) the reliability of the equipment within your operations.
For more information on grease guns, please download OilSafe Grease Guns & Accesories brochure.