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The true cost of bearing lubrication

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Learn more at www.igus.com/drylin The true cost of bearing lubrication By Matt Mowry, Product Manager, drylin ® linear bearings, igus ® Inc. Introduction Today, machine and equipment manufacturers are feeling more pressure than ever to reduce costs without sacrificing machine performance, and this balancing act can be difficult to achieve. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) often overlook a simple solution that can have a positive, long- term impact on profitability for themselves and their customers: the elimination of bearing lubricant. By eliminating lubrication systems where possible, OEMs can reduce production costs, while making their equipment more marketable and less expensive to operate for end users. What are the issues with bearing lubricant? According to a major ball bearing company, 54 percent of bearing failures are lubrication- related (see chart right). In a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it was estimated approximately $240 billion is lost annually (across U.S. industries) due to downtime and repairs for manufacturing equipment damaged by poor lubrication 1 . Improper bearing lubrication or re-lubrication accounts for up to 50 percent of machine failures. By eliminating lubrication from machinery, OEMs can minimize the costs and risks associated with maintenance for the end user. At the same time, costs related to the proper disposal of oil can be eliminated, and the initial expenditure for ancillary components and processes (grease lines, zerks, manifolds, etc.) can be decreased. There is a lower cost, easier-to-maintain machine component that eliminates the total cost of bearing lubricants: high performance, dry running plastic bearings. 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 W h a t c a u se s b e a r i n g f a il u r e s? storage & handling unfound or unjustified error installation error contamination other inadequate lubrication Learn more at www.igus.com/drylin

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