Everything You Need to Know About Machinery Lubricants

By January 14, 2020Blog

No matter what industry you work in, there’s a high chance that your business relies on machinery in some way. Whether you run a farm that uses tractors to lift hay bales or your logistics company relies upon a fleet of vehicles to transport cargo from A to B, you will likely need machinery to ensure the smooth running of your organisation.

With this in mind, you will certainly need to keep your machinery well-maintained at all times. Failing to do so will surely cause problems in your production and supply chain, costing your company time, money and customer loyalty. One of the most effective ways to maintain your machinery and keep it in good condition is to keep it oiled with the correct lubricants.

Interested in the importance of machinery lubricants? Here’s everything you need to know:

Why do you need machinery lubricants?

Whenever two surfaces rub together, they create a force called friction. There are two types of friction: static friction, which is the force created by two surfaces moving against each other, and kinetic friction, which is the force created by the movement of two dynamic objects. Put simply, friction is a force which creates resistance to movement.

Friction is extremely useful in many circumstances, such as when you’re walking along a polished floor. With enough friction between your shoes and the floor surface, you shouldn’t slip over. Additionally, when you want to stop or slow the movement of a machine, such as a tractor or lorry, you will rely on the friction created between the vehicle’s brake pads and brake disks to do so.

Despite this, there are situations where excessive force can lead to damage. Over time, continuous use of your business’ machinery can cause components to develop general wear and tear which, while inevitable, should be prevented for as long as possible. Repairing mechanical machinery is time-consuming and costly and is something you can avoid by lubricating components frequently.

How does lubrication work?

How do lubricants prevent wear and tear? Put simply, they make it easier for two surfaces to move against each other. Ultimately, lubricants form a barrier between mechanical components and make them more slippery, which makes it more difficult for them to resist movement. In turn, this reduces the friction created between the mechanical parts.

With reduced friction, it becomes easier for them to move without becoming worn down. Corrosion is something you want to avoid when using expensive machinery, as over time, metal parts can wear down and start to grind against other important components, causing broken parts and excessive heat production. By applying the correct type of lubricant to your business’ machinery, you can take some of the pressure off the moving parts and keep them in better condition.

Types of machinery lubricants and their properties

No matter what industry you work in, making sure you choose the right lubricant for your machinery is essential. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution and you’ll need to do your research. When deciding which lubricant to opt for, there are two main types to choose from: oil and grease. Some of the main differences include:

Oil-based lubricants

Oil lubricants are produced by mixing oils derived from crude oil or petroleum and additives to form a useful barrier between two moving objects. Typically, oil-based lubricants, which are produced from either synthetic or mineral oils, are used to lubricate machines that run at high speeds. These include vehicles and hydraulic systems.

Due to the fact that oils have a low viscosity, you are not advised to use them in environments which need to be kept clean; oils can drip and pool, which could be unsafe in particular environments.

Grease-based lubricants

Grease lubricants are often manufactured using oil and thickeners, and as a result, are thicker and more adhesive than oil. Their thickness means they offer more protective qualities than oil-based lubricants and can help to prevent metal corrosion. It’s best to use grease lubricants in situations where you need to prevent contaminants from penetrating your machinery or you require the lubricant to stay in place for a long time.

However, as grease is more adhesive than oil, it’s not as effective a lubricant for machinery operating at quick speeds. Instead, its stickiness can cause components to resist movement. For this reason, it is best used to lubricate smaller parts, such as bearings and linkages.

Commercial lubricants for different industries

Whether your machinery requires oil or grease-based lubricants will depend on your equipment’s properties and how it’s used. Below, we discuss some of the properties to consider depending on the industry you work in.

  • Automotive: When choosing the right lubricant for automotive equipment, you need to think about the key mechanical components of vehicles such as brakes, exhaust pipes, steering systems and the engine. The chosen lubricant must be able to withstand high speeds and temperatures while keeping the components clean, which is why oil is primarily used. Examples of automotive lubricants include engine oil, gear fluid, hydraulic fluid and brake fluid.

  • Marine: It’s highly important that any lubricant used within the marine sector can function well in high-pressure environments and at high speeds. For this reason, oil lubricants are typically used, such as crosshead cylinder oils and trunk piston engine oils. However, there are many applications, such as the lubrication of ship bearings, which require grease for its water-resistant properties and ability to seal components off from contaminants.

  • Agriculture: The agricultural industry is another sector which relies heavily on the use of mechanical equipment, including irrigation tools, field cultivators, tractors and balers. Both oil and grease lubricants have many applications within this sector; gear fluids, transmission oils engine oils and hydraulic oils are required for fast-moving equipment, while lubricants like calcium grease are used for machine bearings and harvesters.

  • Industry: If you work in the industrial sector, you’ll know just how important it is to keep your machinery well-lubricated. As the mechanical equipment used in factories and processing plants operate at high temperatures and force, lubricant oils are typically used. Depending on the machinery you use, these may include hydraulic oils, gear oils, turbine oils and air compressor oils.

When choosing the right lubricant oil for your business’ machinery, it’s always recommended that you discuss your requirements with a reliable lubricant supplier.

How to find a trusted lubricant oil supplier

One of the most important steps towards finding the right lubricant oil for your machinery is to find a trusted supplier. As an established and reliable lubricants supplier ourselves, we’ve listed below some of the factors to consider when finding a company.

  • Experience: Before working with a company, make sure they have plenty of experience in the industry. You want to make sure your chosen suppliers are going to deliver your purchases in a timely and efficient manner.

  • Testimonials: What have previous customers said about their experience? If the company in question has lots of negative customer reviews and testimonials, it’s time to look elsewhere.

  • Stock: It’s important to make sure your chosen suppliers stock a variety of lubricants from leading brands and can deliver the volume you need.

  • Delivery: It’s imperative that your chosen supplier offers a delivery service. Otherwise, you’ll be responsible for transporting large volumes of fuel and lubricants yourself.

  • Budget: Before you commit to working with a supplier, make sure you receive a free quote. This will give you the chance to compare their prices with those of their competitors.

With a top-quality service and competitive prices, we at Stoddards are proud to be the go-to lubricant and fuel supplier in the Stoke-on-Trent area. We offer same and next day delivery options for a range of commercial lubricant oils, available in volumes from one litre to 1000 litres, in addition to bottled gas, oil tanks, Adblue and fuel.

We also offer a pick-up service from our depot in Cheadle, so you can fit your lubricant or fuel collection around your business’ commitments. For more information about our range of services, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Stoddards today.



More posts by RICK McKAY