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The true cost of bearing lubrication

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Learn more at www.igus.com/drylin The Hidden Costs of Lubrication Proper lubrication delivery is critical for the operation of ball bearings, and most require continued maintenance for re-lubrication. The re-lubrication process typically requires scheduled machine downtime, which increases maintenance costs and causes a loss of production time. In addition, re-lubrication maintenance practices often fall short. While some processes are automated, the majority of re-lubrication is performed manually using a grease gun. This seemingly simple task actually involves a number of critical steps to ensure proper lubrication delivery, including correct amount of lube, the right grease gun, proper cleaning, and careful storage and handling conditions, just to name a few. In addition, it is critical to use the same grease for the entire lifespan of a bearing. Ken Bannister conducted a survey that reported "only 12% of lubrication personnel from all industrial sectors are professionally certified", and 61% of companies don't even keep track of instances of lubrication related failure 1 . Ancillary components for OEMs Using lubricated bearings can increase manufacturing complexity and expenses. They often need to be fitted with grease zerks and manifolds, oil lines, and sometimes oil reservoirs and pumps. Not only are there extra costs associated with purchasing these components, there are also manufacturing costs associated with the machining and assembly of the mating parts. Ancillary components for lubricated bearings There are also additional parts required to protect them from contaminants. According to McNally Institute, the leading cause of bearing failure is due to contamination of the lubrication by moisture and solid particles. If as little as 0.002 percent water gets mixed into the lubrication system, it increases the probability of failure by 48 percent. Just six percent water can reduce the lifetime by 83 percent 2 . Ball bearings require seals to keep oil in and unwanted water and liquids out, as well as wipers / scrapers to keep dust and debris out. Seals only last so long and do not perform well in dirty and dusty environments and can also increase friction in the application. In agricultural machinery and lawn mowers, where dust and debris are prevalent during operation, seals and wipers may require frequent replacement.

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