Most engineers didn’t go to school aiming to become economists, but that’s often what it feels like once you take on a managerial role. High-performance equipment is expensive, and downtime is costlier than ever.
Lubrication is a fact of life, as is maintenance, whether it’s an airliner on the ramp or a conveyor on an assembly line, and the overall cost of preventative maintenance is always in play. High temperature applications make the problem even worse. At 400° F and higher, conventional hydrocarbon lubricant formulations aren’t enough.
For the difficult environments found in aerospace and aviation applications, for example, high-performance perfluoropolyether (PFPE) lubricants can perform under extreme temperatures, pressures and exposure to harsh chemicals. Often, advanced PFPE lubes are the only solution, but what about cases where hydrocarbon formulations can survive? In this case, there are still strong cost and performance advantages to going with higher performance products.
Consider the true cost of lubrication in manufacturing.
Maintaining Lubrication in Extreme Environments
Machines can fail for any number of reasons, but improper lubrication is often a leading culprit. This is commonly due to environmental factors such as temperature, pressure or exposure to harsh chemicals, or due to a lack of scheduled maintenance and relubrication.
Extreme environments pose a significant challenge for keeping machines properly lubricated. Steam turbine controls, for example, will see wear on cam shafts, valve lift bar anti-friction bushings and gears if they’re using conventional lubricants, leading to excessive clearance, rough response and potential seizing of the governor control.
Industrial Lubricants That Last
In manufacturing, as in life, the most expensive solutions aren’t necessarily the best ones; but in some cases—like lubrication—you really do get what you pay for. In addition to reducing downtime due to lubrication failure and cutting down on maintenance and relubrication cycles, there are other benefits to using high-performance PFPE lubricants.
For example, if you don’t have to re-lubricate a bearing while the line is running, you also don’t have to guard it, reducing costs.