Efficient Plant January 2018 - 33
feature | lubrication strategies
The effects of poor manual-greasing control are exacerbated when lack of training is coupled with the mythical
belief that if a little lubrication is good, then a lot of
lubrication must be better.
Manual greasing has its place in a
lubrication program, but requires an
"engineered" and disciplined approach to its use if it is to effectively
extend bearing life. An effective
manual-greasing program must be
built on four simple cornerstones:
number of grease products
S standardization-all grease
guns are the same make and type
S restraint-nuanced and controlled
A lint-free cloth is usually made from a cotton fabric with sewn and
overlapped edges. The fabric is close woven and does not readily
'shed,' or release, fabric fibers. Purchase or rent lint-free mechanic's
cloths from a cleaning or safety supply house. Mechanic's cloths
can be cleaned and reused over and over again. Disposable lint-free
paper-based products are also available.
Rag-style cloths made from discarded garments are not recommended for wiping grease nozzles or fittings. Rags are cut or torn
to size and can be made from any fabric type, including wool (wool
fibers are easily shed and can roll themselves into pill balls). The
torn and cut fabric edges easily release errant fibers that can adhere
to the grease fitting or grease nozzle and then be injected into the
fitting. The fibers can then act as an abrasive and promote premature
Step 3. Prepare gun for greasing:
Before attaching it to a fitting, ensure that the grease gun is charged
with grease, primed, and cleaned.
For a trigger-style grease gun:
S Clean fitting(s) to be greased with a clean lint-free cloth.
S Slowly squeeze the trigger toward the grease-gun barrel until the
gun discharges approximately 1/4 in., or 6 mm, of grease from the
Ideally, bearing cavities need only contain
between 40% and 50% of the grease capacity to
effectively lubricate the bearing. Then, when every
bearing requirement and application frequency is calculated according to size, speed, load, and usage, and all grease
guns are standardized to a single design, the grease gun "shots per
bearing" number can be calculated and a formal program instituted.
What happens when there is no formal greasing program, or any
money or expertise available to the lubricator or maintenance staff?
In those types of situations, maintainers can exercise control over
greasing actions that will considerably extend bearing life over an
ad-hoc greasing approach by consistently following, in order, a few
Step 1. Action check:
Check the work order or machine plate to determine:
S grease point location (if numbered or colored)
S amount of grease required per grease point (only if some greasepoint engineering has taken place)
S grease specification matches the grease found in the grease gun.
If this information is missing, compile a data page in a lubrication
notebook for each machine and stay with a consistent standard manual-grease until a product-consolidation program has taken place.
Step 2. Pre-clean:
Clean grease fitting(s) to be greased with a clean lint-free cloth.