Maintenance Technology April 2017 - 47

LUBRICATION STRATEGIES

system designer or manufacturer/supplier. These resources
can help you determine the best line material for a specific
application.

Main problem causes
Problems in lubrication-delivery lines manifest as leaks or blockages.
A leaking line will starve lubricant from one or many bearing points
and seriously affect the associated production equipment's reliability.
Leaks are invariably found at connection points and line-bend areas.
Keep the following in mind:
S Copper lines are very soft and can easily work-harden at bend
points if significant machine vibration occurs.
S Nylon lines can be easily over-tightened or not cut square at
the connection points. This can cause a leak at the compression
fitting.
S If a single-chamfered compression fitting designed for nylon
lines is mistakenly used on a steel line, which require a doublechamfered compression fittings (see Fig. 3, left), they can be
compromised, causing a leak at the fitting.
S To reduce cost, nylon lines can be used as a substitute for
flexible-hose lines in moving-bearing-point applications found
on, among other things, machine slides and rams. Plastic lines,
in most cases, are not rated for cyclic repetitive-movement
duty.
Blockages in lubrication lines usually occur when they're pinchdamaged from being hit by a foreign object that crimps or flattens the
line shut. This situation causes a line backpressure that can blow the
fitting or eventually stall an entire progressive-divider system, starving
many bearings in the process. Steel lines offer the best defense against
pinched lines.

Best practices
To ensure no bearing is starved after a lubrication-system implementation or line replacement, always pre-fill the lubricant line with the
correct grease lubricant before final fastening to the bearing. Or, in
the case of oil, operate the lube system and open all bearing points to
ensure oil is flowing at each point before final tightening.
Finally, never forget that lubrication-delivery lines are a matter of
choice. Reliable lube systems, in turn, depend on making the correct
choice. MT
Contributing editor Ken Bannister is co-author, with Heinz Bloch, of
the book Practical Lubrication for Industrial Facilities, 3rd Edition
(The Fairmont Press, Lilburn, GA). As managing partner and
principal consultant for Engtech Industries Inc. (Innerkip, Ontario),
he specializes in the implementation of lubrication-effectiveness
reviews to ISO 55001 standards, asset-management systems, and
training. Contact him at kbannister@engtechindustries.com, or
telephone 519-469-9173.

Bannister on Lubrication
Accompanying this article on maintenancetechnology.com, visitors
will find a link to the next in a series of monthly lubrication-related
podcasts with Ken Bannister. The April podcast will focus on
lubrication-delivery line matters.
APRIL 2017

MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY.COM | 47


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