Lubrication System: Types, Uses, Features and Benefits

Lubrication is used to control friction and wear by introducing a friction-reducing layer between moving surfaces in contact. Various substances can be used to lubricate, although oil and grease are the most effective.

This is a broad overview of lubrication, which includes numerous features and factors ranging from the installation of a specific lubrication system to the type of lubricant employed.

What is a lubrication system?

An automatic lubrication system, also known as a centralized lubrication system, is described as the controlled and precise delivery of a specific lubricant to a specific spot at an exact moment using the correct manner, while the machine remains functioning.

A lubrication system's structure is made up of a pumping element, a lubricating tank, an electrical control device, dividers, distributors, and distribution lines (pipes and fittings).

The main purpose of lubrication

An efficient lubrication system reduces:
- friction and wear of components
- energy and lubricant consumption
- the generation of heat
- the noise from friction
- corrosion damage and avoids the insertion of contaminants at the work site.

Furthermore, it ensures benefits such as increased machine performance, improved working accuracy, increased machine life, and reduced maintenance expenses and downtimes.

The types of lubrication systems

Various lubrication systems have been invented and improved throughout the years to meet the specific needs of machines and various industrial sectors.

These are the five main areas of lubrication systems solutions:

Grease lubrication system: The greasing pumps in this system deliver the appropriate amount of grease to the lubrication locations. Dual Line and Progressive systems are the most common types of grease lubrication systems.

The Dual Line system has a modular architecture that allows for simple system configuration and expansion, and it is ideal for industries with huge machinery and several lubrication sites, such as the iron and steel sector, cement plants, platforms, large cranes, and freight handling equipment.

The flow of a grease pump is distributed into different "progressive outlets" via a Progressive system, which employs a progressive spool arrangement. The modular approach enables rapid replacement of a piece without disrupting the production cycle. It is appropriate for small, medium, and big machines that require complete control of plant operations (machine tools, woodworking machines, presses, and textile machines).

Oil lubrication system: In total loss lubrication, oil or fluid grease forms a thin oil film that protects parts. An automatic lubrication system with an electric oil pump replaces it at regular intervals.

The two primary systems used in oil lubrication are the single-line system and the 33V system.

The Single Line system is a simple and effective system that provides many options for a wide range of application needs. It is appropriate for tiny machines in protected environments with few lubrication points and limited space, such as tools, woodworking equipment, textile machinery, and printing machines.

The 33V system is a precision dosing system that delivers a precise amount of oil straight to the lubrication spots. It is appropriate for small and medium-sized devices like woodworking machines, textile machines, and presses.

MQL (minimal quantity lubrication) system and near dry machining: An innovative new technology that has replaced traditional and pure oil fluid systems in machining environments. Fundamentally, a controlled compressed air stream transports small amounts of cutting oil in an "aerosol" format to the cutting surface either externally or inside (through tool lubrication).

DropsA recently developed and patented the "MaXtreme," a new MQL lubrication system that generates ultra-fine aerosol oil particles using unique Vortex technology. It is appropriate for the most demanding and high-performance near-dry machining operations that require minimum external and internal lubrication.

Air-Oil lubrication system: This system comprises of a controlled air-oil stream that is used for cooling as well as transporting small amounts of air-oil particles to the lubrication spots. It is appropriate for huge machinery in heavy industry as well as machine tools.

The goal of an oil recirculation system is to give lubrication and cooling to bearings and gears. An electric pump guarantees enough lubricant pressure in the main line, where oil flow is also detected and adjusted.

Lubricant can be returned from the bearings to the pumping station through a return line, where it is filtered and cooled (by heat exchangers) before being injected again at the lubrication locations.

This system is intended for specific applications, such as lubricating paper mills, machine tools, and gearboxes with many points.

Another lubrication system, commonly used in oil refineries, can be added to the previous one. This is the Oil Mist System, a cutting-edge technology for automating the manufacture and distribution of atomized oil particles (Nebol).

For a high-quality, cost-effective lubricating solution, these particles are given directly to the bearings and metal surface.

How to choose a lubrication system?

The following information is required to help estimate the production needs of your machinery in order to select the proper lubrication solution:

  • Types of lubricant: oil or grease, and its features (technical sheet)
  • Types of lubrication: total loss, air-oil, grease, recirculating oil
  • Points to lubricate: number, position, type
  • Distance: between the pump and various lubrication points
  • Amount of lubricant: per single point or define the proportionality between the points.
  • Type of supply: manual, electric, pneumatic
  • Type of management: manual, automatic with or without electrical control panel
  • Particular condition: temperature, ATEX etc…

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