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Using correct lubrication to get the most out of plain bearings

Plain bearings are renowned for their ability to operate for many years under heavy loads and in extremely harsh operating conditions with little wear or need for attention. This makes them a good choice for intense applications. However, in order to get the most out of them over the long term, it is important to pair these types of bearings with the correct lubrication solutions. Some of the common reasons for plain bearings failures include misalignment, trapped dirt forming grooves in the bearing components, metal fatigue and localised rapid wear. Misalignment and dirt build up Misalignment is a common cause

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Gear Oils Categories and Their Importance

A lubricant’s viscosity is arguably its most important property – its resistance to flow and shear. Viscosity can be influenced by several factors, from contamination to temperature. Multi-viscosity oils have been developed to cater to a wider range of grades and temperatures. Ford explains that the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) developed numerical coding system to grade engine oils according to their viscosity. As a general rule, the lower the number, the lower the viscosity. While single-viscosity or mono-grade engine oil works well in a narrow temperature band, swings in temperature may require a multi-viscosity oil. “Multi-viscosity oils flow differently

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The importance of grease compatibility

Mixing greases that aren’t compatible can cause equipment problems – from softening of the grease to hardening, bleeding, separation or even catastrophic failure of components. “It is always best practice to avoid mixing any types of grease,” says Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa. “However, sometimes it can’t be avoided or it happens accidentally. When this happens, a thorough evaluation should be performed to ensure that components receive effective lubrication and avoid damage. LE has also developed a grease compatibility to provide guidelines based on the thickeners.” Ford says that it’s important to note that

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Getting to Grips with Grease Composition

Grease is made of three main components – base oil, thickener and additives. The base oil makes up the biggest part of the mix (normally between 80% – 95% by weight of a typical grease). Understanding the basics of grease composition helps to ensure that you choose the best grease “structure” for your specific application. Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa explains that grease is used to lubricate those applications where an oil cannot be contained. “Most greases are made in huge kettles by mixing oils with various types of base materials called ‘soaps’,” he says. “Although

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Lubrication for Harsh Coal Processing Environments

Coal processing and transportation require unique lubrication solutions to preserve equipment performance because of the prevalence of fine coal particles (duff) and their corrosive impact on coal-handling machinery. Along with fine particles, heavy loads, shocks and jars are typical of coal operations and lubricants designed to withstand these conditions are essential to ensure maximum efficiency, says Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa. “At LE South Africa, our work in the coal processing and transportation industry has shown us that it’s critical to use lubricants designed to repel duff and dirt to protect the equipment at

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Lubrication solutions for plastics manufacturing

Plastics are an ever-growing and significant industrial sector, meaning that plastics production, moulding and conversion operations need the support of high-quality lubricants to ensure long-lasting performance. While there are some general application lubricants that can work well in different parts of the plastics production process, in some cases, specialist functions such as hydraulic injection moulding and extrusion require carefully chosen lubricants to support their performance, says Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa. The prevalence of high-temperature and high-pressure processes in plastics manufacturing necessitates the use of robust lubricants. “At LE South Africa, we work closely

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Lubrication Basics

Friction and lubrication are concepts that most people understand, but probably rarely think about. Yet both are central to various aspects of everyday life. Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa, believes that a foundational understanding of friction, lubrication and viscosity will help anyone working with machinery or mechanical equipment to keep it in good working condition, protect its longevity and ensure optimal efficiency, saving on costs and energy usage. “There are various types of friction,” he says. “Dry friction is the result of movement of one solid body across another, such as a log being

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Sustainable Lubrication Solutions

More and more businesses and investors are adopting Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) reporting and investing, as the global trend towards measuring the sustainability and societal impact of organisations increases. While equipment lubrication has long been recognised as an area where businesses can cut down on power usage, thus reducing environmental impact. However, Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa, says there are a range of other sustainability considerations when it comes to lubrication and even lubrication cleaning schedules. “LE offers a range of products and services specifically designed to help organisations who are looking

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Engine oil filtration and the role of the correct lubricant

Filters have been standard equipment on engines since 1935, to remove abrasive particles from air and oil before circulation through the engine, thus protecting it. However, filtration has developed since then and today, lubrication products with specialist additives enable the use of more compact full flow filters. This is because detergency and dispersancy (the property that allows the oil to suspend and carry away pollutants from various sources) has reduced the element plugging and the total “dirt” holding requirements. Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa, says that although the technology has been improved over the

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Lubricating Worm Gears

Worm gears are specifically designed to transmit motion and power between nonintersecting shafts (such as shafts at right angles to each other). Because worm gears work differently to other gears, they require specialist lubrication. Unlike other gears, the worm can easily turn the gear, but the gear cannot turn the worm. This, Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa, explains is because the angle on the worm is so shallow that when the gear tries to spin it, the friction between the gear and the worm holds the worm in place. This feature is useful for

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