Maintenance Technology May 2016 - (Page 29)

LUBRICATION STRATEGIES Respect the Cornerstones of Manual Grease Lubrication Ken Bannister MEch Eng (UK) CMRP, MLE Contributing Editor Effective manual greasing technologies and practices remain crucial to equipment health in countless plants. THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY proved to be a truly innovative era for machine life-cycle management, thanks, in part, to two competing inventions. Collectively, they forever changed the way machines were lubricated. The idea was so simple and effective that even now, as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the technology's launch, it continues to be the most popular method of lubricant application in the world. A short history lesson The year was 1916; the place was Chicago. Tasked with the time-consuming, repetitive refilling of grease cups on die-cast machines in his family's business, Arthur Gulborg was motivated to develop a less-taxing lubrication process. He achieved his goal through a portable grease-cup design that incorporated a large cylindrical-shaped reservoir with a screw-style end-cap (similar to the original grease cups) and a proprietary opposite-end fitting that mated to a bearing-point fitting made from a braided metal hose. Gulborg called his invention the "Alemite High-Pressure Lubricating System" (based on the name of the family business). Initially pitched to the military for lubricating transport trucks, the Alemite system received a large boost in sales with the introduction of a "button-head" style grease fitting, which was later adopted as standard equipment on passenger cars in the early 1920s. As Gulborg was beginning to enjoy success with his portable manual-greasing system, over in Cleveland, OH, Oscar Zerk was busy inventing one that incorporated a compact nipple- or ball-shaped grease connector. That uniquely shaped component let the specially designed grease-gun coupler "snap" onto the connector, allowing high-pressure grease transfer between the gun and fitting without the need to "push" hold the coupler in place as in Zerk's earlier designs. This innovation, appropriately, became known as a zerk fitting. When Alemite acquired the Allyn-Zerk Co., in 1924, it combined its own updated lever-action grease-gun technology with the popular compact grease nipple and coupler design. The two technologies have remained faithful to their original design to this day. (Alemite is now a business of SKF, Stockholm and Kulpsville, PA.) Paradoxically, the inexpensive, robust, and relatively straightforward design of these manual-greasing solutions MAY 2016 One hundred years ago, the grease-gun innovations of Oscar Zerk and Alemite's Arthur Gulborg forever changed the way machines were lubricated. Today, those combined technologies continue to reflect the most popular method of lubricant application in the world. has, over the years, lulled many technicians into the belief that they are holding a "connect and pump" system that requires little or no training or understanding to operate effectively. On the contrary: Manual greasing requires an "engineered" and disciplined approach if it is to effectively extend bearing life. In untrained hands, a grease gun is a liability that will produce a negative effect on bearing life. Ensuring best practices Successful manual-greasing programs are built on four simple cornerstones: Cornerstone #1: Consolidation. At any one time, a typical plant with no lubrication-management program in place could have dozens of standard and specialty greases on hand and available for use. If an exact grease specification is not identified on the work order, the grease gun, or the bearing point to be lubricated, the chances of cross contamination through use of two-or more-greases in the same bearing are high. All greases are not created equal. Many are incompatible MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY.COM | 29 http://www.MAINTENANCETECHNOLOGY.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology May 2016

On The Floor
A 40% Production Boost From Reliability
Beck Helps Women Excel In Engineering
Unleash Your Plant's Hidden Potential
Right-Size Your Maintenance Organization
Respect The Cornerstones of Manual Grease Lubrication
Motor Connection Advice
Maximize Millennial Workers
Compressed Air Filtration
Pneumatic Tubing & Hose Specs
Ad Index
Final Thought

Maintenance Technology May 2016