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It would be great if industrial gears ran in cool, clean and dry environments. However, conditions in gear-driven operations such as steel mills, manufacturing plants and other strenuous industrial applications are anything but cool, clean and dry. Thatﾒs why lubricant selection can be so challenging. How do you know which lubricant is the best fit for a given application? Typically, it is as simple as searching through a maintenance manual and selecting a product from the QPL (qualified product list). Unfortunately, this solution may not always provide optimum lubrication for a given gear set, or maximum efficiency in managing lubricant inventory.
While some original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) provide generic specifications that consider pertinent parameters, others give only a general specification that may not even consider operating temperatures. It is therefore important for the individuals responsible for selecting lubricants to posses a fundamental understanding of how to specify lubricants for gearing.
In addition to understanding and being able to interpret the specifications given by equipment manufacturers, it is important to understand why, and be able to make changes when necessary.
When selecting lubricants for industrial gearing, numerous factors must be considered beyond simply selecting a product from the maintenance manualﾒs QPL, including product availability, operating conditions, the preferred lubricant brand and product consolidation efforts. Proper lubricant selection is a cornerstone of any excellent lubrication program.
A good understanding of this allows the lubrication engineer to maximise machinery reliability under normal conditions, as well as use lubricant specification as a problem solver in abnormal conditions. Base Oil
Most greases produced today use mineral oil as their fluid components. These mineral oil-based greases typically provide satisfactory performance in most industrial applications. In temperature extremes (low or high), a grease that utilises a synthetic base oil will provide better stability.