Top 3 Misconceptions Around Condition-Based Lubrication

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Proper lubrication plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth and efficient operation of industrial equipment. Over the years, condition-based lubrication with ultrasound has emerged as a powerful strategy for optimizing lubrication practices. However, there are several common misconceptions surrounding this approach. In this article, we will debunk three prevalent misconceptions about condition-based lubrication. 

Misconception: Only machine experts can perform condition-based lubrication. 

One of the most common misconceptions is that only highly skilled machine experts can effectively implement condition-based lubrication practices. While expertise certainly helps, condition-based lubrication is not limited to a select group of individuals. The reality is condition monitoring technology is becoming increasingly user-friendly and intuitive to the point where extensive training is no longer needed.   

Ultrasound enables operators to assess the real-time condition of the bearing and equipment, detecting potential issues before they escalate into major problems. There are a few different ways to use ultrasound such as through a digital grease caddy or “point and listen” inspection tools, but one of the most user-friendly methods is sensor technology. Sensors are easy to install and allow continuous condition-monitoring of bearings. Users view the data on their mobile phone or tablet through a cloud-based platform and determine when lubrication is needed based on the decibel level picked up from friction occurring in the bearing—no training required. To take it a step further, UE Systems’ OnTrak System offers a sensor coupled with a single-point lubricator that dispenses grease automatically when friction is detected, making it a nearly hands-off approach.  

By breaking down the misconception that only machine experts can perform condition-based lubrication, we empower a broader range of professionals to take advantage of this valuable maintenance approach. 

Misconception: New equipment doesn't need condition-based lubrication. 

Another common misconception is that new equipment doesn't require condition-based lubrication since it is assumed to be in excellent working condition. However, this notion overlooks the fact that even brand-new machinery can exhibit anomalies or defects that affect its lubrication needs. 

During the manufacturing and assembly process, contaminants or small particles may find their way into critical components. These particles can accelerate wear, impair lubrication, and compromise the equipment's performance. Additionally, new equipment can be exposed to harsh conditions during transportation or installation, leading to potential issues that may go unnoticed without proper condition monitoring. 

By implementing condition-based lubrication from the beginning, maintenance professionals can identify and address any potential problems early on, ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of new equipment. This proactive approach can help avoid costly breakdowns and improve overall reliability. 

Misconception: Condition monitoring is unnecessary as long as you follow your PMs. 

While preventive maintenance is an essential part of any maintenance strategy, relying solely on PMs can be insufficient in capturing the full picture of a machine's health. Traditional time-based PMs involve regularly scheduled maintenance tasks, such as lubricant replacement or component inspections. While these activities are valuable, they may not capture sudden changes or emerging issues that can only be detected through continuous monitoring. 

Condition-based lubrication complements preventive maintenance by providing real-time insights into the condition of the bearing and machinery. By analyzing data collected from condition monitoring techniques, maintenance professionals can identify abnormalities, variations, or trends that might indicate impending failures or the need for adjustments in lubrication practices. 

Rather than relying solely on fixed schedules, condition-based lubrication allows for a more dynamic and responsive maintenance approach. It enables operators to make informed decisions based on the actual condition of the machinery, leading to increased reliability, reduced downtime, and improved overall efficiency. 

Introducing UE Systems OnTrak System for Condition-Based Lubrication 

UE Systems Ontrak SmartLube: Innovative Remote Bearing Monitoring & Lubrication Solution

To implement effective condition-based lubrication, organizations should leverage advanced technologies and solutions. A revolutionary solution is the UE Systems OnTrak System. The OnTrak System uses ultrasonic technology to detect and analyze friction and wear in machinery. By monitoring changes in decibel level emitted by friction, the system provides valuable insights into lubrication needs and even greases the bearings remotely, allowing maintenance professionals to optimize lubrication intervals and volumes. This proactive approach minimizes the risk of equipment failure, reduces downtime, and extends the lifespan of critical assets. 

Bottom Line 

Condition-based lubrication offers numerous advantages over traditional time-based approaches. By dispelling common misconceptions surrounding this strategy, we can empower a wider range of maintenance professionals to leverage the benefits of real-time condition monitoring and optimize lubrication practices. Implementing reliable solutions like the UE Systems OnTrak System can further enhance the effectiveness of condition-based lubrication, leading to improved equipment performance and reduced maintenance costs. 


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