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1. A Change in the Quantity of Grease Consumed
Maintenance departments track their grease consumption to monitor and control costs. A change in consumption is a sure sign that your lubrication program is on the right track.
Most organizations are guilty of over-lubricating. Expect lower grease consumption as your program matures. Bad procedures lead to bearings routinely receiving more grease than they’re designed to handle. The excess ends up being pushed into the motor casing or purged onto the floor.
Over lubrication happens when re-greasing intervals are scheduled based on time instead of condition. Control lubrication tasks with ultrasound to monitor condition and maintain optimal friction. The time between greasing intervals increases, resulting in less grease used per bearing.
2. Fewer Lube-Related Failures
Do you track failures and perform root cause analysis?
Organizations with optimized greasing programs experience fewer lube-related failures. Less fixing and fire-fighting translates to more creative time for maintenance. Use that time to bring more machines into the greasing program.
Additionally, with ultrasound you find many non-trendable defects. For example, broken or blocked grease pipes and incorrectly fitted grease paths prevent grease from reaching the bearing.
3. Optimized MRO Spares Management
Your new and improved lubrication program is delivering wins; better control of grease consumption, fewer failures, and more productivity for maintenance. Use this time to study trends and better manage your storeroom.
A decrease in bearing related failures improves spares optimization. Share your ultrasonic lubrication data with your MRO Stores manager to create a plan to reduce the number of emergency parts on hand.
Since you’re taking stock, why not shift some burden to your suppliers? Ask them to confirm your emergency parts against their own stock. If it can be supplied on the same day then it doesn’t need to be on the balance sheet.

4. Increased Number of Machines Monitored
One benefit of an effective lubrication program is time.
• Time allotted to monitoring machines instead of fixing them.
• Time allotted to correctly assessing the real needs for lubrication.
• Time to look at the big picture.
Take for instance, criticality assessment. Many lubrication programs begin with small steps. All the “A” critical machines receive priority, rightly so. But what about the rest? With more time to plan, organize, and schedule, the number of machines acoustically monitored for optimal lubrication increases.
5. Save Time. Combine Acoustic Lubrication and Condition Monitoring
You worked hard for these results. It’s time to use your data for more than just lubrication.
Acoustic lubrication is the proven method to ensure precise bearing lubrication. New technology from SDT, LUBExpert, combines the power of on-board lubrication guidance with Four Condition Indicators for bearing condition assessment.
The time savings from assessing bearing condition during the lubrication process is beyond valuable and another sign your acoustic lubrication program is on the right track.
6. Inspector Confidence at an All-Time High
Reliable machines are the product of an effective lubrication program. You have:
• Managed grease consumption
• Fewer grease related bearing failures
• Optimized MRO spares
• More machines under watch
• Increased data collection intervals
The power of adding ultrasound to your greasing program delivers win after win for reliability. Reliability breeds confidence. More confident inspectors making the right calls and infecting a positive culture throughout the organization.
 

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

When monitoring your bearing lubrication with ultrasound, it is important to watch for very high values in your condition indicators (total RMS and Peak values). After applying grease, both values should decrease proportionately. This is a sign the bearing was under-lubricated. If the total RMS value lowers and the peak value stays relatively the same, then the bearing has a mechanical condition that is generating impacts.

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Bearings produce less friction when they are properly lubricated. But how do we know?

  • How can you be confident that friction forces are where they should be?
  • How can you confidently apply just the right amount of grease to return friction levels to normal?
  • How can you distinguish between a bearing that need grease and a bearing that is failing?

How does Ultrasound help?
Using an ultrasound measurement tool with digital decibel metering is a proven method for:

  • Establishing a historical baseline for friction levels
  • Monitoring changes in friction levels at regular intervals
  • Triggering alarms when friction levels elevate
  • Evaluating data to differentiate failure from friction

Our Ultrasound solutions are designed for budget minded inspectors. However attention to detail, robustness, and quality have not been sacrificed at the expense of low price. Equipped with needle and threaded contact sensors, acoustic lube adapter, and multi-surface magnet, our SDT systems answer the basic needs of lubricators. The non-contact temperature sensor can be used for additional control of bearing condition prior to and after lubrication.
Download Ultrasound Lubrication Technician Handbook

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Lubricating a bearing once per week or once a month may seem like a sensible thing to do. After all, performing scheduled maintenance at regular periods is an age old concept ingrained in each of us early on. Even OEMs still advise best practices based on time intervals to ensure maximum asset lifespan.
The problem with any blanket solution is that they ignore the effects of variables.
Two motors may be the same out of the box but end up in entirely different situations. While one lands in a hot and humid climate, another could be installed in a cold and arid climate. One may be used in a high speed low load application while another at low speeds but with frequent starts and stops.
It is irrational to expect the maintenance needs of one to be the same for another when the conditions they operate in are so different.
Bearings need grease for one reason only; to reduce friction. As long as the lubricant is performing that service well, there should be no need to change it. Yet we frequently do, with catastrophic results.
Re-lubricating a bearing just because your calendar told you “time’s up!” is the first mistake. Monitor ultrasound friction and know when it’s the right time to grease.
Download the Ultrasound Lubrication Technician Handbook

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

Friction is all around us. Without it we would have difficulty to walk, run, or even stand. We need friction to drive our cars and fly our airplanes; and we need friction for our motors to drive pumps and our pumps to push product. So when it comes to our plant assets, friction is both friend and foe.
Lubrication of rolling element bearings is one of the most misunderstood tasks in industry. Can it be true that 40% of bearings never live to their engineered life cycle and bad lubrication practices are a leading cause?
To achieve optimal lubrication we must know:

  • When a bearing needs new grease
  • What quantity of new grease is required
  • And how much is TOO MUCH!

Acoustic Lubrication with ultrasound testing is the technology of choice for Lube-Techs who want to avoid these three common mistakes:
Three Mistakes to Avoid When Lubricating Bearings:

  1. Lubricating based on TIME instead of CONDITION
  2. Over or under lubricating the bearing
  3. Using low quality “Listen-only” ultrasound instruments

To Hear More about implementing a world-class ultrasound greasing program, download Ultrasound Lube Technician Handbook.

by Allan Rienstra - SDT Ultrasound Solutions

What are some of the common “Root Causes” of bearing failures?

  • Imbalance and misalignment account for a large percentage of premature bearing failures
  • Improper lubrication
  • Improper mounting methods (using a hammer,  etc.)
  • Improper application for the installed bearing
  • Manufacturing defects
  • Excessive vibration after installation
  • Excessive vibration before installation (during storage, transportation, etc.)
  • Exceeding normal bearing life expectancy

Download our Calculations of Bearing Defect Frequencies

by Trent Phillips

Machinery Lubrication, September • October 2010
In his book “Machinery Vibration: Alignment”, noted author and expert on precision alignment Victor Wowk illustrates the relationship between misalignment and loss of machine life. Of course, some equipment is more or less tolerant to misalignment depending on bearing type and coupling type. Likewise, the effects of misalignment are magnified as a function of speed.
Read entire article Shaft Alignment has a Bearing on Lubrication Excellence

by Ana Maria Delgado, CRL