Case Studies, Lessons Learned and Best Practices
We're all ears. In our recent survey, we asked you how
we can improve Lube-Tips. You spoke up. Overwhelmingly you
said that you want more case studies, lessons learned and
to find out what best practices others have implemented
with success. Great! We're all over it.
Actually, that's where we need your help. We want to publish
your nuggets of wisdom, your brushes with disaster, your
invaluable experiences and your cost-saving ideas. Share
with us and we'll gladly share with you. $50 that is. We're
happy to shell out the cash if your story makes it into
Haven't started hacking out an e-mail yet? Here are some
ideas to get you past your writer's block:
Any recent "saves" on critical equipment? Perhaps
you've successfully implemented something you learned in
Lube-Tips or a training course. Maybe you've documented
lubrication-related cost-savings or reliability improvements.
Take some pictures of your lube storage room and tell us
how you've improved it. You've got to be doing something
right - share it with other Lube-Tips subscribers.
Spectacular or not, start writing. Just a paragraph or
two will do. Feel like writing a novel? Go for it. I look
forward to hearing from you.
Maintaining Hydraulic Fluids
From "The Practical Handbook of Machinery
Keep hydraulic fluids cool. (The bulk oil temperature at
the exterior of the reservoir should never exceed 60°C).
Keep hydraulic fluids clean. (There is general agreement
among hydraulic experts that 75 - 80 percent of hydraulic
failures are caused by fluid contaminated with dirt, wear
particles and other foreign material. In today's high-pressure
systems, clearances between wear surfaces are very small,
making contamination control critical).
Keep hydraulic fluids dry. (Water and condensation content
should never exceed a maximum of 1000 ppm, depending on
the system design).
Immediately repair fluid leaks. If oil can escape, dirt
and dust can re-enter the system. (A fluid leak of one drop
per second is equal to 400 gallons in a 12-month period.)
If electric motors are to be stored for a period of time,
the vibrations created by the plant could cause false brinelling
of the bearings. False brinelling occurs when the protective
film of a lubricant is worn away by vibration and there
is metal to metal contact between the edge of the rolling
element and the bearing race. To prevent false brinelling,
turn the shaft of the stored motor with your fingers a minimum
of once a month. The same principle applies to idle machinery.
The idle machine needs to be "bumped" to ensure
that there is a film of the lubricant between the rolling
element and the race. (Tip submitted by Rodger Shaffer,
Manufacturing Engineer, Timken Latrobe Steel)
Q & A
H20 Lugging Synthetics
"The "Book Bits" in the April 24 Lube-Tips
says 'The saturation level for a synthetic fluid is generally
much higher than for a mineral base fluid.' This contradicts
everything else I have read, and my experience. PAO synthetic
oils have a higher aniline point and will not hold as much
water, additive, or practically anything else as a mineral
In general, you are correct - PAO base oils will dissolve
very little water and have good water shedding characteristics.
However, the issue has some additional considerations. First,
other synthetics, such as phosphate ester, polyol ester
and di-basic acid ester fluids will dissolve more water
than mineral oils or PAOs. The ethylene oxide version of
polyglycol synthetics are completely water soluble.
Also, due to the high aniline point of PAO base oils (and
many hydrocracked Group III base oils too), the lubricant
may be formulated with as much as 20 percent polyol and/or
di-basic acid ester or even a mineral oil. In part, these
co-basestocks help counteract seal shrinkage caused by the
PAO, but it is also required to solubilize the additive
package in the oil.
We hear about the great detergency properties of PAO, this
is largely due to the presence of the ester component and
additives. So, you are quite correct - a pure PAO base oil
will shed water and has a very low saturation point. But
esters that are commonly used as lubricants or as an additive
in the PAO respond very differently.
Drew Troyer, Noria Corporation
Reservoir Maintenance Gadgets
If you like gadgets that make your life simpler, you're
going to like this. Have you seen these all-in-one "fill-sample-filter"
devices that affix to the fill-port of reservoirs?
I like these products because they let you perform a lot
of functions from one location. Filling and filtering is
made easy with quick-connect coupling attachments. Both
desiccant and particle-removing filters can be attached
as well as filter indicators. An oil sampling valve makes
reservoir sampling easy.
Installation is simple - just replace your standard hydraulic
fill-cap with the device and you're set. No drilling or
tapping required. They are available from several vendors
Are you already using products like these to simplify reservoir
maintenance? Let me know how you like them and if you're
using any other attachments on them.
From "Practicing Oil Analysis 2002 Conference
Proceedings". Excerpt taken from the section "Precision
Lubrication for the Power Generation Industry":
Odd as it may seem, few organizations have engineered processes
for lubricating and re-lubricating machines. This often prompts
the question: once the lubricant is properly selected, what
is involved to properly lubricate a machine? There is more
to it than meets the eye. Greasing bearings, for example,
requires calculation of the optimized volume of lubricant
to apply and the frequency with which to apply it. Is a
grease gun really the best method for greasing that bearing?
Or would a single- point applicator, centralized system,
or even a mist system do a better job, reduce cost, or eliminate
safety risks associated with lubricating a hard-to-reach
component? Likewise, should a gearbox be fit with a quick-connect
fitting so that oil can be added through a filter cart without
opening the system and exposing it to the environment? These
and many other questions must be addressed.
When sampling refrigeration compressor oils, particularly
some synthetics such as polyalkylene glycols (PAGs) and
polyolesters (POEs), it is of paramount importance that
the lubricant is exposed to the air for as little time as
possible. This applies particularly in humid environments.
The reason for this is that these lubricants are hygroscopic,
that is, they absorb uncondensed water vapor directly from
humid air. Accurate moisture content reading is vital for
the analysis of most refrigerant system lubricants. It is
for this reason that the lubricant should be given as little
exposure to the atmosphere as possible.
Likewise, it is important that your laboratory take equal
care not to expose the oil to the air when it carries out
its tests. Ideally the moisture content test should be the
first one performed. (Tip submitted by Ashley Mayer, ABB
Q & A
Are Your Lubes Risky?
"Is lubricating oil considered a hazardous
waste in the United States?"
In the U.S., used lubricating oil has never been listed
as hazardous under the Resource Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA). The RCRA requires that the generators of used
oil waste apply their knowledge or test waste streams in
order to determine whether they are hazardous.
Also, used oil filters have never been listed as hazardous
waste under federal law. Although in 1992, the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) decided that only non-terne plated
filter canisters which have been gravity hot-drained (>12
hours) need not be tested to determine whether they are
hazardous. In the future, those filters will automatically
be considered non-hazardous. Terne-plated oil filters used
in some heavy-duty applications were not included in the
exemption because the metal plating contains an alloy of
lead and tin.
Ref. FMC Bulletin 94-7R
Jim Fitch, Noria Corporation