Efficient Plant March 2018 - 32

feature | lubrication strategies
IIoT advances are leading to open
lubrication systems with
ever-smarter data-management and alert capabilities.

correlated and analyzed with real-time
and historical-predictive data such
as vibration and
infrared signatures
to corroborate the
analysis and accurately predict the potential
failure occurrence.

New Sensing
Technologies

Bannister on
Lubrication

Along with the online
version of this article on
efficientplantmag.com,
visitors can find a link to an
in-depth podcast with Ken
Bannister on the topic.

For more information on
condition-based lubrication
and system design, you
may be interested in Ken
Bannister's book Practical
Lubrication for Industrial
Facilities, 3rd Edition, cowritten with Heinz Bloch
and published by Fairmont
Press. Reach Ken at 519469-9173 or kbannister@
engtechindustries.com.

32

| EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM

Whereas the old tech sensors relied exclusively on mechanical switch/
trip mechanisms, newer smart devices
are designed with built-in microcircuits that
continually collect and transmit measurement
data to data-analysis systems that can be located
anywhere. Smart sensors can be purchased as
single- or multiple-sensing devices.
Multiple-sensing models reduce the amount
of drilling and set up and can be found in many
combinations such as fluid levels, temperature,
and water content, or temperature and dielectric constant, depending on the system's needs.
Choosing the right sensor(s) to use will depend
on the application and working conditions.
Typical sensors include:
S Temperature: Temperature-change sensors
can be mounted in the lubricant reservoir and/or
at individual/critical bearing points. Temperature
change is a bellwether indicator that something
has changed within the lubrication system and
can point to numerous potential faults such as
oil leaks creating a lack of lubrication at multiple bearing points, blocked or broken lube lines
creating a lack of lubrication at a single lube point,
or a thermal reservoir blanket of accumulated dirt
and/or debris covering the reservoir top, causing
the reservoir lubricant to heat up. According to the

Arrhenius rule, every 17-deg. F rise in lubricant
temperature will reduce the oil life by half.
S Pressure: Lack of line pressure is indicative of
a broken line or leaking reservoir. Increased line
pressure is indicative of a blocked or crimped lube
line, or blocked bearing-lubricant entrance point.
Pressure differential (delta) can also be sensed
across oil filters, indicating whether the filter media is full and in need of a change prior to moving
into a possible destructive bypass mode.
S Moisture: Simply put, water is detrimental to
most machined surfaces and does not belong in
lubricants. Water presence indicates a compromised reservoir allowing contamination
from cleaning or process functions, or a rapidly
changing ambient temperature from hot to cold
and back, causing condensation to occur inside
the reservoir.
S Particulates: Solids contamination in the form
of particulate (dirt) or wear metals can be optically
sensed. Particulate contamination can be caused
by a compromised reservoir allowing dirt to enter
the reservoir, use of dirty transfer equipment, or
use of dirty lubricants.
S Oxidization: Lubricant oxidization is most
often the result of additive-package depletion,
indicating the oil is aged and in need of change.
S Lubricant levels: If a lubrication system is to
function correctly, the reservoir must be filled to
the correct level. There is usually an accepted
high-fill point and an acceptable low-fill mark,
typically indicated on a dipstick. Low levels indicate leaks, oxidization, or under-filling. High levels
indicate water absorption or over-filling.
S Energy metering: Motor-driven devices, such
as fans and conveyors, will draw more energy if
the driven component bearings are under lubricated. Sensing amperage-energy-draw changes,
using virtual-energy metering, can be set up to
activate an automated lubricator when the amperage increases, and turn off the lubricator once
the amperage drops back to a recognized normal
energy draw state.
As machines become more sophisticated, so
must our approach to lubrication, if the machines are to operate in an optimal state. EP

MARCH 2018


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