Efficient Plant May 2020 - 26

feature | lubrication strategies

Use desiccant breathers to
prevent free and emulsified
water in idled equipment
from causing rust and
corrosion on bearings and
other metal surfaces.

26

EP2005flube.indd 26

ucts, pulp and paper, and building products, natural
disasters drive increased, not decreased production.
While operating equipment to meet peak demands,
maintenance intervals may be deferred to a later date,
production line speeds may be increased, and a shift
in the grade or type of products being manufactured
may change. Layer that on top of a possible reduction
in available labor and there is recipe for a "natural
disaster" for our critical production assets.
When it comes to lubrication, there are things that
can be done to mitigate the potential negative impact
of a change in maintenance schedules. The first thing
to do is to take a critical look at what work needs to
be done. During disruptive times, lubrication is often
the first thing that is deferred. However, while missing
an oil sample for a month or two may not induce a
failure, not greasing a critical high-speed fan or motor
for six to eight weeks may be devastating.
Focus on high-speed assets; the time between a
problem becoming apparent (point P on the P-F
curve) and functional failure (point F) is much shorter for high-speed assets.
Oil flow rates should also be checked. For circulating lubrication systems, such as those found on paper
machines, oil flow is matched to operating speed. As
speeds increase, it may be necessary to adjust oil flow
rates to match. This is particularly important where
high temperatures are present, such as dryer cans.
Also, take a look at oil changes. Assuming you
have been taking routine oil samples, let oil analysis

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guide oil-change decisions rather than relying on
time-based oil changes. However, what happens if an
oil change becomes necessary, but production won't
(can't) release equipment to maintenance? While
typically not recommended, oil changes can be done
"on-the-fly" using a process referred to as sweetening.
By draining 10% or less of the oil in the sump or reservoir at any given time and replacing it with fresh oil,
it may be possible to limp along for several months
without a complete oil change. While this is relatively
straightforward in systems with large oil volumes,
extreme caution is required for smaller wet-sump
systems, such as gearboxes and pumps, to prevent
lubricant starvation.
Where oil changes are not possible or where an
active wear problem is occurring, consider using an
offline filtration system. While the filtration system
will not necessarily fix the underlying root cause of
the problem, it may have the effect of "flattening"
the P-F curve, extending the time between point P
(when the issue becomes apparent) and the point of
functional failure (point F).

PROTECT IDLE EQUIPMENT
For many industries, economic downturns or natural
disasters mean that some equipment will inevitably be
idled for a period of time. Taking the time to protect
equipment that is being shut down means that once
economic conditions improve, equipment will be
ready for action. Just like making sure critical bearings still get greased during busy times, ensuring that
bearings aren't over-greased during idle periods is just
as important.
PM schedules should be adjusted to ensure that we
are not blindly adding grease because "our CMMS
system says so." For bearings that are lubricated
automatically, make sure that the lubrication system
is turned off when equipment is not running. While
larger series and parallel multipoint systems are often
tied to our PLC system, meaning they shut down
when the machine is not running, some smaller systems, such as single-point lubricators on gravity-feed
oilers, may need to be manually turned off.
For idled equipment, the critical time is when the
oil and machine cool down. As the oil temperature
drops, the air inside the oil sump or reservoir will

MAY 2020

5/1/20 10:26 AM


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Efficient Plant May 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Efficient Plant May 2020

Efficient Plant May 2020 - loc
Efficient Plant May 2020 - Cover1
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Efficient Plant May 2020 - IFC
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