The increasingly unmanageable costs of bearing failures are a burden to manufacturing and industrial of all sizes. Frequently these costs are a consequence of the failure to verify that bearings are receiving the proper amounts and types of lube oil or grease via the integration of monitoring capabilities into large, automated lubrication systems.

Without proper lubrication, bearings seldom survive more than 5-10% of their potential service life. This is due to multiple factors, among which corrosion, heat, caustic elements and high shock loads are major players.

However, according to Richard Hanley, president of Lubrication Scientifics, failure to properly lubricate production equipment, particularly at the critical points, can be an even greater cause of bearing failures and resulting in unnecessary downtime and replacement costs.

Lubrication Scientifics engineers and manufactures a variety of automated lubrication systems and components that are installed on equipment used in a wide variety of manufacturing applications.

The critical points Hanley refers to include those bearing points that, if not provided the appropriate lubricant at necessary intervals, will cause the most extensive damage to equipment or present risks to plant personnel.

“You can’t be sure that you are lubricating all of those points successfully unless you have consistently accurate monitoring, or verification, that the lubricant is dispensed through the pump to the point where it should be injected – at proper intervals,” Hanley explained.

Yet, the large investments required to install and maintain lubrication systems with monitoring capabilities – often $500,000 or more - discourages manufacturing operations from adopting automated lubrication systems. Or, if they are installed, they often require frequent and expensive repair or replacement.

The conventional approach — The traditional methodology for heavy industrial lubricating applications is the conventional dual-line lubrication system. Capable of delivering varied amounts of lubricant, this type of automated system is ideal for lubricating thousands of points over long distances, with lube oil or grease output being controlled individually at each point. Also important, a single blockage will not shut down the entire system.