Expert Advice


Eliminate Cartridge Changes
Consider this if your workshop stores grease in bulk, such as in a powerlube system. To save time and money on grease cartridges, and reduce waste with messy cartridge changes, drill and tap a port for a grease nipple on top of the grease gun. You can now top-off from the powerlube system instead of changing the cartridge. This prevents contamination because you don't have to unscrew the head to remove the cartridge.

Kevin Baker
New Zealand

Controlling Contamination
Portable transfer/filter carts are versatile and can be used for more than just transferring fluids. Other possible uses include offline filtration, cleaning stored lubes, flushing after machine repair and rebuild, flushing during equipment commissioning and draining a reservoir or sump.

The presence of water in lubricating oils can shorten bearing life down to one percent or less, depending on the quantity of water in the lubricant.

Monitor your filter change interval. Premature plugging is usually a sign of a potential problem that merits further investigation. This may be caused by airborne dust coming from nearby construction or a prolonged dry spell raising atmospheric dust levels. Whatever the source of dirt, the root cause needs to be investigated and perhaps the seals or breathers need to be serviced or upgraded accordingly.

Martin Williamson,
Noria Corporation UK

Detecting Imbalance
Q. I have a question regarding why a lab may instruct a person to check the shaft alignment for possible imbalance. I also use vibration analysis as a tool and I ask myself how one might use oil analysis as an indicator for out-of-tolerance vibration levels such as imbalance. What oil analysis test result would indicate this?

Dave Tiffany
Maintenance Specialist
City of Ft. Collins, Colo.

A. Actually, the only way you will detect imbalance with oil analysis is when the component starts wearing, and obviously one does not want to be in that situation. Imbalance is a phenomenon in which vibration analysis is the leading indicator, and oil analysis is the lagging one. Based on my oil analysis background, and because I’ve seen many samples with acceptable lube condition, acceptable contamination levels and obvious wear - checking for imbalance is a task I regularly suggest in the situation you described, particularly on high-speed equipment. It is not possible to directly check for imbalance using oil analysis. Perhaps a recommendation should be worded like “check for shaft imbalance/misalignment with vibration analysis.”
 This is an excellent example of why one should use complimentary technologies to ensure your reliability goals are met.

Ashley Mayer
Noria Corporation