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Ice OilThe "Lube-Tips" section of Machinery Lubrication magazine features innovative ideas submitted by our readers. Additional tips can be found in our Lube-Tips email newsletter. If you have a tip to share, email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To receive the Lube-Tips newsletter, subscribe now at

Double Lubricant Life by Reducing the Temperature

The operating temperature of a static or circulated oil bath has a direct impact on the useful lifespan and effectiveness of the lubricant. For every increase of 18 degrees F above 130 degrees F, the rate of chemical reactivity doubles. In practical terms, if you are achieving a two-year life cycle on a charge of hydraulic oil in a tank operating at 136 degrees F and can fnd a way to decrease the temperature of the oil to 118 degrees F, then you can expect to double your hydraulic fluid life.

An easy way to check to see if you have room for improvement is to place your hand on the side of the tank. If it is hot enough that you cannot leave your hand on the tank for more than a couple seconds, then you are operating at roughly 145-150 degrees F. A fan-type heat exchanger can be installed for less than a thousand dollars and, with the right flow and ambient temperature, could reduce tank temperatures to the desired level.

How Oil Mist Can Protect Stored Machines

Oil mist is effective in protecting your stored machines. The Caltex Thailand Refnery added a new dimension to the capabilities of oil mist lubrication by using it to preserve its rotating machines while they were sitting in the construction storage yards. The machine manufacturers connected tubing from the oil mist connections on the machines to connectors on the sides of the shipping crates. A temporary system was connected to the crates upon their arrival to the yard. Typically upon startup, there are numerous bearing failures. In this case, there were virtually none.

Benefits of Polyurea Greases

Polyurea greases have very good oxidation resistance because they don’t contain metal soaps such as calcium, lithium, etc., which are pro-oxidants to varying degrees. They are therefore widely used in lubed-for-life bearings.

Monitor Oil Filter Change Intervals

It is important to monitor your oil flter change intervals. Premature plugging is usually a sign of a 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 should be investigated. Perhaps the seals or breathers need to be serviced or upgraded. In certain cases, the problem may be associated with a change in the performance of the flter from your supplier. Extremely long flter life is as much a concern as flter life that is too short.

Ensure Proper Lubricant with Color-coded Grease Caps

To ensure that the correct lubricant is being utilized, try using colored plastic grease caps. These ft right on the grease ftting and also help keep dirt and/or water off the ftting and hence out of the bearing. The color-coding can be used for the type of grease or the frequency. The caps cost only a few cents each.

Simple Tip for Faster, More Convenient Greasing

Create a lube panel located in a convenient location on or near the machine so hard-to-reach grease fttings can be centrally located using line extensions. This makes greasing the machine faster and more convenient for the operator or lube tech doing the PM. Remember, a PM that is made quick and easy is a PM that gets done.

Why You Should Combine Manual Inspections with Oil Analysis and Particle Counting

Oil analysis and particle counting are critical in unfltered compartments such as heavy equipment fnal drives and differentials. However, if these compartments have magnetic plugs, occasionally the magnets will show a buildup of fuzz and you may have the beginnings of bearing failure while the oil sample remains relatively clean. This is an example of when manual inspection is very important along with oil analysis and particle counting.

Use Tape to Check Reservoir Cleanliness

To check the cleanliness of the inside of a new hydraulic reservoir, take a small strip of transparent adhesive tape and stick it to the surface (roof, side wall or bottom plate) of the reservoir. Firmly press the strip of tape with your thumb so it is in proper contact with the surface. Now peel off the tape and paste it on a white piece of paper. You will fnd that the strip has sampled large particulate contaminants. You can also use it with standard visual comparators, similar to common patch test comparators. With this method, you know whether your tank needs further cleaning. Also, keep in mind that the unaided eye can only see individual particles larger than about 50 microns.

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