Industrial machinery is responsible for a significant part of society’s functioning. And, it’s incredible to realize that all of that relies on one often overlooked detail: machinery lubricant.
Without proper lubricant, those billions or trillions of dollars worth of machinery holding up our society would quickly shear themselves into disrepair and uselessness.
Read on to learn about three kinds of industrial machinery lubricants and how they work!
Types of Lubricants and Their Uses
There are essentially two classes of lubricants — oils and greases. Oils come in synthetic, mineral, and vegetable categories. Greases can also be made with various base oils, but are thicker.
Vegetable oil lubricants are less commonly used in the industrial machinery field. We’ll look primarily at synthetic lubricants, mineral lubricants, and grease lubricants, starting with synthetic lubricants.
Synthetic Machine Lubricant
Synthetic oils cannot be found in the natural environment. Instead, they are created by scientists and engineers to fulfill extreme need purposes.
Some industrial processes create incredible extremes in heat and friction. Natural oils may be able to cut it for ordinary purposes, but they won’t provide the extremely high flash point, fire resistance, and other qualities of synthetic oils.
While synthetic oil would be perfectly functional for everyday use, it’s probably best to stick to natural alternatives in such cases. Synthetic lubricants can be highly toxic and require a great deal of effort to dispose of properly. On top of that, they can be costly.
Mineral Oil Lubricant
Mineral oils are created out of crude oil. Depending on the level of performance you need out of them, they can only partially processed, or they can be highly refined.
Within the mineral oil category, there are various types, like naphthenic oils, which are suitable for processes that create only moderate temperatures.
Due in part to their natural occurrence in nature, mineral oils are far less toxic than synthetic oils. They are also far cheaper. Plus, mineral oils can provide just as high a level of performance as synthetic oils.
As long as you use them for standard industrial applications that don’t create extreme environments, a mineral lubricant can provide top tier performance.
While oils can come in different levels of viscosity, or thickness, they are all essentially liquids. Grease is closer to a solid, which gives it several pros and cons.
If a contaminant touches oil, the oil may pick it up and allow it to float throughout the rest of the lubricant. Grease, on the other hand, will seal contaminants out.
Oil leaks are a fairly common occurrence, while grease sticks to the surfaces it’s applied to, so it can’t fall away.
On the other hand, grease’s greater thickness means that it creates more friction than oil. This leads to higher heating and lower speeds in industrial processes.
Find the Best Machinery Lubricant For Your Needs
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