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Machinery Lubrication www.machinerylubrication.

com September - October 2010 1

2 Editors column
4 As I See It
6 Viewpoint
8 The Exponent
24 Hydraulics at Work
26 From the Field
28 News and Analysis
32 Get to Know ...
36 Lubricants and Fluids
44 Certification News
50 Back Page Basics
22 Product News
30 Product Supermarket
34 Product Spotlight
38 Crossword Puzzler
40 Web Preview
42 Bookstore Features
Editorial Features Departments
September - October 2010
12 Cover Story
Life on Mars
Lubrication excellence is possible in even the most unforgiving environments. Just ask
the maintenance professionals at Alcoas alumina refinery in Point Comfort, Texas. MLs
Paul V. Arnold provides all of the details in this in-depth case study. (Pictured on cover:
Chris Tindell and Brenda Graham)
Features in Detail
4 As I See It
Noria is Recharged
and Ready for Growth
Jim Fitch shares with you some of the key elements of
our plans to create a new, recharged Noria Corporation.
6 Viewpoint
How to Double Your Lube Team
Without Adding Headcount
Through more effective planning and scheduling, we can
find efficiencies in the way we execute lubrication work.
8 The Exponent
Shaft Alignment has a Bearing
on Lubrication Excellence
Trouble looms when a lack of precision alignment
further reduces the already thin film of lubricant that sepa-
rates your machine surfaces.
24 Hydraulics at Work
The Pros and Cons of Various
Hydraulic Filter Locations
When considering the possible locations for filters in a
hydraulic system, the overarching principle must be: first, do
no harm.
26 From the Field
Proper Headspace Management
Starts with the Right Breather Option
If contaminants are not excluded properly, more moni-
toring and removal is required. Therefore, excluding should
be the first task to conquer.
36 Lubricants and Fluids
A Quick and Easy Way to Test
Grease Conditions in the Field
An innovative portable grease analysis kit lets you
perform condition assessments directly in the field.
44 Certification News
To Become World Class, Your Facility Needs
a Lubrication Skill Development Program
A comprehensive look at lubrication training, skills
requirements and certification options.
50 Back Page Basics
The Basics of an Electric Motor
Regrease Program
Good maintenance procedures, planning and the use of
the correct lubricant can increase productivity by reducing
bearing troubles and motor failures.
2 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
When Lube Systems Fail, Will
You Go Down With the Ship?
xecute lubrication excellence or face execution? While not as
much of a rallying cry as John Paul Jones give me liberty or give
me death speech of 1775, comments made this summer by U.S.
naval analyst and author Norman Polmar did garner attention for
their direct and patriotic nature.
Following the July 1 release of a U.S. Navy report summarizing
investigations into the mechanical (and subsequently budgetary)
failures of the USS San Antonio amphibious transport dock ship
failures determined to be stemming in large part from the crafts
engine oil lubrication system Polmar called for drastic action.
In view of the massive and continuing problems with that ship,
the Navy would do well to recall to active duty the people who
accepted the ship and court-martial and execute them in an
attempt to encourage others to safeguard taxpayers money and
possibly the lives of American sailors, he said.
The ship was supposed to cost about $800 million, and now
youre saying shes a billion over cost and youre still fixing her, he
continued. That, my friend, is criminal, because those are
American dollars and American lives put potentially at risk.
Polmars execution suggestion, while rhetorical, shows the
growing exasperation we all should have toward unreliable systems
and improper lubricant management.
If youre not fully aware of the failings of the USS San Antonio
(LPD 17), here is a synopsis.
Built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems in New Orleans, the
684-foot, 25,000-ton vessel was launched on July 12, 2003, and
christened one week later. It had been scheduled to be commis-
sioned on July 17, 2002, but was delayed by poor performance at
the Avondale shipyard, which resulted in it being towed from New
Orleans to the Northrop Grumman shipyard at Pascagoula, Miss.,
in December 2004 for completion. The ship was unable to move
under its own power at that time, despite having been christened
more than a year earlier. The ship arrived in its home port of
Norfolk, Va., on December 18, 2005, and was finally commissioned
on January 14, 2006. The ship failed an inspection in 2007, but
eventually was assigned to the Persian Gulf. On its maiden voyage,
in October 2008, the San Antonio made an emergency stop in
Bahrain, where a 40-member team spent more than three weeks
fixing a critical failure in the engine oil lubrication system.
In June 2009, repairs were made that included replacing approx-
imately 80 percent of the external lube oil service piping. Later that
year, experts found excessive wear to engine bearings, which they
attributed to lube oil contamination that occurred while the ship
was built. When metal shavings were found in the engines last
November, the Navy began its formal probe.
Investigators detailed a number of issues that they blamed on the
shipbuilder, the team that accepted the vessel, and the San Antonio
crew manning and maintaining it.
Unacceptable conditions (produced the ships significant engi-
neering problems), stated the report. Inadequate government
oversight during the construction process failed to prevent or iden-
tify as a problem the lack of cleanliness and quality assurance that
resulted in contamination of closed systems. ... Material challenges
with this ship and other ships of this class continue to negatively
impact fleet operations. Failures in the acquisition process, mainte-
nance, training and execution of shipboard programs all share in
the responsibility for these engineering casualties.
One particularly biting section of the report determined that the
ships crew was slow to discover lube oil contamination.
Command leadership failed to effectively execute a basic engi-
neering program, specif ically the lube oil quality management
program, which was determined to be ineffective, it stated.
News articles pin the additional cost to repair damage caused by
the lube oil system contamination at more than $7.5 million.
The operational impact is such that repairs may preclude San
Antonio executing her next scheduled deployment, the report stated.
When lubrication-related maladies lead to mechanical failures
that drain coffers and impact the mission, everybody goes down
with the ship. As Polmar intimated, heads will (and should) roll.
Dont wait for a formal and painful investigation to execute lubri-
cation excellence.
- Paul V. Arnold, editor-in-chief
The USS San Antonio has had more than its share of lube woes.
4 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
hirteen years ago, Noria Corporation began its mission to raise
awareness and provide advisory services to users and suppliers
of lubrication products. Much has been accomplished since then,
which is a source of considerable pride for the Noria team. Its been
a great ride, but our work is not yet done. Over the past couple of
months, weve taken necessary time to re-examine our business in
detail and refresh our strategies for continued growth for serving
our industry in the years ahead. I would like to share some of the
key elements of our plans to create a new, recharged Noria.
Pursuit of Lubrication Excellence
In recent years, Noria has ventured out into many of the allied
areas of asset management. Weve learned much, especially the
importance of collaboration toward attaining common goals. Weve
also learned that much work remains in our area of specialty lubri-
cation and oil analysis. Going forward, Noria has recalibrated its
business objectives to intensify its focus on lubrication and oil
analysis with an eye on the higher goal of overall plant reliability.
Technology-based Deliverables
From day one, Norias stock-and-trade always has been in the
knowledge and information business. That doesnt change going
forward. While we will continue to offer conventional services in
publishing, training and consulting, we are rapidly developing tech-
nology-based deliverables, as well. One example is our highly
successful DVD training series. In order to achieve more efficient and
broader reach to our customers, we will be more actively leveraging
the Internet and other information technologies toward produc-
tizing our services. In the past couple of years, weve invested heavily
in new technology to better serve our expanding client base. There
will be announcements in this area soon. Stay tuned!
Globalization through Partnerships
In recent years, Noria has had considerable success teaming with
partner organizations in various parts of the world who share our
vision and passion for lubrication and oil analysis. Consistent with
Norias core business model, these franchise relationships will be
expanded considerably to aid in bringing both products and services
to a greater global community of users and vendor organizations.
Norias Rock-solid Team
Noria is blessed to be served by a team of exceptionally high-
quality and high-character professionals. In fact, our talent pool
runs deep, and not just in the technical areas of our trade. With the
recession slowly fading, we are quickly expanding our staff. We are
planning several new hires in publishing, business development and
services over the coming months.
Exciting, Dynamic Times
Just as Noria has frequently asked its clients to modernize their
lubrication programs, the time has come for us to reshape our busi-
ness as well. These are exciting, dynamic times. Change gives
business vitality and helps keep Noria alert to the unmet needs of
our customers. That said, Noria is on track to make 2010 one of the
best years of our history.
About the Author
Jim Fitch has a wealth of in the trenches experience in lubrication, oil
analysis, tribology and machinery failure investigations. Over the past two
decades, he has presented hundreds of lectures on these subjects. Jim has
published more than 200 technical articles, papers and publications. He
serves as a U.S. delegate to the ISO tribology and oil analysis working group.
Since 2002, he has been director and board member of the International
Council for Machinery Lubrication. He is the CEO and a co-founder of Noria
Corporation. Contact Jim at
Noria is Recharged
and Ready for Growth
6 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
n teaching courses on how to establish a best-in-class lubrica-
tion program, I often talk about value-added tasks: activities
that can significantly extend equipment life, increase asset relia-
bility or eliminate unwanted downtime. A good example would be
using a filter cart to periodically decontaminate gearboxes. Done
routinely or in response to elevated particle or water levels, there
can be little doubt that offline filtration has a significant effect on
gear and bearing life.
But despite a general acceptance that these value-added tasks
work, many companies have yet to implement these types of
programs to supplement their routine, time-based lubrication
preventive maintenance (PM) routes. The question is why? Surely if
we believe they have an effect, integrating value-added tasks into
the daily work schedule is a no-brainer?
Whenever I ask, Why havent you developed value-added
tasks?, Im often given a few different reasons:
We dont have the money to invest in new hardware.
Management wont support us.
Our equipment is not readily accessible during production.
But by far the most common response is we dont have the
resources to get done all that needs to be done just to keep this
place running. We dont have time for any new initiatives.
Having spent time in numerous U.S. manufacturing plants in the
past 18 to 24 months, there can be no doubt that theres truth to
this statement. Even more so today than ever before, companies are
trying to do more with less, leaving little time for new programs or
initiatives to take hold. So, faced with this reality, which is unlikely
to change in the foreseeable future, we can respond in one of two
ways: accept that despite our best intentions or desires nothing will
change, or find a way to make it happen.
So, how can we find time to develop and deploy new practices?
How can we be more efficient in the way we execute on lubrication
PMs, working smarter instead of harder? From my experience, there
are two strategies, both of which offer the potential to free up
signif icant man-hours. The f irst is to eliminate non-value-added
tasks activities that either dont contribute any benef it to the
organization or, in many cases, are downright detrimental. Some
good examples are changing oil that does not need to be changed
or greasing bearings too frequently. In many plants, as much as 25
to 35 percent of all lubrication tasks might be considered to be
non-value added. The key to addressing this is through lube PM
optimization deciding which tasks need to be done and what is
their optimum frequency. Ive talked at length about the optimiza-
tion of lubrication PMs in previous articles. But theres another way
in which we can find efficiencies in the way we execute lubrication
work specif ically, through more effective planning and sched-
uling. This is the area on which I want to focus for this article.
The Issues With Conventional Routes
When it comes to scheduling lube PMs, many organizations
combine their routine lubrication PMs into routes a compilation
of tasks that are similar in task type, area of the plant or tools
required. With this approach, we end up with lube routes that tend
to be named things like electric motor regrease, pillow block
bearing regrease, oil level inspection and top-off or routine oil
sampling. Typically, these routes are scheduled based on task
frequency. For example, the electric motor regrease route may be
scheduled to be done every six months, the inspection and top-off
perhaps weekly, greasing of pillow block bearings monthly and oil
sampling routes done quarterly. But is this the most efficient way
to execute work? In my opinion, it is not.
To illustrate the potential problems this approach creates,
consider the simple example of executing these lubrication PMs on
a belt conveyor. Every week, we receive paperwork instructing us to
walk down all wet sumps, check the oil level and top-off where
necessary. Following our work instructions, our diligent lubrication
technician walks down the conveyor to check the oil level on the
gearbox, along with other oil sumps in the same area of the plant.
Having completed the top-off and inspection route, we now
receive our next work instructions: Perhaps its time to grease
motor bearings a six-month task. Our diligent lube tech now
grabs the grease gun f illed with our designated electric motor
grease and duly executes the work.
Next, its time for our monthly regrease of the head, tail and
other conveyor pulley bearings. Returning to the lube room, the
tech takes the grease gun with our multi-purpose EP 2 grease
and heads back out to the conveyor to grease the bearings,
How to Double Your
Lube Team Without
Adding Headcount
passing by the gearbox and motor to grease the
head pulley bearings.
Finally, our lube tech is ready to take oil
samples. Once again, returning to the lube room
to obtain the appropriate sampling parapher-
nalia, the tech heads out to the head of the
conveyor to sample the gearbox along with other
wet sumps on his sampling routes a task that
needs to be executed every three months.
Exhausted from a busy day, our lube tech is ready
for a much-deserved night of rest ... before it all
starts again in the morning!
Dynamic Planning
Increases Wrench Time
Now, lets consider the inefficiencies that this
type of lube task planning and scheduling creates.
Of the eight-hour workday, how many hours is our
tech actually doing value-added work, as opposed
to collecting supplies, paperwork or traveling
to/from the job sites?
In the maintenance and reliability field, the time
spent doing work as opposed to every other aspect of
planning, kitting and traveling to the job is called
wrench time. For many organizations, wrench time
barely exceeds 25 to 30 percent, meaning that out of
an eight-hour day, only two to 2.5 hours of useful
work is actually getting done. Conversely, world-class
companies have wrench times in the range of 50 to
60 percent. Compared to 25 percent wrench time, a
wrench time of 50 percent equates to effectively
having twice as many people to do the work required.
(This is a concept sometimes referred to as the
hidden staff.) For most plants, loss of wrench time
comes from paperwork, obtaining supplies and
travel time to/from the job site.
Now, lets think about the execution of the lube
tasks prescribed for our belt conveyor. The actual
time to grease the motor or pillow block bearings,
take an oil sample or check the oil level is minis-
cule compared to the time to obtain the PM
worksheets, gather the required tools and walk to
the lubrication point in question. For all but the
smallest plant, this is always true the bulk of the
time is not spent executing value-added lubrica-
tion tasks but in preparing to execute the tasks.
OK, how can we be more efficient in the way
we plan, schedule and execute work? The answer is
actually very simple: Forget about task frequency!
Thats not to say that we shouldnt adhere to the
optimum periodicity for lubrication PMs, but
rather we should not consider the frequency in
compiling the block of work to be done in any
given work day or week.
This approach, called dynamic route plan-
ning, allows for any task that is geographically
related or requires the same or similar tool set to
be executed on the same assignment sheet. While
this takes some time to establish, deploying
dynamic route management really creates far more
efficiency in kitting and traveling to the job site.
Using this approach for our belt conveyor, we
f ind that, one week, the assignment sheet may
simply state: Check oil level in to the full running
mark. If level is too low, top off using oil XYZ, as
necessary. But every fourth week, an additional
task appears: Regrease the pillow block bearings.
The key here is that the weekly and monthly tasks
appear on the same assignment sheet, in the
correct sequence, so the two tasks can be executed
at the same time. This is far more efficient than
walking back to the lube room between tasks.
Once a quarter, our oils sampling tasks also
appear, while ever y six months, a fourth task
(grease the electric motor bearings) is included in
our dynamic assignment sheet, so this can be
done at the same time as checking the oil level,
greasing the pillow block bearings and taking the
oil sample.
Time Well Spent
Using this simple example, it should be
apparent that dynamic route planning offers a
very significant advantage over our conventional
approach of frequency-based lube routes. Instead
of walking to and from the lube room, locating
and gathering different tools, and handling paper-
work before executing the work, dynamic route
planning allows those tasks that logically f it
together to be done at the same time, no matter
what their prescribed frequency.
So, next time you look at how you execute
routine time-based PM work, think about where
most of the time is spent: Is it in actually doing
valued-added work, or are you spending most of
your days preparing to do work?
As always, this is my opinion, Im interested to
hear yours.
About the Author
As a skilled educator and consultant in the areas of oil
analysis and machinery lubrication, Mark Barnes has
helped numerous clients develop effective machinery lubri-
cation programs and troubleshoot complex lubrication
problems through precision lubrication and oil analysis. As
chief technical officer of Noria Corporation, Mark and his
team work on projects in the areas of: plant audits and gap
analysis, machinery lubrication and oil analysis program
design, lube PM rationalization and redesign, lubricant
storage and handling, contamination control system
design and lubrication, and mechanical failure investiga-
tions. Contact Mark at
Machinery Lubrication
Mike Ramsey -
Brett OKelley -
Paul V. Arnold -
Jim Fitch -
Mark Barnes -
Jeremy Wright -
Stephen Sumerlin -
Ryan Kiker -
Kam Stinnett -
Brett OKelley -
Phone: 800-597-5460, ext. 112
Rhonda Johnson -
You may address articles, case studies,
special requests and other correspondence to:
Paul V. Arnold - Editor-in-chief
Noria Corporation
P.O. Box 87 Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
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8 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
hen one thinks of proactive maintenance for mechanical
systems, the big four tasks come to mind align it, balance
it, fasten it down and lubricate it. We often think of these as inde-
pendent contributors to reliability or unreliability, depending upon
the precision with which theyre managed and controlled. In truth,
theyre highly interactive. Lets explore the relationship between
shaft alignment and lubrication. One of our more basic concepts in
lubrication is Stribecks curve and equation. Stribecks equation
states that the dynamic film thickness provided by the lubricant
increases as viscosity and speed increase, and decreases if there is
an increase in load. Design engineers utilize their understanding of
this relationship to design equipment, and specify the required
lubricant viscosity at operating temperature and identify when fric-
tion modif iers, such as anti-wear or anti-scuff additives, are
required. Its all pretty important stuff.
So, what does this have to with the relationship between compo-
nent life and load? In the case of a rolling element bearing, the life
of the bearing is related to load according to the following general
equation, where LR refers to the rated load and LA refers to the
actual load. Figure 1 (at right) graphically illustrates this relation-
ship in visual terms.
A Tenuous Relationship
In his book Machinery Vibration: Alignment, noted author
and expert on precision alignment Victor Wowk illustrates the rela-
tionship between misalignment and loss of machine life. This
relationship is illustrated graphically in Figure 2. Of course, some
equipment is more or less tolerant to misalignment depending on
bearing type and coupling type. Likewise, the effects of misalign-
ment are magnified as a function of speed.
For journal bearing applications, researchers found that 0.8
degree of axial misalignment doubled the effective load and
reduced the hydrodynamic lubricating f ilm thickness by 75
percent! This, of course, increases the risk of a bearing wipe and
scoring, in the event that abrasive particles are imbedded into the
surface of the soft bearing material and are protruding above the
bearings surface.
Whether its rolling element bearings, journal bearings, gear
teeth or other mechanical equipment, misalignment reduces the
effective clearance in our machines. In many instances, this
completely eliminates the lubricating oil f ilm, resulting in surface-
to-surface contact and wear. In some instances, it causes
two-body abrasion, where the asperities on one or both of the
machines contacting surfaces abrade one another. This is partic-
ularly true when one of the surfaces is a harder material and the
other surface is softer (e.g. a worm gear). If the contacting
Bearing Life =
) ( ) (
Shaft Alignment
has a Bearing on
Lubrication Excellence
Figure 1. The Relationship Between
Bearing Load and Bearing Life
Figure 2. Failure to Achieve Precision Alignment
Significantly Reduces Equipment Life
100% 120% 140% 160% 180% 200%









1 2 3 4 5
Mils/Inch Misalignment


10 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
surfaces are both steel and the loads are suff icient, the loss of a
lubricating f ilm due to misalignment produces adhesive wear.
Such wear occurs when two tough asperities contact under a
great deal of load. If neither asperity will yield, the metal literally
welds together to form a cold juncture, or adhesion. The subse-
quent separation of the surfaces causes a ripping effect (Figure
3). Adhesion can ver y quickly and substantially deform a
machines surface. Extreme-pressure or anti-scuff additives
protect the machine against adhesive wear, but if the contacting
force caused by misalignment is too great, the additive simply
isnt enough to protect the machine.
Fatigue and Abrasion
Even if the film isnt completely lost due to misalignment, its
thickness is reduced, bringing two other wear mechanisms into play
contact fatigue and three-body abrasion. Contact fatigue occurs
in the rolling contacts of gear teeth at the pitch line, rolling element
bearings, cam-follower contacts, etc. Rolling contact lubrication is
characterized by extremely high concentration on load because the
force is being transformed across such a small area.
A common cause of failure in rolling contacts occurs when clear-
ance-sized particles get into the lubrication f ilm and serve to
localize the load transfer say at the pitch line of a gear tooth where
the load is conveyed from one gear to the next. The resulting load
often exceeds the fatigue limit of the metal, which results in denting
and contact-fatigue-induced pitting. Likewise, if misalignment
reduces the thickness of the lubricating oil film in sliding contacts,
the risk of particle and non-particle-induced abrasion likewise
increases. Particle-induced abrasive wear, which is sometimes
called three-body abrasion, is arguably the most common wear
mechanism that leads to machine failure.
No Small Problem
Nature provides us with more small particles than large parti-
cles. For example, in a typical lubricant or hydraulic f luid sample,
there are approximately 3.5 times as many particles greater than
6 microns in size as there are particles greater than 10 microns.
Likewise, there are about 3.5 times as many particles greater
than 4 microns as there are particles greater than 6 microns. So,
if misalignment decreases the f ilm thickness from 10 microns to
4 microns in thickness, you can expect to increase the number
of contact fatigue and three-body abrasive contacts by a factor
of 12. Making matters worse, for a given material hardness,
particles get tougher the smaller they become. Toughness
relates to the friability, or crushability, of the particle. In the
battle of the lubricant f ilm, if the particle is tougher, either
because of material hardness or size, the machine will take the
brunt of the damage.
Opportunities are Knocking
When a lack of precision alignment further reduces the already
thin film of lubricant that separates your machine surfaces, there
are simply more opportunities to produce adhesive, abrasive and
contact fatigue wear. So be sure precision alignment is on your to-
do list for achieving lubrication excellence!
1) Wowk, Victor, Machinery Vibration: Alignment. McGraw Hill
Professional Engineering Series.
2) Vijayaraghavan, D., and Brewe, D.E., The Effect of Misalignment on
Performance of Planetary Gear Journal Bearings. NASA Research
About the Author
Drew Troyer is a seasoned and certif ied reliability engineer and MBA.
A noted author and thought leader with 20 years of in the trenches
experience, hes f igured out how to put you on the fast track and execute
a reliability strategy that produces results. Senior-level and non-technical
managers gain an understanding about how a framework of reliability
management can positively influence the business. Reliability engineers
and technical managers learn how to present their initiatives and accom-
plishments in economic terms that are familiar and important to senior
managers, the investment community and company shareholders. Troyer
is a co-founder of Noria and is now the president of Sigma Reliability
Solutions. Contact Drew at
Figure 3. The Adhesive Wear Process
Figure 4. Relationship Between Film Thickness and Relative
Particle Contacts for a Typical Distribution of Particles
Material Transfer or
Particle Formation
cle Fo
0 5 10 15 15 20
Film Thickness (m)



If the contacting force caused by misalignment
is too great, the additive simply isnt enough
to protect the machine.
12 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
Life on Mars
Lubrication Excellence is Possible in Even the Most Unforgiving Environments.
Just ask the Maintenance Pros at Alcoas Alumina Refinery in Point Comfort, Texas.
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 13
ed. Its the first thing that you notice. A reddish-brown, clay-toned hue colors the
landscape at Alcoas alumina refinery complex in Point Comfort, Texas.
The surreal tinting comes courtesy of bauxite, the raw material from which alumina is
extracted and refined. Dug out of the freighter ships docked in the adjacent harbor, the
material is conveyed through the plant grounds along transport belts and deposited in
hill-sized piles until it is ready to be dispatched to process areas.
Bauxite leaves its mark on our work environment, remarks Derrick Gillie Hall, the
engineering, maintenance and powerhouse manager at this site, which is located 125
miles southwest of Houston on the Gulf Coast. Its just the nature of the business.
Senior staff reliability engineer Brenda Graham takes it a step further.
We are processing dirt, she says, emphasizing that final word. We take bauxite,
which is from the ground, and crush it up. The final product, alumina, is a very fine
powder. Its hard and abrasive. So maintaining assets, just from a longevity standpoint, is
difficult and challenging.
Crushed bauxite. Alumina powder. Humidity. Add to that caustic steam from chemical
processes, accessory process precipitant and residual salts from the Gulf of Mexico.
Alumina plants, by the nature of the business, given all of the conditions of the
process, are very hard on equipment, says plant manager Allen Ness.
You would think that achieving reliability and lubrication excellence in an environment
such as this would be about as likely as safely putting a man on Mars.
Well, as referenced earlier, welcome to life on the red planet.
People in this business that do maintenance well are the ones that are successful in
producing alumina, says Ness. If you dont get maintenance right, it will come down
around you and you cant keep up.
You will continue in a reactive mode.
This Alcoa facility has worked hard to shift from reactive to proactive. Over the past
five years, it has pursued lubrication excellence as part of an overall predictive mainte-
nance strategy. In-depth projects related to lubricant storage and dispensing, oil sampling
and analysis, and training and certification have helped position it as a leader among the
corporations nine global alumina refineries.
Prior to 2005, when members of the maintenance organization saw red, it wasnt just
the bauxite; it also was the emergency lights flashing in their heads. Vibration analysis and
infrared thermography tools beneficial to predict and prevent failures were available

14 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
and utilized for years. However, the
inherent industry challenges matched with
a traditional maintenance strategy and
old-school lubrication practices created a
firefighting habit that was tough to break.
This plant has really come a long way
in my seven years here as far as reliability
is concerned, particularly with predictive
maintenance, says Hall. I can go back
to the days when we struggled to even do
vibration work because we couldnt
collect the data. We didnt have the
discipline to keep up with data collection
and analysis. We would pull the guys off
of routes to go fight fires. That was the
focus, not on PdM. I am happy to say
that we have come extremely far.
From a lubrication perspective, the
team has evolved from the days when:
Oil was primarily stored and
dispensed outside, where it was
exposed to the elements.
Undetected varnish and sludge in
bearing lubricants had a tendency to
cause failures in critical equipment
such as turbine generators.
Lubrication training wasnt formal,
and practices (good and bad) were
collected and dispersed through
tribal knowledge.
Lubrication wasnt seen as an impor-
tant or respectable position.
For that last point, Hall says that
maintenance workers who focused on
lubrication were given the somewhat-
denigratory moniker of oiler or
greaser. Not surprisingly, this wasnt a
highly sought-after position within the
When a lube guy retired, it was,
Who wants to do lubrication? Nobody
would raise a hand, says PdM techni-
cian Fred Balboa, a 33-year veteran at
the plant. The lowest guy on the totem
pole was given a bucket and told to go
after it. We did that for years.
We Have Liftoff
Groundbreaking change began to occur
after site maintenance leaders explored
work taking place on foreign soil.
Alcoa: Defined and Refined
Company: Alcoa is the worlds leading producer of
primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and
alumina. It employs approximately 59,000 people in
31 countries. The company had 2009 sales exceeding
$18.7 billion, placing it 127th on the 2010 Fortune
500 list. It also holds a spot on Fortunes Worlds
Most Admired Companies list.
Plant: Alcoa Point Comfort Operations, located in
Point Comfort, Texas (125 miles southwest of
Houston on the Gulf Coast). The site opened in
1948, and today features six production units. It
currently runs 24/7/365 with two main shifts 7
a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
Size: Approximately 3,000 acres.
Plant employment: The Point Comfort site employs
around 550 workers, including nearly 180 in plant
maintenance roles. The maintenance staff includes
approximately 100 crafts personnel/millwrights, 50
electrical workers and 30 in supervisory roles. Hourly
workers are represented by United Steelworkers
union Local 4370.
Products: Since 1959, the site has produced alumina,
the compound from which aluminum is made, and
ships it to Alcoas global network of smelters. The
plant has the capacity to produce 6,300 tons of
alumina per day.
The cleanliness, organization
and impressive nature of the
lubrication storage building at
the Alcoa site in Point Comfort
have caused at least one
visitor to refer to it as
The Lube Temple.
You will find a dedicated pump and dispensing
system for each lubricant in the storage building.
Theres a place for everything and everything is
in its place, including filter carts.
16 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
In April 2005, Chris Tindell led a group of five reliability and
engineering leaders who attended Noria Corporations Lubrication
Excellence/Reliability World conference in San Antonio.
Listening to the technical papers and the case studies (from
companies such as DuPont, Eastman Chemical, Rio Tinto and
Clopay), it was really a culture shock. We started to see what was
truly possible, says Tindell, a reliability technician. We came back
and said, we really need to do some of these things.
And in the spring of 2006, Hall took benchmarking tours of
Cargill plants.
Gillie is very passionate about reliability, predictive mainte-
nance, proactive maintenance issues, says Graham. I think that
Cargill trip stoked his f ire. Seeing Cargills reliability culture got
him going.
The Point Comfort site began implementing Reliability
Excellence (Rx), an improvement game plan created in 2003 by Life
Cycle Engineering and the Ron Moore Group, and being utilized by
Cargill and several Alcoa facilities.
Audits, done internally and in conjunction with Life Cycle
Engineering and Noria, created the baseline from which program
growth would be measured. Through such audits, it was deter-
mined that:
Point Comfort needed to fully commit personnel resources to
its predictive maintenance efforts; and,
Lubrication excellence needed to be a cornerstone of PdM and Rx.
For the first point, the site earmarked a crew of PdM specialists
and classified them as a subset of the overall maintenance work-
force. No longer would PdM be just a portion of their job, which in
the past allowed them to be diverted toward any number of tasks.
Before, we were lucky if we were able to run routes once a
month, sometimes every six months, says vibration techni-
cian/millwright Eliseo Guevara. Predictive maintenance is our
Lubrication Excellence?
Its All in the Alcoa Family
Alcoa has nine alumina refineries around the world, and all are
competing for corporate attention, resources and funding. So when a
ref inery like Point Comfort, Texas, has something good going, it
should probably hold on tight to the template, right? Not so, says
plant leaders.
We share information with all of the Alcoa locations, says relia-
bility technician Chris Tindell. Even though we consider ourselves
somewhat of a competitor with the other refineries, they are all part
of the Alcoa family. We share best practices with the family.
Even those best practices for lubrication excellence?
We are leading the lubrication efforts, so we are sharing what we
are doing here, says plant manager Allen Ness.
Information is supplied through various means, including case
studies, conference calls and benchmarking tours.
Oil samples await testing on a cart outside of
the oil analysis office. The office is located
inside the lubrication storage building.
Predictive maintenance technician Fred Balboa
examines some debris with a microscope in the
oil analysis office.
Engineering, maintenance and powerhouse manager
Derrick Hall goes over reports with senior staff
reliability engineer Brenda Graham.
focus now 100 percent of the time. That makes a difference. It
makes you feel like the company is more committed to this.
Adds Graham: Any time there is a fire, they are going to grab
whoever they can, but we want to make sure that we have people
focused on their task.
Today, 10 PdM technicians are devoted to lubrication, three
each are devoted to vibration analysis and to motor current
analysis, and two each are devoted to infrared thermography and
to ultrasonic thickness testing.
One advantage of this is just the attention to detail, says elec-
trical engineer Ike Anyikam. When you have this type of focus for
people, not much gets past them.
Such focus was particularly important for lubrication. The audit
process showed that only 60 percent of plant equipment was using
the correct lubricant. Plenty of honest mistakes were being made.
We opened up a reservoir and there was this shiny, yellow sheen
to the top of the oil, says Tindell. The auditor said, Hey, is there
an extreme-pressure additive in here? You have a brass worm gear
in here. Sure enough, the EP was actually attacking the worm gear.
We thought, Its a gearbox. Lets put an EP in here. But, its not
always the right call.
Correct, effective lubrication was central in Halls overarching
maintenance vision of we do the things that matter the most. It
became clear to all: Lubrication matters.
I am very passionate about lubrication. I have said in many
forums that lubrication is the foundation of any maintenance
program, he says. If you dont get that right, then forget about
doing vibration, forget about doing motor condition monitoring,
forget about doing infrared, forget about doing all of those nice
and fancy things. You have to get lubrication right. Thats how the
wheels turn. If you stop lubricating something, it will just grind to a
halt. This subject is in my heart and soul.
Spacious Station
The heart and soul of the Point Comfort sites lubrication effort
is its lube storage, dispensing and analysis building. This 2,400-
Members of the lubrication team at the Alcoa alumina refinery in Point Comfort include (from left to right): Joseph Justis,
George Orzabel, Chris Tindell, Pat Garrett, Charlie Holtz, Fred Balboa, Kenneth Elee, Justin Burke and Brian Baros.
How This Alcoa Refinery
Measures Lubrication Success
How do you measure the success of a program such as lubrication
excellence? Alcoas alumina refinery in Point Comfort, Texas, does that
through three specific financial measures.
Says senior staff reliability engineer Brenda Graham: One is the cost
of bearings, because that is something that lubrication def initely
affects. Another is the cost of lubricants; we wanted to get rid of some
of the expensive lubricants, plus we arent dumping oil like we used to.
The other is the cost of rotating equipment.
I think last year, we saved more than $800,000 overall, and this
year, through August, we have saved more than $500,000. We have to
justify the program, so, yeah, these savings are important.
Engineering technician Chris Tindell offers additional perspective.
Many of our projects have financial targets, and then we measure to
those targets, he says. There are certain metrics that we put into place
once we agree that this is a program that we want to pursue. Then, what
are the financial implications? And, how are we going to measure that?
Once we agree on the parameters, we are measured against that. Brenda,
being the SPA (single point accountable) for lubrication, is very much
aware of that. There are targets that need to be met.
18 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
20 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
square-foot (40 feet by 60 feet), cinder-block
structure was designed in 2007, developed
throughout 2008 and debuted in January 2009. Its
ultra-clean, highly organized state accentuates
f luid conditioning, climate protection and
contamination control. It has led some to remark
that its part NASA, part Taj Mahal.
One of our visitors dubbed it The Lube
Temple, says Balboa, who oversees this building
and its processes.
It makes quite an impression.
We had plant managers from other Alcoa sites in
Point Comfort for a week, says Graham. We told
them we were going to see our lubrication area. It
was toward the end of the last day they were here. It
was just another stop. They were tired and talking
about where they were going to eat that night. They
came in here and their jaws dropped. They didnt
think a lube room could look like this.
Its so clean inside this building because its not
that way outside of it.
Oil barrels are no longer stored outside in satel-
lite locations around the complex nor are they
placed in an antiquated storage shed.
In the old building, there was dirt everywhere,
says Graham. The oil wasnt necessarily first-in,
first-out. You grabbed the first thing you found.
Somebody from stores would come in and pick it
up. It wasnt anyone associated with lubrication.
When we removed some of this stuff, some drums
were a few years old.
Today, oil barrels are received in the new lube
buildings specially protected dock. For each
barrel, Balboa samples and personally analyzes
the oil to ensure it is of the right quality and spec-
ification. The fluid is then transferred to a spare
barrel and a filter cart is attached for 16 hours.
The oil is resampled afterward to vouch that it
meets the required specifications and ISO cleanli-
ness code. Subsequently, the oil goes into a
first-in, first-out inventory of barrels or is trans-
ferred to a storage and dispensing tote.
Each of the 12 totes in the rooms tower system
has a dedicated pump and hose system to deter
The oil is all f iltered and ready to go, says
Tindell. Oil only leaves this area in a sealed and
reusable (S&R) container or in a barrel. We want
barrels coming out with filter carts. The carts are
color-coordinated to match the viscosities and
additive packages. If a barrel went out for a new
gearbox, it goes out with a filter cart. We filter it
into the gearbox or we send out an empty barrel
with a filter cart, remove the oil from the gearbox
and filter it back in while we are doing work. That
is our standard.
S&R containers (also color-coded) are
equipped with quick-connects that plug directly
into the equipment for clean transferral of fluid. In
between topoffs, they are stored in a cabinet
(along with grease guns, grease tubes and cleaning
supplies) located inside a building close to the
point of use.
With these practices, the oil is never exposed
to the atmosphere, says Balboa.
Inside the lube room, cleanliness practices are
not confined to Balboa. Anyone entering the area
must don booties over his or her work shoes to
avoid tracking in dirt. And, if you check out a filter
cart, you better return it in showroom condition.
Sometimes a lube tech will try to sneak it back in
without cleaning it, says Balboa. The next time, Ill
watch him and make sure its returned the right way.
It has to be wiped down ... wheels and all.
Returned S&R containers go through a special
washing machine that removes dirt on the exterior
and residual carbons on the interior.
Taking Samples
As touched on in the previous section, the other
main deliverable of the lubrication area is oil
analysis. Lube technicians regularly draw oil
samples from pumps, gearboxes and other key
pieces of equipment. Identification data is written
in marker on the cap of each sterile glass sample
bottle. Filled bottles are delivered to a cart outside
the lube rooms smallish analysis off ice, where
Balboa and Graham perform a battery of tests.
Samples requiring specialized attention are
shipped to an outside lab. Balboa forwards the
lab results to maintenance leaders and the techs.
Analysis helps to identify trends (increased
levels of dirt, metals, water, etc.) and anomalies
before they can generate mechanical stress, degra-
dation and failure.
When we see a bit of metal, we think, What
could be happening here? says Graham. We are
spending some focus time troubleshooting those
pieces of equipment because they are so critical and
expensive. Oil analysis puts us ahead of the game.
The maintenance group also stays ahead by
sampling and analyzing oil during the commis-
sioning of equipment.
We are getting in the practice of taking base-
line samples, says Tindell. We went to
commission a boiler feed pump, pulled an oil
sample before starting it up and picked up ferrous
metal. This is a brand-new, multi-stage, $100,000
pump. We found iron and copper. We sent that off
to our external lab, and it confirmed our findings.
We opened the pump up and found that the
slinger ring had fallen out of its groove during
transit. It was cocked and rubbing on the internal
housing. We wouldnt have found that if we
hadnt taken the sample.
From Red to Well-Read
Lubrication, like pumps, may not appear to be
complex, but there are a lot of moving parts under
the surface.
You would think that it is so simple we used
to but there is so much involved, says Hall. A
little thing like lubrication could make the differ-
ence between torturing your equipment or not.
While not rocket science, lubrication and oil
analysis are highly involved, technical and
dynamic subjects. Success comes not with a low
man on the totem pole approach, but instead
when folks with the right stuff are given the right
opportunities. Thats why maintenance leadership
at Alcoas Point Comfort facility is a firm believer
in training and professional certification.
Knowledge is king. Knowledge is power, says
Hall. As a manager, I believe in training ... a lot. I
dont believe in asking someone to do something
that they are not fully trained to do.
The site takes full advantage of free educational
sessions from its oil supplier, free Webinars from a
host of industry resources, and hundreds of thou-
sands of dollars worth of technical training and
classes through its involvement with a local indus-
trial consortium.
The consortium gets money from the State of
Texas; its like $2.9 million, says Tindell. We can
get special classes together, and then the industry
and its partners determine who wants to send
how many people to each one. Some of the Noria
lubrication classes that we are bringing on site are
part of this. We dont even have to drive anywhere.
The state paid for it. You just have to fill out the
paperwork and involve the training department to
help organize all of that. It has been fantastic.
Plant workers come away with skills and much
I was at an infrared thermography class last
week, says Anyikam. After receiving this training,
I have a new sense of pride and understanding and
knowledge of this equipment. When you have
ownership and pride in what you are doing, its
not just coming to work and getting a paycheck. It
goes deeper than that.
Maybe thats why Pat Garrett, a lube tech in
the calcination department, proudly states, I
told the company to sign me up for everything.
Mastery of subject matter can lead to certifica-
tion. Most everyone involved with vibration
analysis and infrared thermography on the predic-
tive maintenance team holds a professional
designation. Through August, f ive employees
(Graham, Tindell, Carmel Camacho, Hector
Venecia and Wayne Pilliner) held at least one certi-
f ication through the International Council for
Machinery Lubrication (for program details, visit
Those numbers, especially for ICML certifica-
tion, will undoubtedly increase this fall and into
2011. Noria will supply extensive lubrication
training to lube techs and maintenance coordina-
tors. Attendees will take ICMLs Machine
Lubrication Technician Level I exam at the
completion of the course. This is all part of
Grahams goal to eventually get all of the techs
certified as a MLT Level I.
Im prepping them for that test, she says. Its a
difficult course. Its a difficult exam. I dont want to
scare anybody, but I want them to be prepared. I give
them questions whenever I can to educate them in
advance. That way, they are aware of the level of
expertise that they need to attain.
Whether the students pass the exam or not, the
process is worthwhile.
You may not pass a certification exam. These
tests are tough. But you always learn from it, says
Tindell, who along with Pilliner also is a Certified
Maintenance & Reliability Professional through
the Society for Maintenance & Reliability
Professionals ( Ideally, we all
would like to pass, but that doesnt always
happen. No matter what class you go to, you still
will gain information. You will come away with
something that you can apply.
Whats Your Destination?
Lubrication excellence is possible in even the
most unforgiving of environments. Alcoas
alumina refinery is southern Texas proves that out.
Getting there isnt exactly easy. (Some will tell
you a trip to Mars is a better proposition.) There
will be challenges. There will be mountains to
climb. Whether they are made of bauxite or not,
the prize lies on the other side in better-
performing equipment, higher yields, less stress
and increased profits.
Lubrication its a matter of discipline, says
plant manager Ness. How well you do the funda-
mentals is how well you perform. We are getting
better and better at the fundamentals, and that is
important as we go forward.
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 21
22 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
Electric Lubrication Pump
Graco introduced its newest lubrication pump, the G3 Electric
Pump. With its f lexible design,
including adjustable pump elements
and an ability to work with both
injector-based and series progressive
systems, G3 is a rugged, cost-effective
pump made to serve multiple markets
and applications. The pump features
three control choices, which means
added flexibility for easy lube system
setup, operation and trou-
bleshooting. The G3 extends
machinery life, reduces operating
costs and increases productivity.
Graco Inc.
Oil Conditioning Unit
The SKF Oil Conditioning Unit optimizes lubrication perform-
ance by serving as a low-pressure pump f iltration unit that
circulates the oil in a system. The unit removes contaminants
from the oil supply and can enable the desired temperature range
to be maintained consistently. The product connects directly to
sumps, bearing housings, gear-
boxes, compressors and
other machines. It ideally
suits applications in indus-
tries ranging from pulp
and paper to mining and
mineral processing.
Temperature-indicating Labels
Bradys temperature-indicating labels provide a permanent record of
temperature levels for a piece of equipment. The labels are placed
directly onto the equipment; when the equipment
reaches a certain temperature, the white area of the
label turns irreversibly black. This color change
provides clear evidence of the highest temperature
attained for that piece of equipment. These tempera-
ture-indicating labels are commonly used on pieces of
equipment that move or rotate.
Brady Corporation
Hydraulic Pressure Sensor
The AST4000 pressure sensor features special configurations for the hydraulic
industry. Through the usage of a three-digit option code, the AST4000 series
can be modified to withstand a variety of mechanical, electrical
and environmental challenges in hydraulic pressure meas-
urement applications. The AST4000 uses ASTs
Krystal Bond Technology, where the pressure
port is constructed from a single piece of
stainless steel. This one-piece
design is ideal for hydraulic
pressure applications.
American Sensor
Technologies Inc.
Synthetic Gear Oil
Gearbox reliability is critical for wind turbine reliability, and Shell Omala HD
320 synthetic gear oil provides
excellent protection against
common failure modes, including
micropitting and bearing wear.
Offering excellent low-temperature
fluidity and long oil life, Shell Omala
HD 320 provides benefits for these
diff icult-to-maintain gearboxes.
Shell offers additional wind turbine
products, including Shell Tellus Arctic
32 hydraulic fluid for extreme climates
and Shell Rhodina BBZ blade bearing
Shell Lubricants
600-gram Desiccant Breather
Baltimore Innovations launched a low-cost range of desiccant breathers,
beginning with a standard 600-gram unit. This initial offering will be
joined by other breather sizes over the next 18 months.
These breathers are used to protect
against moisture contamination
of fuel and oil in storage tanks.
Baltimore breather products
are 100 percent clear-sided
for easy reading. The silica
gel changes from orange to
green when the breather
needs replacing.
Baltimore Innovations Ltd.
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 23
Open Cup Flash Point Tester
The Petrotest CLA 5 Cleveland open cup flash point
and fire point analyzer automatically tests both liquid
and highly viscous liquid and solid samples according
to the ASTM D92 and ISO 2592 standards. The
benchtop instrument comes ready for testing,
with automatic test routines, user-definable
programs and self-testing/servicing routines,
as well as a rapid search program when fast results
are required. It features the latest electronics,
including a 5.7-inch color graphics display and Pmove
jog wheel control.
AMETEK-Petrolab Company
Drum Lifter and Rotator
An advanced automated control package that can achieve supe-
rior productivity and safety is available for Morse Tilt-To-Load Drum
Rotators. A new video demonstrates this automated drum lifting,
rotating for operator-set time, and return of drum to an upright
position at floor level for easy handling. A safety interlock automat-
ically shuts down the rotator if the
gate is opened. Tumble steel,
plastic or fiber drums from
29 to 37 inches (74 to
94 centimeters) high
and from 18 to 23.5
inches (46 to 60 cm)
in diameter.
Manufacturing Company
Ultrasound Inspection Tool
The Ultraprobe 15,000 Touch gives inspection pros the ability
to use iPhone-like Touch Screen technology to analyze conditions
with a wide range of on-board features, including: a spectral
analyzer; the ability to take equipment temperature with an
infrared thermometer; photograph test points with an on-board
camera; select from multiple datascreens including dB,
temperature and spec-
tral analysis; pinpoint
locations with a laser
pointer; store data,
sounds and images;
generate reports;
and much more.
UE Systems Inc.
ASTM-recognized Viscometers
Cambridge offers a full line of laboratory and process viscometers.
These viscometers feature the same oscillating piston technology that
allows for continuous viscosity readings, and
complies with ASTM D 7483-08 and correlates to
ASTM D 445. Employing electromagnetic coils to
move the piston, and temperature probes in
the measurement chamber, they are accurate
to plus-or-minus 1.0 percent and repeatable
to 0.8 percent to help prevent correlation
errors between the lab and production.
Cambridge Viscosity Inc.
Emergency Spill Kits
Use Oil Eater emergency spill kits to contain and clean up hazardous spills
as required by OSHA and the EPA. The kits include a five-gallon pail of Oil
Eater cleaner/degreaser for cleaning surfaces after absorption of a spill. They
are available in both 65-gallon and 95-gallon
overpacks, which can handle the corre-
sponding volume of liquid. Each kit
contains a supply of absorbent pads,
pillows, universal snakes, booms,
protective gloves, oil-resistant disposal
bags and an emergency response guide.
Kafko International Ltd.
Low Ash Gas Engine Oil
Chevron HDAX 7200 Low Ash Gas Engine Oil SAE 40 is designed for large
stationary gas engines in gas compression, processing or co-generation appli-
cations that operate in extreme environments. HDAX 7200 Low Ash is
particularly suited for lean-burn and stoichiometric four-stroke engines oper-
ating under high-load, high-temperature conditions as well as selected
two-stroke gas engines requiring good low-temperature startability. This oil is
formulated with Group II basestocks and uses a premium additive package.
Chevron Products Company
24 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
iven that the primary objective of filtration is to extend machine
life by removing contaminants from the oil, it is a paradox for the
filters in a hydraulic system to be located where they reduce the service
life of the components they were installed to protect.
So when considering the possible locations for f ilters in a
hydraulic system, the overarching principle must be: first, do no
harm. In other words, the cure must not be worse than the disease.
With this in mind, let us consider the pros and cons of the
various hydraulic filter locations:
Pressure filtration: Locating filtering media in the pressure line
provides maximum protection for components located immediately
downstream. Filtration rates of 2 microns or less are possible, due
to the pressure available to force fluid through the media. But filter
efficiency can be reduced by the presence of high flow velocities
and pressure and flow transients, which can disturb trapped parti-
cles. The major disadvantage of pressure f iltration is economic.
Because the housings and elements (high-collapse type) must be
designed to withstand peak system pressure, pressure filtration has
the highest initial and ongoing cost.
Return filtration: The rationale for locating filtering media in the
return line is this if the reservoir and the fluid it contains start out
clean, and all air entering the reservoir and returning f luid is
adequately filtered, then fluid cleanliness will be maintained. The
other advantage of the return line as a filter location is that suffi-
cient pressure is available to force f luid through f ine media
(typically 10 microns), but pressure is not high enough to compli-
cate f ilter or housing design. This, combined with relatively low
flow velocity, means that a high degree of filtering efficiency can be
achieved at an economical cost. For these reasons, return filtration
is a feature of most hydraulic systems. The main disadvantage of
return line f iltration is that the back pressure created by the
element can adversely affect the operation of and/or damage some
Off-line filtration: Off-line filtration enables continuous, multi-
pass f iltration at a controlled f low velocity and pressure drop,
which results in high f iltering eff iciency. Filtration rates of 2
microns or less are possible, and polymeric (water-absorbent)
filters and heat exchangers can be included in the circuit for total
fluid conditioning. The main disadvantage of off-line filtration is its
high initial cost, although this usually can be justified on a life-of-
machine cost basis.
Suction filtration: From a filtration perspective, the pump intake
is an ideal location for filtering media. Filter efficiency is increased
by the absence of both high f luid velocity, which can disturb
trapped particles, and high pressure drop across the element,
which can force migration of particles through the media. These
advantages are outweighed by the restriction the element creates in
the intake line and the negative effect this can have on pump life.
Battling Vacuum-induced Forces
A restriction at the pump inlet can cause cavitation erosion and
mechanical damage. And while cavitation erosion contaminates the
hydraulic fluid and damages critical surfaces, the effect of vacuum-
induced forces has a more detrimental impact on pump life.
The creation of a vacuum in the pumping chambers of an axial
pump puts the piston ball and slipper-pad socket in tension. This
joint is not designed to withstand excessive tensile force; and as a
consequence, the slipper becomes detached from the piston
(Figure 1). This can occur either instantaneously, if the vacuum-
induced tensile force is significant enough, or over many hours of
service as the ball joint is repetitively put in tension during inlet.
The piston retaining plate, the primary function of which is to keep
the piston slippers in contact with the swash plate, must resist the
forces that act to separate the piston from its slipper. This vacuum-
induced load accelerates wear between the slipper and retaining plate
and can cause the retaining plate to buckle. This allows the slipper to
lose contact with the swash plate during inlet, and it is then
hammered back onto the swash plate when pressurized fluid acts on
the end of the piston during outlet. The impact damages the piston
slippers and swash plate, leading rapidly to catastrophic failure.
In bent axis pump designs, the piston is better able to withstand
vacuum-induced tensile forces. Piston construction is generally
more rugged, and the piston ball usually is held in its shaft socket
by a bolted retaining plate. However, tensile failure of the piston
stem and/or buckling of the retaining plate still can occur under
high vacuum conditions.
The Pros and Cons of Various
Hydraulic Filter Locations
Figure 1. The Effect of Tensile Forces Acting on Axial Piston Design
Vacuum Case pressure
puts the piston-ball and slipper-pad socket in tension
In vane pump designs, the vanes must extend from their
retracted position in the rotor during inlet. As this happens, fluid
from the pump inlet f ills the void in the rotor created by the
extending vane. If excessive vacuum exists at the pump inlet, it will
act at the base of the vane. This causes the vanes to lose contact
with the cam ring during inlet; they are then hammered back onto
the cam ring as pressurized fluid acts on the base of the vane during
outlet. The impact damages the vane tips and cam ring, leading
rapidly to catastrophic failure.
Gear pumps are mechanically the least susceptible to vacuum-
induced forces. Despite this fact, research has shown that a
restricted intake can reduce the service life of an external gear pump
by at least 50 percent
The Facts on Suction Strainers
Pump inlet or suction f ilters usually take the form of a 150-
micron (100-mesh) strainer, which is screwed onto the pump intake
penetration inside the reservoir. In the 10 years Ive actively
campaigned against their use (for reasons outlined earlier in this
column), Im sure Ive heard all of the counter-arguments. Most
arguments for the use of suction strainers are premised on bad
design, bad maintenance or a combination of both.
The argument that suction strainers are needed to protect the
pump from debris which enters the reservoir as a result of poor
maintenance practices is a popular one. Nuts, bolts, tools and
similar debris pose minimal threat to the pump in a properly
designed reservoir, where the pump intake is located a minimum of
4 inches off the bottom. Of course, the proper solution is to
prevent contaminants from entering the reservoir in the first place.
A similar argument asserts that suction strainers are needed to
prevent cross-contamination where two or more pumps share a
common inlet manifold. Here again, if suction strainers are necessary
in this situation, then it is only due to bad design; the manifold must
be below the pumps intakes. If properly designed, there should be a
head of oil above the inlet manifold, and the inlet manifold should be
above the pumps intakes. For cross-contamination to occur in this
arrangement, debris would have to travel uphill against gravity and
a positive head of oil. That would be highly unlikely.
But even in situations where a suction strainer is mandated, for
whatever reason, the problem is: The cure can be worse than the
1. Ingvast, H., Diagnosing Tyrone Gear Pump Failures, The Third
Scandinavian International Conference on Fluid Power, Vol. 2, 1993,
pages 535-546.
About the Author
Brendan Casey has more than 20 years experience in the maintenance,
repair and overhaul of mobile and industrial hydraulic equipment.
For more information on reducing the operating cost and increasing
the uptime of your hydraulic equipment, visit his Web site,
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 25
26 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
sing the correct breathers for proper head-
space management is a decision that is
sometimes taken lightly in industrial facilities.
There are many instances when makeshift
breathers are used to provide air f iltration for very
expensive and critical equipment, or no breather is
employed at all. This mind-set that a breather is a
breather will inevitably lead to costly failures and
downtime in the future.
To create and manage a world-class lubrication
program, you must consider all factors that influ-
ence the performance and life of a lubricant. Using
the correct breather to exclude contaminants is one
of these influencing factors. The breathing of equip-
ment is vital to its performance. It allows for the
contraction and expansion of the headspace to
prohibit the f luids inside from pressurizing the
system, which could lead to leaky seals, inadequate
level readings and other negative side effects.
Proper headspace management keeps equipment
lubricant clean and maintained, which keeps that equipment running
smoothly. Three major factors influence the quality and cleanliness of
a lubricant: monitoring, removing and excluding. Monitoring uses
technologies such as oil analysis to monitor the ingression and gener-
ation rate of contaminants. Removing uses technologies such as
offline filtration (static or mobile) to remove digested or generated
contaminants. Excluding uses technologies such as contamination
control with proper breathers and hardware to help make the system
completely closed to external contaminants.
Of these factors, only one of them contributes to the other two,
excluding. If contaminants are not excluded properly, more moni-
toring and removal is required. Therefore, excluding should be the
first task to conquer.
Expansion Chambers,
Desiccants and Hybrids
There are three primary types of excluding devices on the
Expansion chambers allow for expansion and contraction of the
headspace without breathing or exhausting to the atmosphere.
Desiccant breathers use desiccating material to
draw moisture from the inhaled or exhaled air.
Hybrid breathers, a combination of an expansion
chamber and desiccant canister, can allow small
expansion and contraction of the headspace
without fully opening the desiccant media to the
Expansion chambers do an excellent job at
excluding, but they are not so great at conditioning
the already trapped air. Basically, expansion cham-
bers allow the headspace to expand and contract
without having to inhale or exhale atmospheric air.
This simple concept allows for exceptional contami-
nant exclusion, but does not do anything to
condition or remove moisture or airborne particu-
lates from the headspace. To alleviate this problem,
simply install a non-breathing/venting desiccant
canister alongside the expansion chamber or in a
separate auxiliary breather port. While the expan-
sion chamber compensates for headspace
contraction and expansion, using a separate non-breathing/venting
desiccant canister allows the headspace to be filtered of moisture
since desiccant material is hygroscopic.
Desiccant breathers are great for excluding particulate
contaminants and moisture. A desiccant breather works by
inhaling or exhaling air through a desiccating media, which
attracts and absorbs moisture, helping to keep the headspace dry.
Since these breathers are always open, their life expectancy can
be ver y short. This always-open principle allows air to move
through the media upon headspace expansion and contraction,
and is constantly absorbing moisture from the surrounding envi-
ronment, whether the machine is running or not. Depending on
how humid or wet the surrounding environment is, desiccant
breathers may last only a few days.
Hybrid breathers (Figure 1) are superior to plain desiccants in
their exclusion of particulates and moisture. They operate on the
same principle as having an expansion chamber plus a desiccant
canister installed, but hybrids get the same results in one compact
unit. Hybrids have a bladder inside which acts like an expansion
chamber and a separate desiccant media to f ilter out moisture
from inhaled or exhaled air. The difference here, when compared to
Proper Headspace
Management Starts with
the Right Breather Option
Figure 1. Example of a
Hybrid Breather
traditional desiccant breathers, is that hybrids
are normally closed to the atmosphere.
Therefore, their life expectancy is four to six times
that of a traditional desiccant breather.
Depending on the required volume of headspace
expansion and contraction, the bladder may or
may not need to open the system to the atmos-
phere. If the required volume is large, the system
opens to the atmosphere, inhaling or exhaling air
while at the same time filtering out moisture and
particulates. If the required volume is small, the
system remains closed and captures moisture
from the headspace.
Make Educated Decisions
Many times when plant professionals are
deciding on the type of breather to use, it often
depends on the up-front costs. With disposable
desiccant breathers, the up-front cost is much less
than a hybrid breather, but the life expectancy of a
hybrid breather can be four to six times that of a
traditional desiccant, which results in more value for
the investment over a given period of time.
When using a misguided or misinformed selec-
tion technique, the end result is usually a
makeshift breather or no breather at all, resulting
in possible equipment damage. This is where
proper education of breathers and their functions
are crucial to the success of headspace manage-
ment. Be sure to read and understand the types
of environments for which certain breathers are
designed and compare them with your environ-
ment to make a well-informed decision.
Choosing the right breather for your applica-
tion will provide returns, not just in breather life
but in equipment life. Remember, proper head-
space management starts with having the right
About the Author
Stephen Sumerlin is a technical consultant with
Noria Corporation, working on Lubrication Process
Design Phase II projects for clients. He is a mechanical
engineer and holds dual certif ications (Level II
Machine Lubrication Technician and Level II Machine
Lubricant Analyst) through the International Council
for Machinery Lubrication. Contact Stephen at
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 27
Would You Like to Contribute?
Are you a technical expert? If so, we want to
publish your lubrication article in Machinery
Lubrication. To submit a technical article, please
send it to editor-in-chief Paul V. Arnold via e-mail
28 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
ndustrial professionals from around the world attended RELIABLE
PLANT 2010, Norias annual conference and exhibition, held
August 30-September 2 at the Nashville (Tenn.) Convention Center.
Attendees represented companies in 44 states and 21 countries. This
years event included three co-located trade shows: Lubrication
Excellence, Reliability World and Lean Manufacturing.
RELIABLE PLANT 2010 marked the 11th year of Lubrication
Excellence, the sixth year of Reliability World and the fifth year of Lean
The event was sponsored by CITGO Lubricants, Des-Case
Corporation, Emerson Process Management, HYDAC, Hy-Pro
Filtration, Lubrication Engineers, Schroeder Industries, Shell, SKF and
Snap-on Industrial. It was endorsed by the International Council for
Machinery Lubrication (ICML) and the University of Tennessee
Reliability and Maintainability Center.
In candid interviews with attendees, we received very high marks
for this years conference, said Paul V. Arnold, the editor-in-chief of
Noria Publishing. Our guests were particularly pleased with the
quality of the educational curriculum as well as the idea sharing related
to plant solutions that occurred in the exhibition hall.
During the three main days of the conference, August 31-
September 2, more than 75 case studies, industry reports and
training sessions were presented. Mark Swenson, the vice president
for manufacturing engineering and vehicle production engineering
at Nissan North America, provided the keynote address on August
31. Track keynotes were presented by: Samuel Bethea, the director
of North American maintenance and reliability at Campbell Soup
Company; Aqua Porter, the vice president in charge of strategic
projects and Lean Six Sigma operations at Xerox Corporation; and
Robert Hafey, the author of the new book Lean Safety
Transforming your Safety Culture with Lean Management.
Lubrication Excellence
presentations were deliv-
ered by leaders from:
Noria, MillerCoors, Eli Lilly,
ArcelorMittal, Energizer,
Goodyear, Temple-Inland,
Alabama Power Company,
Covance, Shell, ICML,
Lubrication Engineers,
Polaris Laboratories, Schroeder Industries, Hy-Pro Filtration, Hendrix
Engineering, Ludeca, Pioneer Engineering, Pall Corporation, MRG
Labs, Des-Case, CITGO, Reliable Process Solutions, Fluitec
International, IDCON, Wooton-Consulting, Thermal-Lube, Air-Tight
Hubs, Spectro/QinetiQ North America and Lubrication Systems
Reliability World presentations were given by leaders from: Alcoa,
Anheuser-Busch InBev, Campbell Soup, Frito-Lay, ITT, Wells Dairy,
AEDC/ATA, SKF, Periscope Consulting, Infor, PdMA Corporation, SDT
North America, Emerson Process Management, Laurentide Controls,
UE Systems, Lubrication Engineers, UtilX, People and Processes, Sigma
Reliability Solutions,, Productivity Inc., Reliable
Process Solutions, Spectro/QinetiQ North America, John Crossan LLC
and Manufacturing Solutions International.
Lean track presentations were given by leaders from: Xerox,
Raytheon Missile Systems, Sonoco, Syngenta Crop Protection, APS,
Sigma Reliability Solutions, Sara Lee, Woodbridge Foam, RBH
Consulting, Life Cycle Engineering, Future State Solutions, Gemba
Consulting North America and the Lean Leadership Academy.
At the expansive exhibition hall, more than 80 suppliers featured
new products and industry solutions.
Workshops from Jim Fitch of Noria (How to Rate and Select Oil
Filtration) and Drew Troyer of Sigma Reliability Solutions (How to
Optimize Preventive Maintenance Plans) took place on August 30.
ICML held testing for its Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA), Machine
Lubrication Technician (MLT) and Laboratory Lubricant Analyst (LLA)
certifications on August 30 and September 1.
2011 Conference Coming Next Spring
Norias 2011 conference and exhibition will be held April 19-21
at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.
To learn more about this event as well as additional education and
training events, visit these Web sites:
Conference is Major Success
30 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Lubrication Systems Precise,

Reliable. Lube up to 12 points with the reusable

. Available in 3 sizes and 4 power

options, MEMOLUB

uses low-cost replaceable lube

cartridges with customer-specified grease or oil.
PLI, LLC 800-635-8170
VIBXPERT II Color Display Fast Vibration Analyzer.
Easy-to-use menu driven setups help resolve simple and
complex machinery issues. Fast data collection, cross-
channel, transient analysis, modal/ODS, balancing and
more. OMNITREND software for analysis, reporting
and trending.
LUDECA, INC. 305-591-8935
Best Practices for Lubricant Storage and Handling
video-based training provides procedures you can
implement right away for managing lubricants, from
delivery to dispensing to filling the machine. Preview at
Noria Corporation
The Easylube RFID Patrol Management
Automatic Lubrication System provides precision
bearing lubrication and condition monitoring in
one system. Easily calculate and manage greasing
quantities and intervals using our software.
Hornche Corporation
Des-Case Extreme Duty breathers have been
designed to take contamination control to a whole
new level, standing up to a wide variety of applica-
tions in challenging environments. They attack the
cause of contamination, keeping dirt and water
where it belongs out of your equipment.
Des-Case Corporation 615-672-8800
Keep your hands free and your lubricant spot-on
with perma automatic lubricators. Preloaded with
premium LE lubricants, they provide continuous,
precise application. The result: reliability, efficiency,
safety and savings.
Lubrication Engineers Inc. 800-537-7683
Three problems, one solution. C.C. JENSEN is
focused on supplying highly efficient and reliable
off line f ilters and f ilter carts. Guaranteed
performance. Contact us today for more informa-
tion or to purchase.
C.C. Jensen Inc. 800-221-1430
Summit EnviroTech FGPL is a biobased, NSF H1
registered food grade spray penetrating lubricant for
use in the food processing industry. It is biodegrad-
able, odorless, tasteless and rapidly penetrates
corrosion or carbon residue on equipment.
Summit Industrial Products 800-749-1375

Fluorinated Greases and Oils are chemi-

cally inert, insoluble in common solvents.
Temperatures range from -103 to 800F.
Compatible with plastics, rubber, ceramics and
metals. Nonflammable, oxygen compatible, no sili-
cones or hydrocarbons. H-1/H-2 Food Grades
Miller-Stephenson Chemical Company, Inc. 203-743-4447
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 31
Harvards filter systems are designed and built
with quality materials and craftsmanship to provide
years of trouble-free service. Filter elements for
viscosity ranges from fuels to gear oils (ISO 1000).
Customers report clean fluids to ISO 13/12/8 in
operation. Contaminant capacity per element is
about four pounds. The product has demonstrated
the ability to remove one gallon of water from oil.
Harvard Corporation 800-523-1327
In addition to particle counting and automatic
type of wear classif ication into non-metallic,
cutting, fatigue, sliding, f ibers, water droplets
offering images and trending, the new SpectroLNF
also reports dynamic viscosity.
Spectro Inc. 978-431-1120
This DVD includes instructive videos and
animations to give viewers a better understanding
of electric motor bearings and how to lubricate
them properly.
Noria Corporation 800-597-5460
Quickly monitor the remaining useful life of
lubricants. The RULER provides an easy on-site
method for monitoring antioxidants and identi-
fying problems like lube oil varnish. Maximize
lubricant life with the RULER.
Fluitec 888-557-9575
Simple and cost-effective, LEs Clear Grease Gun
will make an immediate impact on your reliability
efforts. No more mistakes or cross-contamination.
Be confident in knowing you are using the right
grease, time after time.
Lubrication Engineers Inc. 800-537-7683
An EP grease for extended, heavy-duty service, LEs
Almagard Vari-Purpose Lubricant stays put even in
severe conditions. It lengthens intervals, will not
harden with age, and extends bearing life by up to
Lubrication Engineers Inc. 800-537-7683
100% free water and 95% dissolved water with C.C.
JENSEN Desorbers. Proven, effective and reliable.
Suitable for oil systems with small or large volumes.
Guaranteed performance. Contact us today for
information or purchase.
C.C. Jensen Inc. 800-221-1430
A new full-color 104-page catalog is available on
Oil-Rites lubrication equipment, featuring PurgeX

Centralized Lubrication Systems. Complete turnkey

systems are available for immediate delivery, liquid
or grease delivery, air or electric motor-operated.
The catalog also features an entire line of level
gauges, lubricators, valves, vent plugs and filters. 920-682-6173
Easy Vac Inc. provides the right tool for an
important job! Vampire fluid sampling pumps ...
small, hand-operated vacuum pumps accept any
size sampling tube (with an OD of 3/16 inch to
5/16 inch) without changing f ittings. Super
Clean sampling containers, tubing and acces-
sories are also available.
Easy Vac Inc. 865-691-7510
32 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
Mike Shekhtman, the subject of this
issues Get to Know ... feature, is the
North American Region maintenance and
reliability manager at Goodyear Tire &
Rubber Company. He has worked 2.5 years
for Goodyear after spending more than two
decades with f irms in a host of industrial
maintenance and engineering roles
(draftsman, design engineer, manufac-
turing engineer, plant engineer, project
engineer, reliability engineer and mainte-
nance manager). In his current position, he
is based at the companys headquarters in
Akron, Ohio. Lets learn more about Mike.
What types of training have you
taken to get you to your current job?:
I have a masters degree in mechanical
engineering from St. Petersburg State
Polytechnic University in Russia and a
masters of business administration degree
from Cleveland State University. Over my
career, I have attended multiple profes-
sional development courses, including
those on maintenance and reliability
Do you hold any certifications?: I am
a Certif ied Maintenance and Reliability
Professional through the Society for
Maintenance and Reliability Professionals
and a licensed Professional Engineer.
When did you get your start in
machinery lubrication, and how did
it happen?: In my very first assignment in
maintenance management, I was facing a
very significant challenge operating large-
scale hydraulic systems that ran on
phosphate ester. That f ire-resistant f luid
gave us the needed properties for our
systems, but it was very sensitive chemically
and required rigorous maintenance. Its
condition directly affected our machines
performance and the consequent produc-
tion throughput. That is when I learned
first-hand the importance of oil condition
monitoring and that of moisture and
particulates control programs.
Whats a normal work day like for
you?: I spend a considerable amount of
time in our plants working with engineering
and maintenance associates on improving
the business of maintenance. Predictive
effort along with what we call Lubrication
Excellence is a big part of it. Since we are in
the early stages of implementing systemic
programs, much time is spent reviewing
lubricant storage and handling practices,
reviewing the expertise level of lubrication
technicians, and planning short- and long-
term actions to get better. I meet with the
plants lubricant suppliers and service
companies to assure that plant leadership
takes advantage of all they have to offer.
When I am in the office, my days are spent
doing the same but via telephone and
online conferences.
What is the amount and range of
equipment that you help service
through lubrication/oil analysis
tasks?: Our tire manufacturing plants are
500,000 square feet or larger. They have a
very broad variety of lubrication systems.
We have a lot of rotating equipment, such
as large motors and oil-bath gearboxes.
There are hydraulic systems and automated
grease and oil lubricators, and there are a
great number of manually lubricated
machine components. We are striving to
develop lubrication routes for our machines
and have them in place at some plants. A
regional expectation is that oil sampling
and analysis is in place for critical
machines, and most of the plants currently
have that.
What lubrication-related projects
are you currently working on?: I am
facilitating our Lubrication Excellence focus
effort that we started recently. Each plant is
expected to have at least one pilot area
where there is a well-defined plan to achieve
lubrication program perfection. I am
working with the plants to develop a road
map for pilot areas, plan timing and
resources, and execute as planned.
Goodyear M&R Leader Helps
Instill Lubrication Excellence
Mike Shekhtman is based at
Goodyears headquarters in Akron.
What have been some of the biggest
lubrication project successes for which
you have played a part?: I deployed a
Lubrication Excellence assessment as a part of
our yearly regional engineering audit. A group of
lubrication-related items was separated into its
own category in the evaluation that we conduct
at each tire plant. We combine the known
industry techniques and best Goodyear practices
to assign weights and scores to the items we
discuss during the audit. It turned out to be an
effective tool to measure the plants performance
in that category and plan for improvements.
How does your company view machinery
lubrication in terms of importance,
strategy, etc.?: Goodyear values proper lubri-
cation as true proactive maintenance. Although
the outcome of a successful program is not easy to
quantify, there is very clear evidence of significant
plant throughput issues if equipment lubrication
is lacking. So in the best spirit of continuous
improvement, we apply the strategy of starting
with well-established basic steps, facilitating
ongoing training, and providing strong leadership
and sufficient resources. Executing effectively to
that strategy becomes the next challenge.
What do you see as some of the more
important trends taking place in the
lubrication and oil analysis field?: I believe
there is a high potential for online oil analysis and
its combination with other predictive mainte-
nance techniques for real-time condition-based
equipment monitoring.
Get to Know features a brief question-and-
answer session with a Machinery Lubrication reader.
These articles put the spotlight on industry profes-
sionals and detail some of the lubrication-related
projects they are working on. If you know of an ML
reader who deserves to be profiled, e-mail editor-in-
chief Paul V. Arnold at
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 33
Hungry For More Information?
The Machinery Lubrication Web site is the
home for hundreds of technical articles, columns
and reports related to lubrication research,
solutions and best practices. Check out and learn more.
34 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
Bio-based Food-grade Fluids
Bio-Food Grade Hydraulic Fluids from Renewable Lubricants are
designed for use in hydraulic systems requiring anti-wear, anti-rust,
anti-oxidation, anti-foam and demulsifying properties. These prod-
ucts which are NSF H1 and H2 registered and available in ISO 32,
46, 68 and 100 grades inhibit moisture and rust in both fresh and
salt water. Renewable, environmentally non-toxic products are a safe
alternative to petroleum products for home and industrial use. They
protect against wear and corrosion and offer added f ire resistance
for safety. They also are: biodegradable, EPA and ISO 14000
compliant, non-ozone depleting, and zinc-free. They are green
sustainable and include no heavy metals.
Renewable Lubricants Inc.
FG Compressor Fluids
Petro-Canada has made enhancements to its line of Purity FG
Compressor Fluids. Building on the unique antioxidant chemistry of
Purity FG Compressor Fluids, a leap in the level of oxidative resistance is
provided with the inclusion of new FG additive technology, helping the
product yield a much higher level of performance. New and improved
Purity FG compressor fluids 32, 46, 68 and 100 meet the highest food
industry purity standards and fit perfectly in HACCP (Hazard Analysis
and Critical Control Point) and GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice)
industrial plants. All of these
compressor f luids comply with
FDA regulation 21 CFR178.3570
(Lubricants with incidental
food contact). They also are H1
registered through NSF.
Synthetic Lube Aerosol Spray
Syntha-Tech Lubricant w/PTFE is a non-f lammable, zero-VOC,
unique blend of synthetic lubricants that utilizes PTFE, anti-wear and
extreme-pressure additives to provide
unparalleled lubricating performance.
This food-grade synthetic lubricant is NSF
H1 registered for use in meat and poultry
facilities. Additionally, its long-lasting film
minimizes surface contact, thereby
extending lubricating intervals. Syntha-
Tech Lubricant w/PTFE penetrates deeply
into cracks, crevices and joints to lubri-
cate and protect all exposed metals. The
PTFE additive minimizes surface contact
and friction to reduce wear, extend equip-
ment life and maintain peak operating
conditions. This lubricant product with-
stands extreme temperature ranges, from
minus-40 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
CRC Industries
Food-grade Oils and Greases
The Omnilube family of lubricants from Ultrachem is a complete
line of premium-quality food-grade synthetic oils and greases for
incidental food contact that are specially designed for reduced lubri-
cation intervals, longer equipment life, less downtime and reduced
maintenance costs. Omnilube lubricants are available for
compressor, hydraulic, chain, gear and multi-purpose applications
and are well-suited for food, beverage, pharmaceutical and related
industries. These products meet all of the requirements of the USDA
and FDA H-1 regulations, 21 CFR 178.3570, and conform to the
requirements of NSF. They also are approved by the Orthodox Union
for Kosher use. Omnilube f luids are formulated from the highest-
quality polyalphaolef in (PAO), polyalkylene glycol (PAG), ester and
mineral base oils, depending on application.
Ultrachem Inc.
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 35
36 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
rease for rolling bearing lubrication
provides a separating film between a
bearings rolling elements, raceways and
cages to prevent metal-to-metal contact
and associated friction. Grease additionally
helps to inhibit wear, resist corrosion and
impart enhanced sealing protection against
solid or moisture contaminants. For all of
these reasons, and because grease is easy to
apply and remains retained within a
bearings housing, most bearings in rotating
machinery (an estimated 80 percent) are
lubricated with grease.
Regardless of the application, the
condition of grease and the changes in
grease properties over time can tell many
stories when analysis of the lubricant is
performed as part of a predictive mainte-
nance strategy. But, traditionally, grease
analysis has occurred infrequently, usually
only when there is suspected contamina-
tion, when the wrong grease may have been
used or when a failed component is
studied to determine root causes. The
primary stumbling block has been that a
practical, user-friendly methodology to
assess grease condition in the f ield on a
regular basis has eluded industry.
The development of an innovative
portable grease analysis kit offers a solution
for users to perform grease condition
assessments directly in the f ield (and as
frequently as necessary). Such grease
analysis can deliver a wide range of benefits:
Grease relubrication intervals can be
adjusted according to real conditions
Grease quality can be evaluated to
detect possible unacceptable devia-
tions from batch to batch
Grease performance can be assessed to
allow verification of the greases suit-
ability for the particular application
Under-performing greases can be iden-
tified to help prevent related damage
The kits appeal broadens since no
special training is required to perform the
tests, no harmful chemicals are involved,
sample sizes are purposely small (just 0.5
grams of grease are needed to perform all
of the tests) and quick assessments in the
f ield based on immediate results enable
timely decision-making. The kit also
contains instructions for use, a report
template and guidelines for proper inter-
pretation of test results.
The grease test kit lets users analyze three
all-important grease properties: consis-
tency, oil bleeding and contamination.
Universal tools supplied for all three grease
condition assessments include a sampling
syringe, a sampling tube, a permanent
marker, sampling containers, disposable
spatulas and gloves. Tools specif ic to a
particular test also are provided.
Greases are classif ied by their consis-
tency, or stiffness, according to the
National Lubricating Grease Institute
(NLGI) and are graded from NLGI Class
000 (very soft) to 6 (very stiff).
Classifications are based on the degree of
penetration achieved when a standard
cone is allowed to sink into the grease at a
temperature of 25 degrees Celsius for a
period of five seconds. For normal use in
bearings, grease consistency usually ranges
between NLGI Class 1 and 3. Lower-consis-
tency greases will be recommended for
low-temperature applications or for
improved ability to pump; greases with
higher consistency will suit bearing
arrangements with a vertical shaft.
The kits test for consistency involves a
f ixed grease volume spread between two
glass plates by means of a calibrated
A Quick and Easy Way to Test
Grease Conditions in the Field
Figure 1. Grease analysis can provide
important information about lubricant
condition and properties.
Figure 2. Greases are classified by
their consistency, or stiffness.
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 37
weight. By comparing the stain to the calibrated measuring scale,
you can directly determine the NLGI lubricant class.
This is significant, considering that bearing failures attributed to
poor lubrication often can be caused by mixing incompatible
greases with different properties, leading to inconsistent lubricant.
Therefore, it is imperative for optimized bearing performance that
the correct grease type first be selected to deliver the necessary base
oil viscosity in the proper amount at the prevailing operating
temperature and that its consistency be maintained over time.
Tools in the kit specif ically for the consistency test include a
housing, a calibrated weight, a mask and glass plates.
Oil Bleeding
Grease must release some of its oil during operation to properly
lubricate a bearing. The rate of release is called the bleed rate (or
the oil separation rate). Typical oil bleed rates of greases for
bearing lubrication are 1 to 5 percent. The base oil viscosity and
operating temperature influence the bleed rate, which should be
high enough for adequate bearing lubrication.
The kits test for oil bleeding properties begins with a f ixed
amount of grease placed on a piece of special paper. When this
paper is heated, base oil is released from the grease, which creates
an oil stain on the paper. By measuring the diameter of the ellipse
that is formed and comparing it with a fresh sample, the bleeding
properties can be evaluated.
Components for use in the oil bleeding test include a USB
heater, a USB/220/110V adapter, a special paper pack and a ruler.
Cleanliness of grease is as important as the proper amount. If
contaminated grease is placed into a system, it can cause more
damage than a lack of lubrication.
The kits test for evaluating contamination uses a supplied
pocket microscope to view a fixed grease amount spread between
two glass plates. Any contamination becomes apparent.
The Right Grease for the Application
Effective grease monitoring and testing as an integral part of an
overall lube management program can tell much about machinery
conditions and potential problems. But the entire process can be
undercut when the correct grease for an application is not specified
and used at the outset.
Although it may be tempting to standardize on a single grease
plant-wide to increase purchasing power, all machines operate as
highly specialized rotating assemblies, and every asset will exhibit
requirements specific to the application. Mixing greases will prove
fatal long-term for machinery and often will have the same effect as
contamination. It can be helpful to establish color codes or other
visual aids at machinery locations to guide maintenance staff in
identifying the proper grease to be used and avoid mix-ups and the
damage they can cause.
Over time, the grease in a bearing arrangement will naturally lose its
lubricating properties. This underscores the need for careful attention
to original lubricant selection and then conducting regular tests of the
grease for a better understanding of its condition.
Note: The proprietary SKF Grease Test Kit (TKGT 1) profiled in this
article has been developed and introduced by SKF.
About the Author
Paul Michalicka is the North American area sales manager for SKF. To
learn more, you may contact Paul via phone (416-299-2894) or e-mail
( You may also visit
Figure 3. Special paper helps to determine
bleeding properties.
Figure 4. The portable kit contains everything thats needed
to perform grease condition assessments.
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38 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication

2 1
4 5
9 10
4 1 3 1
16 17
3 What the DR stands for in DR ferrography.
4 Basestock valued in applications where safety and fire
resistance are critical considerations.
6 The site of the RELIABLE PLANT 2011 conference and
8 Molybdenum disulfide is often referred to as this.
10 The certification program (abbreviated) created by the
Society for Maintenance & Reliability Professionals.
12 Any substance having basic (as opposed to acidic)
properties. In a restricted sense, it is applied to the
hydroxides of ammonium, lithium, potassium and sodium.
13 A casing for gear sets that transmit power from one
rotating shaft to another.
15 The primary product of Alcoas operations in Point
Comfort (see cover story).
16 The focus of Brendan Caseys hydraulics column
in this issue.
18 A deposit resulting from the oxidation and polymerization
of fuels and lubricants when exposed to high
temperatures. Its similar to, but harder than, varnish.
19 The type of lubricants showcased in this issues Product
20 Machinery Lubrication magazine recently won an award
for editorial excellence from this business press society
(see bottom of Page 5).
1 A form of extremely localized corrosive attack
characterized by holes in metal.
2 The I in ICML.
4 PAG, spelled out.
5 Distress marks on sliding metallic surfaces in the form of
long, distinct scratches in the direction of motion.
7 Compounds containing only carbon and hydrogen.
9 Last name of this issues Get to Know subject.
11 Where the RELIABLE PLANT 2010 conference and
exhibition was held.
14 Stephen Sumerlins column in this issue focused on this
17 The Alcoa plant featured in this issues cover story is
located in this state.
Get the solution on Page 47.
Get a Printable Version
of This Puzzle Online at:
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 39
40 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
very day, thousands of industrial professionals from around
the world visit our Web sites. See what makes these sites so
popular and so informative. Visit us today and every day at and
Articles & White Papers
The Continuing Evolution of
Food-grade Lubricants
This outstanding white paper
describes: 1) how U.S. Department
of Agriculture food-grade lubricant
requirements have changed; 2)
monitoring program advancements; and 3) new and future tech-
nology developments in this area. Find this in the White Papers
section on the ML site.
Lubricant Selection and Management
Standards at General Motors
Comprehensive industry standards for many industrial lubricants
and fluids are notably lacking. Such standards would be of great
benefit to end-users to reduce the time and expense associated with
evaluating potential products. Product management is becoming more
important for worker health and process productivity, and standards
or guidance in this area is important. Find this article in the Web
Exclusives section on the ML site or type in LS2 in the ML Search bar.
A Checklist for Selecting Oil Filter Housings
Filter housings are available in various sizes and shapes.
Housings can be stand-alone or designed to fit into oil reservoirs.
They may accommodate one or more elements. This article lists
items to consider when selecting a filter housing. Find this article in
the Web Exclusives section on the ML site or type in Flange in the
ML Search bar.
Education on the Road
Get all the details on Norias industry conferences, seminars and
other educational events, including our industry-leading Machinery
Lubrication and Oil Analysis courses. Just click on the Events link
found at the top of the ML and RP home pages.
Term Glossaries
Nearly 100 lubrication and oil analysis terms are defined in the
Glossary on the ML Web site. Maintenance, reliability and lean
terms are defined on the RP Web site. Just click on the Glossary
link on the top of each home page.
Watch Videos
More than 160 free videos, vodcasts
and slideshows on lubrication and oil
analysis topics are available for viewing
on the ML Web site. Simply click on the
Videos box on the ML home page.
More than 1,500 videos on maintenance, reliability, lean and
manufacturing topics can be found on the RP site.
Industry News
Stay informed by reading news stories posted most every day.
Check out the Industry News box on the home page of each site.
E-mail Newsletter
Sign up for Lube-Tips and Filtration Tips, Norias free lubrication-
related e-mail newsletters, which contain helpful articles, tips, trivia
and more. Just click on the Newsletters link at the top of the ML
home page. Additional newsletters are available via the Newsletters
link on the RP home page.
Subscription Services
Ensure that you will continue to receive award-winning Machinery
Lubrication magazine by filling out the free subscription form. Simply
click on the Subscribe link at the top of the ML home page.
Get Even More Information
Were Your Source for Free White Paper Reports is the place to turn for free white paper reports on
a host of maintenance and reliability topics. Heres just a sampling of some of
the white papers currently available for download.
Cost-Effectiveness of Automatic Lubricators
Grease Analysis in the Field Improves Plant Lubrication
Automatic Grease Lubricators: What You Need to Know
Lubricants Can Help Lower Energy Consumption
Elements of a Good Preventive Maintenance Program
Controlling Gearbox Lubricant Contamination
Using Infrared & Ultrasound to Predict Upcoming Failure
Hidden Benefits of Lubricant Consolidation
Motor Repair or Replacement? The Green Solution
Check out the full list of white papers. Visit
and click on the White Paper link on the home page.
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 41
42 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
Oil Analysis
Basics Second
Publisher: Noria Corporation
The new Second Edition
includes more detailed informa-
tion on oil sampling, filtration
and contaminant removal, base
oils and additives, water-in-oil
contamination and removal, ASTM standards, glycol testing,
flash point tests, plus 14 additional oil analysis tests.
How to Grease a
Motor Bearing Training DVD
Format: DVD
Publisher: Noria Corporation
How to Grease a Motor Bearing provides plant
personnel an overview of the best practices for lubricating
electric motor bearings. Anyone responsible for the main-
tenance, operation and reliability of electric motors will
benefit. Use it to train operators, lubrication technicians,
mechanics, electricians and maintenance personnel for
years to come.
The product has three main benefits:
Lubrication technicians will have a clear understanding
of why proper motor bearing lubrication is critical.
Youll reduce motor failures, downtime, rebuilds and
replacement costs.
Youll replace old-time
lubrication procedures
with vendor-neutral, best-
practice procedures that
Practical Lubrication for
Industrial Facilities
Author: Heinz Bloch
Helps reliability professionals, mechanics, machinists or
lubrication specialists understand what matters most in a lubri-
cant, and to distinguish mere sales talk from relevant facts. It is
intended to assist the
professional in ensuring
that machinery operates
at optimum performance
levels with a minimum of
costly downtime.
Oil Sampling
Procedure Posters
Publisher: Noria Corporation
This set of 3 posters visually displays
step-by-step oil sampling procedures for
in-ser vice lubricants and hydraulics.
Posters include required sampling equip-
ment lists and procedures for high-, low-
and atmospheric-pressure systems.
For descriptions, complete table of contents and excerpts from these and
other lubrication-related books, and to order online, visit: or call 1-800-597-5460, ext. 104
Welcome to Machinery Lubrications Bookstore, designed to spotlight
lubrication-related books. For a complete listing of books of interest to
lubrication professionals, check out the Bookstore at
The Practical Handbook of
Machinery Lubrication
Author: L. Leugner
If you want to establish yourself as the lubrication expert in
your company, this book is a must-read. Once you pick it up, you
wont put it down until youve finished it. Its that easy to read.
Introduction to Lubrication
Fundamentals Training DVD
Format: DVD
Publisher: Noria Corporation
The Introduction to Lubrication Fundamentals
training DVD teaches lubrication basics through high-
quality animation and video. DVD training makes learning
fun and convenient while helping employers provide stan-
dardized training for every employee, every time.
44 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
world-class lubrication and lubricant analysis program
requires individuals with world-class skills. While it is true to
say that those directly responsible for lubrication must be properly
trained, other individuals in the organization also require knowl-
edge, or at least awareness of the programs goals, primary benefits
and fundamental tenets. In order for the organization as a whole to
succeed in lubrication excellence, it is vital that a lubrication and
lubricant analysis skill development program is put in place and
tailored to meet the needs of all the individuals who affect, or are
affected by, poor lubrication.
Lubrication Training
Almost everyone in a plant needs some lubrication awareness
training. The lubrication topics selected and the degree to which
they should be covered depends upon the individuals job. For
example, it doesnt make sense to put the plant manager through a
detailed training program on the use of a grease gun. That is simply
not a skill the plant manager is going to put to good use. While this
is a good example that is generally applicable, each plant or
company needs to develop its own specif ic lubrication training
objectives based on its different staff categories.
The skill inventory and training program will vary from organi-
zation to organization. As an illustration, consider a plant with the
following lubrication-related job descriptions:
Reliability and predictive maintenance analyst: This skilled indi-
vidual is responsible for assuring reliability of the plant and is the
primary technical resource to the plant on maintenance and relia-
bility issues. His or her role is to run onsite oil analysis tests,
assimilate and evaluate data from both onsite and off-site oil
sample analysis, and to interface with the other reliability team
members from the vibration and thermography groups. To provide
this support, the analyst requires a thorough understanding of all
the lubrication and oil analysis functional skill areas.
To achieve the desired level of knowledge for this position, this
individual typically needs several weeks of training on the basics of
lubrication and lubricant analysis. He or she also may require
extensive training on various procedures for which he or she will be
responsible (sampling, for example). In addition, extensive special-
ized training is required on the correct use, maintenance and
calibration of onsite test equipment. This individual also requires
frequent training to keep knowledge and skills up-to-date and
should be actively involved with appropriate conferences and meet-
ings to hone skills, make contacts and benchmark best practices.
Lubrication technicians: These individuals are primarily respon-
sible for lubricating the machines. They manage the store room,
grease bearings, top-up machines, perform oil changes, make or
support decisions to upgrade or change a lubricant specification,
To Become World Class, Your
Facility Needs a Lubrication
Skill Development Program
Figure 1. Skill-based Matrix for Various Plant Job Functions
Reliability Laboratory Mechanics General
and PdM Lubrication Oil and Operators Managers and
Professionals Technicians Analysts Craftsmen Supervisors
Lube Storage and Inspection
Lubrication Fundamentals
Contamination Control
Sampling Techniques
Lubrication Health Monitoring and Analysis
Contamination Monitoring
Wear Debris Detection and Analysis
Instrument Use, Care and Calibration
Laboratory QC and Management
Lube Team Management
Performance Trending and Financial Benefits
Legend: Required Optional Not Required
and re-engineer or upgrade lubricant application
hardware. They work with lubricant suppliers and
lubrication consultants daily to keep things going
smoothly. They also manage contamination
control efforts by maintaining breathers and
filters, using filter carts and other periodic decon-
tamination technologies, etc. Lube techs work
closely with mechanics to troubleshoot machine
problems that might be lubrication related. Lube
techs require a thorough understanding of lube
storage and handling, lubrication fundamentals
and contamination control.
Lube technicians require several weeks of training
to develop a sturdy knowledge base. Additional time
is required to train the individual on various proce-
dures with which he or she will be working. It is not
sufficient to rely solely on hands-on training from
experienced technicians because a small procedural
mistake, often made as a perceived time-saving exer-
cise, can perpetuate and grow into a major flaw in
lubrication best practice.
Just like the reliability technician, these individ-
uals also will require frequent booster shots to
keep their skills fine-tuned and current.
Mechanics: Mechanics are most intimately
familiar with the internal workings and condition of
the plants machinery. They need sufficient technical
knowledge about lubrication fundamentals to spot
and accurately diagnose lubrication-induced abnor-
malities and opportunities to reduce wear through
changes in the lubricant type, delivery mechanism or
maintenance. If they fail to provide feedback about
the effectiveness of the lubrication process, the same
problems will recur. They also need to understand
the importance of maintaining or restoring cleanli-
ness during repair, and be proficient in procedures
for doing so. Because the mechanics are sometimes
asked to perform oil changes, they must be trained
on those procedures.
Operators: Operators see more of the equip-
ment than anyone in the plant and are typically
required to walk-down the equipment every shift.
This is a great opportunity to collect simple,
inspection-based lubrication information. Beyond
the level gauges, the operators should regularly
inspect for filter and desiccant condition, evidence
of water contamination, foaming and air entrain-
ment, leaks, darkening of the oil, sludge, smoke or
fumes exuded from vents, and a host of other easy-
to-observe conditions.
Operators should be set up with a clipboard, or
preferably a personal digital assistant (PDA), that
allows them to input inspection information using
questions to which they can simply answer yes, no or
not applicable. This information must be fed back to
the lube technician and reliability analyst so that
appropriate corrective actions can be taken.
Operators also must be trained to perform these
functions, with an occasional refresher course to
bring their skills and knowledge back up to speed.
Managers and supervisors: While they need
only awareness training, management training is
typically the most important training in the
program, but the most commonly overlooked.
Managers make resources available, provide visi-
bility for the program and must defend it when it
comes under fire.
Managers require very little skill-oriented
training (sampling procedures, for example), but
they need some technical knowledge about the
various aspects of the program (such as why a
representative sample is important to oil analysis
effectiveness), and they should have a general
knowledge about how good lubrication manage-
ment creates value (like high particle count in the
fluid increases wear and clean oil reduces costs).
The emphasis for management is on the financial
benefits that the program provides and on aspects
of managing the lubrication team.
Managers and supervisors need up to one day of
intensive awareness training, along with periodic
information updates to keep them fresh and current
with regard to new information. Conferences serve
as a good knowledge maintenance mechanism for
managers. At these events, they can discuss lubrica-
tion program management issues with their peers,
attend benchmarking sessions, and become exposed
to new products, technologies, services, procedures
and best practices.
Based on these job functions and required
knowledge and skill base, this plant should imple-
ment a planned training program based on the
skills-based matrix shown in Figure 1.
Knowledge and
Skill Certification
Having selected the appropriate training
modules, the question that must be addressed is
How does management know that an individual can
perform a particular job? The answer to this is certi-
fication. Certification assures that an individual
possesses the knowledge and skills to perform the
required tasks. Knowledge certification is funda-
mental to success and is best performed by a
third-party entity. A third-party entity is truly objec-
tive in that it has no stake in the success of the
organization or the individual. Another advantage of
third-party certification is its transferability. An
organization can hire a person precertified, and indi-
viduals can take their certification with them. If no
precertified individual is available for a position,
certification within a certain time frame can be made
a condition of employment.
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 45
46 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
Third-party certification relieves managers from the requirement
of possessing expert knowledge on the topic in order to evaluate an
individuals capabilities. In todays plants, managers are spread
very thin. They cant be experts on everything. As long as the
managers know who the experts are, and where they can be found,
they dont have to be experts themselves. Third-party certifiers offer
this ad hoc expertise to managers.
In the lubrication industry, the International Council for Machinery
Lubrication (ICML), a non-profit organization, serves in this capacity
by offering multi-level skill certifications for the Machinery Lubrication
Technician (MLT), Machinery Lubricant Analyst (MLA) and the
Laboratory Lubricant Analyst (LLA). Figure 2 summarizes the skill eval-
uation objectives for each of ICMLs certifications. (Figure 2 also
outlines the required certification for each job function.)
Make the Transformation
You cant be world-class at anything if your team isnt skilled and
motivated. Developing machinery lubrication and lubricant
analysis skills with occupation-oriented training to build knowl-
edge, skills and attitudes can go a long way toward ensuring that
Figure 2. Testing Criteria for ICML Exams and Suggested Certification for Job Functions
* These suggestions are for general managers and supervisors. Individuals in charge of lubrication or lubricant analysis activities should attain Level II or III certification in the area for which they are responsible.
Legend: Required Certification Optional, not required except for personal development
Optional, but recommened for collateral knowledge Required for program managers and senior technicians, recommended for other technicians within the occupation group
Reliability Laboratory Mechanics General
and PdM Lubrication Oil and Operators Managers and
Professionals Technicians Analysts Craftsmen Supervisors*
Level I Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA)
Level II Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA)
Level III Machinery Lubricant Analyst (MLA)
Level I Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT)
Level II Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT)
Level I Laboratory Lubricant Analyst (LLA)
MLA Level 1 Level II Level III
Targets in-plant technicians responsible for the daily
activities associated with lubrication tasks and basic
lubricant analysis for machine condition monitoring,
including, oil changes, top-ups, greasing bearings, lubri-
cant receiving and proper storage and care of lubricants,
dispensing devices and basic oil sampling, contamination
control, and problem detection.
Targets in-plant technicians responsible for
the daily activities associated with lubri-
cant analysis for machine condition
monitoring, including sampling, sample
management, performance and simple
onsite tests, managing test results, and
performing simple diagnostics.
Targets in-plant technicians and engineers
responsible for managing the lubricant
analysis function. Tasks include team
management, test slate selection, setting
alarms and limits, sampling system design,
instruments and software selection, and
advanced diagnostics.
MLT Level 1 Level II
Targets in-plant technicians responsible for daily lubrication tasks,
including oil changes, top-ups, greasing bearings, lubricant receiving and
proper storage and care of lubricants, and dispensing devices.
Targets in-plant technicians or engineers responsible for managing the lube
team, selecting lubricants, troubleshooting abnormal lubricant perform-
ance and supporting machine design activities.
LLA Level 1 Level II
Targets laboratory technicians responsible for the daily activities associ-
ated with producing lubricant analysis data for machine condition
monitoring. Tasks include performing test, reagent management, instru-
ment calibration and SPC-based quality control.
Targets laboratory technicians, chemists and engineers responsible for
managing lubricant analysis activities in the laboratory. Tasks might
include management of lab staff, instrument and LIMS system selection,
management of calibration, maintenance of laboratory certication, and
diagnostic support to clients.
Laboratory Lubricant Analyst
Machine Lubrication Technician
Machinery Lubricant Analyst
ICML Testing Criteria
Candidates are tested through a written, closed-book, multiple-choice format exam consisting of 100 questions, covering the requirements for each
certication type as outlined below. Candidates have three hours to complete the exam and are required to attain a 70 percent passing rate in order
to achieve certication.
lubrication best practices are implemented and effective. By certi-
fying individuals, the level of knowledge and skills attained is not
only assured, but also a sense of pride and commitment begins to
permeate throughout the organization. So get skilled, get certified
and watch the dramatic transformation!
About ICML
The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) is a vendor-
neutral, not-for-prof it organization founded to facilitate growth and
development of machine lubrication as a technical field of endeavor. Among
its various activities, ICML offers skill certification testing for individuals in
the fields of machine condition monitoring, lubrication and oil analysis.
ICML is an independently chartered organization consisting of both paid
professional staff members and volunteer advisors. It provides lubrication
and oil analysis standard development support, scholarship, skill-based
testing and certification, and recognition of excellence. For more informa-
tion about ICML, visit
Machinery Lubrication September - October 2010 47
Duck Young Cho
Solge Corp.
B en Arnold
Rio Tinto
Vern Bittner
Holcim (US) Inc.
Mathew Blanchard
Next Era Energy Resources
Simon Brown
Levi Chaffin
Mun-tae Choi
Korea Gas Technology
Meghan Couves
Rio Tinto
Roger Cox
MillerCoors Brewing
James De Wever
Rio Tinto
Terry Farrell
BP Lubricants USA
Jason Frankiewicz
Holcim (US) Inc.
Philip Freitas
Noria Brasil
Alexander Genvarev
Gong-seop Han
Korea Gas Technology
Mark Hay
David Hayes
Lubrication Engineers
Michael Holden
Chris Homan
Holcim (US) Inc.
Andrew Inman
Yun-su Kim
Korea Gas Technology
Gyeong-muk Kim
Korea Gas Technology
Young-kwi Kim
Korea Gas Technology
Yong-man Kim
Korea Gas Technology
Young-ho Kim
Korea Gas Technology
Digby Kuiper
Rio Tinto
Dae-jun Lee
Korea Gas Technology
Jong-geun Lee
Korea Gas Technology
Don McNeill
Holcim (US) Inc.
Luis Alejandro Meza
Noria Brasil
Yuji Minowa
Chubu Electric Power
Hong-suk Moon
Korea Gas Technology
Richard Nesbitt
Fritz Neumann
Rio Tinto
Nils Nilsen
RRI Energy
Byung-il Oh
Korea Gas Technology
Jeon-ho Oh
Korea Gas Technology
Matthew Patton
Cashman Equipment
Darryell Perry
Holcim (US) Inc.
Rick Powers
Dow Corning
William Ridenour
Daniel Robinson
Robert Scott
LubeWorks Ltd.
Hideto Shigeta
Wako Chemical Ltd.
Donald Slovak
Holcim (US) Inc.
Daniel Smallwood
Rio Tinto
Trevor Smith
Jerry Soto
Holcim (US) Inc.
Michael Stastny
Stewart Stephen
David Towle
Holcim (US) Inc.
David Treacy
Lagan Cement
Masatoshi Yabe
Tohoku Enterprise Co.
Gary Arnesto
Magsaysay Ship
Management Inc.
Steve Barclay
BHP Billiton
Willy Bermudez
Holcim Philippines
Craig Bethell
Lubrication Engineers
William Bittner
Larry Boyle
Lubrication Engineers
Alejandro Chacin
Lubricantes del Oriente
Aulynn Ria Cristobal
Total Philippines Corp.
Chanse Dahl
Barrick Goldstrike Mine
Geoffrey Dalisay
Holcim Philippines
Joseph Dominick
RRI Energy
Satoshi Edamoto
The Kansai Electric Power
Yu Fang
Choose Technology Ltd.
George Flowers
Jianqiang Gong
SGS-CSTC Standards
Technical Services
Erica Graves
Haas TCM
Jose Gutierrez
Holcim (US) Inc.
Xianya Han
Bridgestone Tire
John Hayter
Industrial Oils Unlimited
Gabriel Hernandez
Bavaria SAB Miller
Lyle Hoffman
Holly Corp.
Jin Moon Hong
Sukwon Industrial
Young-soo Hong
Korea Plant Service &
Engineering Company
Satoru Ishizuka
IHI Inspection &
Instrumentation Co.
Yeong Gi Jang
Korea East-West Power
Bangseok Jeong
Korea Plant Service &
Engineering Co.
Takaharu Kawasaki
The Kansai Electric Power
Naoki Kikuta
The Kansai Electric Power
Jong Hui Kim
Solge Corp.
Hakjun Kim
Chang Young Lee
Korea East-West
Power Plant
Jaeyeol Lee
Korea East-West
Power Plant
Myungha Lee
Korea East-West
Power Plant
Peng Lu
Ningbo Wanhua
Polyurethanes Co.
Michael Malpezzi
RRI Energy
Li Mao Ling
Tianjin Iron Steel
Group Company
Edwin Marino
TeaM Energy Corp.
David Medina
Barrick Australia Pacific
Ronald Meischner
Wagner Miranda
Min-Hwan Mo
Korea Plant Service &
Engineering Co.
Raul Molina
Holcim (US) Inc.
Recent Recipients of ICML Certifications
From Page 38
48 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
Nobuo Nakano
The Kansai Electric Power
Mario Natividad
Holcim Philippines
Gaoyang Qi
SGS-CSTC Standards
Technical Services
Eleazar Samaniego
Kepco Philippines
Ji-Hyun Seog
Korea Plant Service &
Engineering Co.
David Stetler
Barrick Goldstrike Mine
Michael Street
Shell Australia
Daisuke Takeuchi
Tokyo Electric Power Co.
David Treacy
Lagan Cement
Jason Trood
Newcrest Mining Limited
Takeshi Watanabe
The Kansai Electric Power
Xing Wen
NCH Chemical Co.
Duane Allport
Hormel Foods
Nicholas Amsalem
ADM BioProducts
Gavin Anderson
CSR Bradford Insulation
David Apel
Hormel Foods
Roger Arendorff
Hormel Foods
Ben Arnold
Rio Tinto
Fabio Avantaggiato
Banca dItalia
Ermeal Baker
Mark Basnight
Craig Bethell
Lubrication Engineers
John Biehn
Vern Bittner
Holcim (US) Inc.
Jose Blanco
Matteo Bongiovanni
Jesi Energia S.p.A.
Giannino Bortolini
Albert Brock III
Lincoln Brown
Larico Burchett
Daniel Burford
Matthew Burns
Norske Skog Tasman
David Burrows
Rio Tinto
Michael Butler
Scott Byers
McCain Foods
Jose de Jesus Camacho
Portola Packaging Inc.
Kevin Cameron
Gerry Carpenter
ConAgra Foods
Daniel Cartmill Jr.
Levi Chaffin
Dwayne Chute
Mosaic Company
Juan Pablo Collazo
Essroc Italcementi Group
Tyler Cook
Hormel Foods
John Cory
Meghan Couves
Rio Tinto
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Organizacion Terpel S.A.
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Australian Paper
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Norske Skog Tasman
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Holcim Philippines
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Cliffs Natural Resources
Dale DeHoedt
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Rio Tinto
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Essroc Italcementi Group
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RRI Energy
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Dave Ederer
ConAgra Foods
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Armstrong World
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Organizacion Terpel S.A.
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Rio Tinto
John Feeley
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Verso Paper
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Rio Tinto
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Rio Tinto
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Aeronautica Militare
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Randy Gilbert
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Portola Packaging
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Bryon Goff
Scott Goins
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Cliffs Natural Resources
Carlo Gusberti
Vipetrol S.p.A.
Jose Luis Gutierrez
Holcim (US) Inc.
Marvin Halderman
Westar Energy
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ConAgra Foods
Scottie Hamilton
ConAgra Foods
Russell Hansen
Rio Tinto
Chad Hanson
Cliffs Natural Resources
Darwin Harianja
PT. Pertamina (Persero)
Arief Hariyanto
PT. Pertamina (Persero)
Mark Harmon
Thomas Harrell
Mark Hay
Edward Hicks
Dan Hillson
Hormel Foods
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Daniel Hodges
Gavin Hodges
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Mosaic Company
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Chris Homan
Holcim (US) Inc.
Kim Se Hoon
Korea East-West Power
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Hormel Foods
Rory Hughes
Rio Tinto
Don Huntley
Cliffs Natural Resources
Md Mazharul Islam
Visy Pulp & Paper
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Tommy Jones
Mark Jones
Gary Justice
ConAgra Foods
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Korea East-West Power
Grover Keen
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Hormel Foods
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Mosaic Company
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Korea East-West Power
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Korea East-West Power
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Armstrong World
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ConAgra Foods
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Hormel Foods
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Mosaic Company
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Hormel Foods
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Essroc Italcementi Group
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Rio Tinto
Digby Kuiper
Rio Tinto
Garrett Kuntz
Mosaic Company
Arvin Lagazo
Magsaysay Ship
Management Inc.
Jesse Landis
Hormel Foods
Vernon Latham
Norske Skog Tasman
Kent Lauterwasser
Thomas Layton
Oil Distributing Company
Peter Leahy
Rio Tinto
Bryan Lemmer
Juan Lesmes
Georgina Leyte
Holcim (US) Inc.
Dae Goang Lim
Korea East-West Power
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Hormel Foods
Jeronimo Lopez
Holcim (US) Inc.
Tim Lott
Rickey Lowe
Matthew Lundberg
McCain Foods
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Tuong Mach
Portola Packaging
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OCP Ecuador S.A.
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RRI Energy
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Westar Energy
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McCain Foods
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Stephen Mattieson
ConAgra Foods
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Hormel Foods
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Hormel Foods
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Essroc Italcementi Group
Kenneth McLeod
Transfield Services E&T
(NZ) Ltd.
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Holcim (US) Inc.
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RRI Energy
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Banca dItalia
Roy Miller
McCain Foods
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Cliffs Natural Resources
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Justin Morey
ISP Corporation
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Hormel Foods
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Upper Occoquan Service
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Rio Tinto
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Westar Energy
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OCP Ecuador S.A.
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Westar Energy
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Holcim (US) Inc.
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Mosaic Company
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Cliffs Natural Resources
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RRI Energy
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Hormel Foods
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Holcim (US) Inc.
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Rio Tinto
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Hormel Foods
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ConAgra Foods
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Westar Energy
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Westar Energy
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Rio Tinto
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Portola Packaging
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Holcim (US) Inc.
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Westar Energy
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Holcim Ecuador
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Rio Tinto
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Mosaic Company
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Mosaic Company
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Mosaic Company
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Essroc Italcementi Group
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Industrial Oils Unlimited
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50 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
he rolling element bearings used in electric motors potentially
have many modes of failure if an incorrect strategy is imple-
mented. These modes include incorrect lubricant selection,
contamination, loss of lubricant and overgreasing. This article will
discuss several effective strategies to minimize the likelihood that
one of these failure modes will happen.
Most electric motors are designed with grease-lubricated, anti-
friction, rolling element bearings. Grease is the lifeblood of these
bearings, providing an oil film that prevents the harsh metal-to-
metal contact between the rotating element and races. Bearing
troubles account for 50 to 65 percent of all electric motor failures,
and poor lubrication practices account for most of these bearing
troubles. Good maintenance procedures, planning and the use of
the correct lubricant can signif icantly increase productivity by
reducing these bearing troubles and, likewise, the motor failures.
Get to know the failures. By knowing what the failure modes are,
you can focus on reducing or even eliminating them.
Wrong lubricant It is important to use the correct grease for
the application. Regreasing with the wrong grease can lead to
premature bearing failure. Most oil suppliers have grease that is
specifically designed for electric motors.
Grease incompatibility Greases are made with different thick-
eners, such as lithium, calcium or polyurea. Not all greases are
compatible with one another, even those with the same thickener
type; therefore, it is important to use the same grease or compat-
ible substitute throughout the life of the bearing.
Motor casing full of grease If the grease cavity is overfilled and
high pressure from the grease gun is applied, the excess grease can
find its way between the shaft and the inner bearing cap and press
its way into the inside of the motor. This allows the grease to cover
the end windings of the insulation system and can cause both
winding insulation and bearing failures.
Lubricant starvation This has several possible causes. The first is
insufficient grease being added during installation. The second is inap-
propriate, elongated relube intervals. The third possibility is that the oil
has been removed from the thickener base by excessive heat.
Overpressurization of the bearing housing Anytime there is an
overpressurization of the bearing housing, stresses are placed on
parts that werent designed to handle the pressure. Keep in mind
that the standard manual grease gun can produce pressures up to
15,000 pounds per square inch.
Overheating due to excess grease Too much volume will cause
the bearing elements to churn the grease, trying to push it out of
the way, resulting in parasitic energy losses and high operating
temperatures, which in turn increase the risk of bearing failure.
Getting Started
The f irst thing you need is a plan to execute. The following
would be the bare minimum that would need to be discussed and
implemented to get the program started.
1) Make an equipment list that includes all of the assets you want
to include in the program.
2) Verify the type of bearings installed in both the inboard and
outboard ends of motors. This will determine if the bearings are
regreasable. You also should determine a policy for the regreasing
of shielded bearings, commonly found in motors. (Some experts
recommend not greasing double-shielded bearings.)
3) Choose a grease type that will be adequate for the program.
Remember that once a grease type and manufacturer are
chosen, it is best not to deviate from this choice.
4) Make all necessary modifications to the electric motors. This
includes adding fittings and making them accessible.
5) Establish a set of procedures for maintaining the motors.
Developing a PM System
There are many choices to make when deciding on a preventive
maintenance (PM) system. In some plants, it may be beneficial to only
use a spreadsheet, while others have the need for complete, dedicated
systems. The end goal is the same: You want to be able to track each
motor as an asset and keep track of the attention that each motor
receives. Some good things to include in the PM system are: date of
installation, horsepower, frame size, rpm, bearing type and environ-
mental conditions. It will take a while to set a system like this up, but
once completed, it will be one of the greatest tools you possess.
Determining Lube Type
When searching for a lube type and manufacturer or supplier,
there are several things to consider. The following is a list of quali-
ties associated with a good electric motor grease.
1) Good channeling characteristics
2) NLGI Grades 2-3, ISO VG 100-150
3) High dropping point, 400 degrees Fahrenheit at a minimum
The Basics of an Electric
Motor Regrease Program
52 September - October 2010 Machinery Lubrication
4) Low oil bleed characteristics, per D1742 or D6184
5) Excellent resistance to high-temperature oxidation
6) Good low-temperature torque characteristics
7) Good anti-wear performance, but not extreme pressure
Polyurea grease is popular with many bearing and motor manufac-
turers. A good percentage of equipment manufacturers also specify some
type of polyurea grease in their electric-powered machinery. A polyurea-
based grease is an excellent grease for electric motors, but be warned:
This thickener is incompatible with most other thickeners. Some manu-
facturers dont recommend mixing one brand of polyurea with another.
Instruct your motor rebuild shop on what grease to use, and make sure
your grease type is specified on new motor purchase orders.
Determining Regrease Time Cycle
There are several methods for determining a regrease time cycle.
It is very important to realize that no one method will give you a
magical answer to your problems. There are multiple calculators,
tables and charts that can give you a very good starting point. I like
to use them all to get a good feel for how I want to set the cycles.
The real fine tuning, however, must be done by trial and error.
The factors that most calculators have in common are: load, oper-
ation time, bearing type, temperature, environment and speed. This
is where the database you built will be beneficial.
Grease Volume Control
Grease volume control has been a longstanding problem for
industry, and simply following OEM recommendations may not be
enough to solve this problem. There exists an equation that has yet
to fail me. It is a simple equation that takes a very logical approach
to determining the volume of grease to be added. The formula is:
Where G = the amount of grease in ounces; D = the bearing
outside diameter in inches; and B = the bearing width in inches.
Once the volume is found, you need to convert it into shots, or
pumps of the grease gun. There is only one way that I know of to
get the value used to convert the number. You will need the grease
gun that is going to be used and a postal scale. After finding the
output per full stroke of the handle, label the gun so that it is now
calibrated. The average value Ive found is approximately 18 shots
per ounce for most manual guns.
The Procedures
The intent of a good maintenance program is to extend the
service life of your motor. In most cases, improper lubrication
procedures or the failure to follow them can have a negative impact
on your program. A good base set of procedures should include
some variation of the following:
1) Ensure the grease gun contains the appropriate lubricant.
2) Clean the areas around the relief and fill fittings.
3) Remove the grease relief valve or plug.
4) Grease the bearing with the proper, calculated amount of
grease. Add grease slowly to minimize excessive pressure
buildup in the grease cavity.
5) Watch for grease coming out of the relief port. If you pump
excessive amounts of grease into the motor and the old, used
grease is not being purged, stop and check for hardened grease
blocking the relief passage.
6) If regreasing is performed with the motor out of service, operate
the motor until bearing temperature raises to operating temper-
ature to allow for thermal expansion of the grease. Ensure that
the relief valve or drain plug is left out during this process.
7) Allow the motor to run at this temperature for a short time to expel
any excess grease before installing the bottom grease relief valves.
8) After excessive grease has been purged, reinstall the drain plug
and clean excessive grease from the relief port area.
This article was written as a very broad and general document to
inform you of some of the thought processes that go into the
creation of a lube program. It may seem like an easy task to take on,
but in reality, it is very difficult. Remember to take your time, do it
right the f irst time and you will f ind the rewards are very much
worth the trouble.
About the Author
Jeremy Wright is a certified Machinery Lubricant Analyst (MLA) Level I
and Level II and Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I by the
International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML). In addition, he is
a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) by the Society
for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP). Contact Jeremy at
G = [(.144) x D x B]