Understanding Industrial Grease Lubrication

When any machine component moves across another part within an assembly, friction is an inevitable force that can wear down components over time and cause them to lose functionality. To prevent such issues, industrial lubricants such as grease may be used to coat components in order to mitigate friction and wear. Industrial grease is also capable of withstanding heat, thermal radiation, moisture, and corrosive materials depending on their makeup, thus they can be highly beneficial for maintaining the service lives of assemblies.

According to the American Society for Testing and Materials, a lubricating grease is defined as a “solid to semifluid product of dispersion of a thickening agent in a liquid lubricant” (ASTM D 288, Standard Definitions of Terms Relating to Petroleum). Creating grease takes a number of interactions that occur between a base oil, thickener, and various additives. Depending upon how the grease is produced and its makeup, the resulting product may differ. Generally speaking, however, around 3/4ths of the mixture will consist of the base oil, while the thickener and additives make up the final portion. Additives are important for increasing the performance of a grease oil for a specific application, and such elements may increase corrosion resistance, load capacities, and other such characteristics. For their use, industrial grease and lubricants can often be found in industries such as food processing, pharmaceuticals, mining, oil & gas, and more.

The base oil of the mixture is what allows for lubrication to be possible. Mineral oils, synthetic oils, and biobased oils all serve as common bases for mixtures, though a majority of products rely on mineral oils that are blended together with a soap thickener. Nevertheless, both synthetic and biobased industrial greases have been rising in demand in recent years. While each base serves well for lubrication, the choice will often depend upon the application and what viscosity is needed for optimal performance. Typically, high viscosity bases are most beneficial for heavy loads and slow speeds, while low viscosity bases excel in high speeds.

When a thickener is added to a base oil, the grease will attain a more solidified or semifluid structure that can enable it to perform more efficiently as a lubricant. Depending upon the amount of thickener that is added to a solution and the viscosity of the oil, the consistency of the final product will differ. Consistency is one of the most important aspects of industrial grease, as it will determine the product’s ability to be pumped into systems and avoid leaking. Metallic soaps serve as the most common thickeners, and their common types include sodium, clay, lithium, aluminum, calcium, and polyurea.

While the base oil and thickener are both paramount to the basic functionality of industrial grease, additives are still very important to “fine-tune” a lubricant to achieve optimal characteristics for a given application. Depending upon the additive, such materials can increase beneficial properties, deter undesirable characteristics, and may add new capabilities to the final product. Additives rarely need to be added in large amounts to affect grease properties, and common uses for additives include inhibiting oxidation and rust, increasing pressure capacities, mitigating friction, and reducing wear.

Grease lubricants are highly beneficial for numerous machines and equipment for protecting moving assemblies from friction and wear. When you are ready to purchase reliable lubricants and grease products for your applications, the experts at Industrial Parts Circuit can help you secure everything that you have been searching for with competitive pricing and rapid lead-times. As a premier purchasing platform with stringent quality control standards and practices, we proudly operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 0056B certification and accreditation. To receive a personalized quote on the items that you are most interested in, fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website and a dedicated account manager will be in touch within 15 minutes.


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