Regular lubrication of moving parts of machinery, equipment, and fixtures is essential for prolonging their life and preventing premature wear and tear. The process of lubrication requires you to choose the best grease for the application and apply the suitable lubrication techniques. There are numerous grease manufacturers in the industry today; therefore, making the right choice for your equipment can be daunting. Here are some useful tips that can help you determine the best grease that will effectively lubricate your equipment.
Properties of the grease thickener
Grease is usually made up of three basic components: the thickener, also known as the soap, the oil, and the additive. The grease thickener is the component that holds the oil and additive in place. There are various types of thickeners with different properties, and here are some of the common ones and their characteristics.
- Lithium-based thickeners. These thickeners can be used in high-temperature applications. They also have good resistance to water and hardening. Note that while lithium-based thickeners give high-temperature characteristics of the lubricant, there are various types under this category, and they vary in their resilience to temperature.
- Bentone thickeners. They have an excellent high-temperature performance. Their only limiting aspect would be the temperature that the oil or the additive can be able to tolerate. The same properties apply to polyurea and aluminum-complex thickeners.
- Calcium-based thickeners. These have a good resistance to water but may not be suitable for high-temperature applications.
The temperature and amount of moisture that the grease will be exposed to should guide you when choosing the thickener component of the grease.
Viscosity of the oil
The oil is the component that holds the lubrication properties of the grease. It separates the moving parts. When choosing the oil type, its viscosity or thickness should match its application. For grease that will be exposed to high temperature and low speed, the best type of grease should have a high viscosity. The same applies to high-load applications where the oil should be very viscous.
On the other hand low-temperature and high-speed applications should use a grade of oil with low viscosity. Choosing the right oil viscosity will ensure that the machine or equipment parts don't work so hard to move due to the thickness of the lubricant.
Properties of the additive
The additive is meant to improve certain properties of the grease, and various additives add something different to the composition. For instance, water-resistant additives improve the water resistance property of the grease. Rust and corrosion inhibitors protect metal parts from corrosion. Choose an additive that complements the lubricant based on the applications of the equipment.
Consider these factors when buying grease to ensure that you get the best combination of the thickener, oil, and additive that's suitable for your lubrication applications.