Happy Halloween – Nightmares of Lubrication

We want to help you avoid bone-chilling problems that we live to see in our daily work, so you never have to experience horrifying shutdowns of your components and machines. Check out how fast lubrication nightmares become reality:

Source of error: Impurities in the lubricant
Impurities such as dust and dirt, water, fuel or other liquids in the oil are not always immediately visible. But their effects are sometimes serious.

Nightmare of lubrication:
The contaminated oil causes wear and leads to an increasing concentration of metal abrasion. If metal particles remain due to filters and insufficient separation in the oil, this leads to further wear.

Persistent particle contamination results in seal damage and leakage, allowing steam to penetrate and later emulsify in the oil. Contamination in the oil promotes emulsification.

The combination of emulsified water and particle impurities weakens the oil’s air separation ability and leads to an increasing air/oil ratio. The dispersed air reduces the oil’s ability to cool and, among other things, reduces the flow efficiency of the oil pumps.

Low cost oils have a rather short oxidative life compared to premium lubricants due to the underlying base oils and additives. Contamination with water and wear particles further shortens the oxidative life. The air dissolved in oil and rising temperatures further contribute to the problem. This results in insoluble oxidation products, varnish and deposits on components.

If the oil flow is obstructed by deposits, lubrication is impaired, friction increased and heat increased. Varnish and deposits insulate and prevent efficient heat transfer through the lubricant.

The increased oil temperature in combination with dispersed air, metal particles and emulsified water accelerated the oxidation rate of the oil and the formation of deposits. If the signs are not detected by regular oil analyses, the lubrication is permanently inadequate and the component ultimately fails completely.

Possible causes:
Dust and dirt can penetrate, among other things, because:

  • The containers have not been stored clean, dry and tightly closed.
  • The oil has not been filtered again before filling in a dusty environment.
  • Dirty containers have been used for refilling or refilling.
  • Seals are defective.
  • Particles have penetrated from sandblasting.
  • Filters are insufficient, dirty or defective. The filter has not been replaced.
  • The system/oil pan was not cleaned during the last oil change.
  • Pipes/hoses are damaged or clamps are not properly tightened.
  • The plug of the oil filler neck is not seated or missing.
  • The oil dipstick is missing or its seal is defective

Water often enters the lubricant in the same way as dirt particles:

  • Oil barrels were stored standing outside and water penetrated.
  • Fresh oil was exposed to strong temperature fluctuations during storage and condensation formed.
  • Due to low operating temperatures, long standstill periods or blocked
  • The tank or housing has been deaerated and condensation has formed.
  • There are leaks in the cooling system.
  • Water separator filter, centrifuge or condensate drain are not working properly or have not been activated.

Therefore the application technicians of ADDINOL recommend in particular: to pay attention to the correct storage of the lubricants and the proper use with oil changes, to use high-quality lubricants which correspond to the technical requirements and the operating conditions of the application as well as not to underestimate the advantages of regular oil analyses and their professional evaluation.

published: 31.10.2019


Jana Dudda


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