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March - April 2010


Features in Detail
4 As I See It
Ban the Can: Sealable, Reusable
Oil Containers are Smarter Option
Use of traditional oil cans serves as a constant reminder
of maintenance neglect and program stagnation.

8 Viewpoint
Answers to Your Questions About Lubrication-
related Varnish and Varnish Removal
Everyone seems to be talking about varnish. But, what is
it? What causes it? And most importantly, how can it be
prevented and eliminated?

10 The Exponent
Human Factors Engineering:
12 Cover Story The Next Frontier in Reliability
All in the Family Human factors account for 75 to 80% of what goes
Toyotas lift truck manufacturing plant in Columbus, Ind., deserves notice for efforts wrong in the factory. We must align our procedures,
to improve its maintenance personnel, preventive maintenance tasks and equipment training and supervision to address that.
lubrication. Editor-in-chief Paul V. Arnold explains it all in this in-depth case study.
24 Hydraulics at Work
4 32 How to Define a Machines
Optimum Operating Viscosity Range
Determining this range and operating within it is the
ultimate goal for hydraulics users.

26 From the Field

The Rights and Wrongs of Greasing:
From Selection to Application
A proper greasing strategy should include fundamental
methods along with some new technologies.
38 Contamination Control
Addressing Oil Contamination
in Paper Machine Applications
This article explains methods to prevent and remove
water contamination from oil.

44 Perspective
The Dos and Donts of Oil Sampling
Jason Kopschinsky provides simple rules for this impor-
Editorial Features Departments tant task.
2 Editors column 38 Contamination 22 Product News
4 As I See It Control 30 Product Spotlight 46 Back Page Basics
8 Viewpoint 42 Certification News 32 Lube-Tips An Overview of Oil Level Sensors
10 The Exponent 44 Perspective 34 Product Supermarket and How They Work
24 Hydraulics at Work 46 Back Page Basics 36 Crossword Puzzler Jeremy Wright helps you better understand sensors for
26 From the Field oil applications.

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 1


Customer Service: What Are

People Saying About You?

Most people at Energizers battery Whos the biggest fan of filtration now out
A mericans are lousy at customer service.
That is a generalization, but it is a trait
that is substantiated in survey after survey.
manufacturing plant in Missouri speak
highly of predictive maintenance steward
in the production area?
Additional ideas to improve customer
We are used to bad service, but that Rick Staley. It may be because this lubrica- service are out there. Steal them. Use them.
doesnt make instances of it any less memo- tion expert embodies a philosophy that Maintenance leaders at Toyota and
rable. I find it difficult to recall what I had for Walt Disney lived by: Do what you do so other companies that Ive visited employ a
dinner two nights ago, but I can tell you that I well that they will want to see it again and neat concept which works especially well for
ordered a cheeseburger with no ketchup and bring their friends. Rick isnt shy about large plants with big departmental work-
no mustard from a fast food joint two weeks inviting operations personnel to stick forces and/or those that use shift/task
ago and received a cheeseburger with double around when hes working on a piece of rotation. It ties into a customer service
ketchup and double mustard. Or that in their machinery. He wants them to see what creed of Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang: It
January the cable guy who was supposed to hes doing and welcomes them to ask ques- helps a ton when you learn and know
show up between 10 a.m. and noon showed tions about the work, the machine and peoples names. At these plants, mainte-
up at 3 p.m. Or that a few months back I about the lubricants in that machine. Its nance posts laminated, magnetic cards on
called to change the address on a magazine to not uncommon now for other operations the side of production machinery. On a
which I subscribe; I later found out they friends to join in. Staley and the Energizer card is the name of the maintenance tech
changed it ... to an address I held six years maintenance crew get extra props for responsible for that equipment or area of
ago. Or that after buying an iPod last fall, the sharing their success with customers. After the plant, along with a photo of the tech
store clerk dropped it five feet from a shelf to winning the ICMLs Gill Award for oil and various ways to get in touch with him
the concrete floor and then rolled his eyes and analysis and lubricant condition moni- or her when questions, comments, needs or
muttered when I asked for a different one. toring in 2009, they brought the trophy emergencies arise. This helps get everyone
Good service also is memorable, and through each department as if it were the on a first-name basis, puts a face to a name
instances carry with them the hope of how Stanley Cup. Everyone got to hold it and and decreases response time.
things could be or should be. Last year, have their photo taken with it. Staley Maintenance pros at several plants
when picking up a rental car from National, reasoned that the award wasnt about create newsletters that are sent to
the employee behind the counter greeted work that we did for them. It was about members of the production team and plant
me with a handshake; the first words out of work that we did with them. management. They include case studies of
his mouth were, Thank you. Wow. And in Quality guru W. Edwards Deming wrote saves and explain reliability-enhancing
January, when checking into a Disney prop- that our customers should take joy in our projects taking place throughout the
erty hotel for a conference, the front desk products and services. Not a passing facility. The best newsletters Ive seen go
attendant noticed that I was wearing a interest. Joy! How do you do that? I met an out of their way to acknowledge produc-
running jacket. While the topic of being a operations team leader who recounted an tions role in the work. Saying thanks is a
runner never came up in conversation, experience he had with an hourly mainte- recurring theme.
when I got to my room 10 minutes later, a nance technician who serves as the sites Ill leave you with this quote from British
map of area running trails, a bottle of water lubrication specialist. The team leader author Nelson Boswell. You may not have
and an energy bar were waiting for me. wanted to know more about the new filtra- heard of him (hes no Disney or Deming),
Everyone has a customer service story to tion system that had been installed in the but the words are appropriate: Here is a
tell. And chances are strong that there is a plants lubrication storage room. The tech- simple but powerful rule always give
customer service story about you. You dont nician was heading for lunch, but wound up people more than what they expect to get.
have to wear a headset or stand behind a cancelling those plans. Instead, he took the Thank you for reading this column and
counter to be in the customer service busi- team leader to the lube room and spent a for your support of our products. If I can be
ness. We all serve somebody. half-hour explaining the entire system and of service to you or your organization from
So, what are they saying about you? what cleaner oil would mean for the team an information or resource perspective, just
And, why are they saying it? leader and the operations department. let me know. Thats my job.

2 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


Ban the Can: Sealable,

Reusable Oil Containers
NORIA CORPORATION are Smarter Option
causes that contribute to the vast majority of failure occurrences.
T he oil can was in need of a major redo years ago. It was grossly
outdated in terms of modern views and needs relating to lubri-
cation and machinery reliability. Fortunately, new products
Precision maintenance depends on targeting the critical few. One
such cause is the vital need to control the ingress of contamination
sporting highly advanced features have emerged on the market. For that too often enters our machines. Contamination is a silent but
clarification, Ill refer to the historic products as oil cans and terminal disease in machinery that doesnt get needed attention in
their modern replacements as S&R containers. S&R is short for most organizations. Another such cause is the importance of
sealable and reusable. ensuring that the correct grade and quality of lubricant goes into
Despite the obsolescence, the oil can still seems to prevail unde- the machine. It sounds like common sense, but sadly, it is fraught
terred in many user organizations like a bad rash. You think its with human error. Fortunately, S&R containers address both of
finally gone and then it just comes right back. Either these compa- these causes. (More on that later.)
nies that use such archaic products are Neanderthals or they simply Further, a surprisingly high percentage of lubricant consumption
do not understand the business case for ditching the old in favor of is disposed of unnecessarily. Oil cans often have residual oil in them
the new. This column was written to provide a gentle nudge to from the previous use. They are then placed on the ground in the lube
those who seem to have trouble getting or understanding this storage room or near a machine. Because (A) these oil cans arent
important message. In the world of machine reliability, this labeled correctly (causing identification confusion of the residual
message is not trivial but rather a foundational underpinning of a lubricant), (B) there is a need to use the container for a different
grade of oil, and/or (C) the residual oil has not been protected from
well-engineered reliability program.
environmental contamination, this remaining lubricant is normally
discarded. As much as 20 percent of total oil consumption in many
Law of the Critical Few organizations is wasted unnecessarily in this manner.
Why do machines fail? The reasons are many, but Vilfredo There are many more benefits to lube programs by using S&R
Pareto (from the Pareto Principle) taught us that we need to focus containers. These include ergonomics (ease and convenience of
our time and resources on the so-called critical few. It is these few use), safety, avoiding human error and general good housekeeping.
The following is an overview of how modern S&R containers
achieve these important goals.

Contamination Control:
The Silent Disease
Particles and moisture enter lubricants from a variety of sources
and entry points. Many of these contaminants arrive in stages through
the chain of custody as lubricants are handled and transported from
blend plant to ultimate point of use. For small machines, a surpris-
ingly large amount of contamination is introduced at the last stage,
between intermediate storage (e.g., drum or tote) and the machine.
This is where the S&R container plays a vital role in controlling
contaminant ingression during routine oil changes and top-ups (the
introduction of makeup oil). Here is how that is achieved:
Figure 1. By their design and generic nature, traditional oil cans Cleanable: Oil cans with narrow openings are hard to clean (see
contribute to contamination and misapplication issues. Some models Figure 1). Ever tried to clean one of these guys? Conversely, wide-
are also hard to clean. mouth bottles such as the S&R containers in Figure 2 and 3 offer

4 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

welcomed convenience when it comes to routine oil filter can be installed between the pump and PUBLISHER
cleaning, typically done in a parts cleaning station the hose to serve as a final trap for particles Mike Ramsey -
or industrial washing machine. Most importantly, before the oil enters the machines sump. This
they present little opportunity for invasion of works especially well with low-viscosity fluids Brett OKelley -
contamination and, hence, there is less need for (turbine oils, for instance).
such periodic cleaning. Quick-connects: Another advantage of using EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Sealable: Unlike teapot type oil cans, S&R an S&R container with a hand pump is the ability Paul V. Arnold -
containers are tightly sealed to control air to install a female quick-connect (QC) on the
exchange and contaminant ingression. The air hose end and the male coupling on the machine SENIOR EDITORS
Jim Fitch -
vent, nozzle and other openings are all snug tight (both fitted with dust caps). This eliminates the
Drew Troyer -
when not in use. You dont have to filter or clean need to open fill ports to add oil (causing the Mark Barnes -
what doesnt become dirty. introduction of contaminants) and also helps
Vent valve or breather: Yes, air does need to enter ensure that the oil is being filtered during TECHNICAL WRITERS
during oil dispensing, but S&R containers restrict dispensing. Most importantly, there is no need to Jason Kopschinsky -
the exchange of ambient air when not in use. use dirt-laden funnels. Finally, if the male QC is Jeremy Wright -
Stephen Sumerlin -
Traditional oil cans, on the other hand, act more properly located in an active area of the sump
like dirt magnets by constantly collecting dust on (and below the fill level), this port can double as
the oil-wet internal surfaces. Some users have an oil sampling port (avoiding the undesirable Ryan Kiker -
enhanced their S&R containers by installing small practice of using a drop-tube when vacuum
breathers (air filters) at the vent opening to remove sampling). GRAPHIC ARTIST
particles from incoming air during oil dispensing Properly sized spout tips: Where a QC is not a Kam Stinnett -
good, better, best! Some of the hand pumps avail- practical option, S&R containers can be fitted
able from S&R container manufacturers have with spout tips narrow enough to dispense oil ADVERTISING SALES
Brett OKelley -
integrated these breathers into the design. into even the smallest fill ports (see Figure 2). Phone: 800-597-5460, ext. 112
Dispensing filtration: Some S&R containers are Again, this conveniently avoids the need to use
conveniently sold with hand pumps and hoses. An funnels. PRODUCTION MANAGER
Rhonda Johnson -

You may address articles, case studies,
special requests and other correspondence to:
Paul V. Arnold - Editor-in-chief
Noria Corporation
P.O. Box 87 Fort Atkinson, WI 53538
Phone: 920-568-9768 Fax: 920-568-9769
E-mail address:

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES: The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any
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related correspondence to: Noria Corporation, P.O. Box 47702, Plymouth, MN
55447. 800-869-6882 or Fax: 866-658-6156.

MACHINERY LUBRICATION USPS #021-695 is published bimonthly by Noria

Corporation, 1328 E. 43rd Court, Tulsa, OK 74105. Periodical postage paid at
Tulsa, OK and additional mailing offices.

Copyright 2010 Noria Corporation. Noria, Machinery Lubrication and asso-

ciated logos are trademarks of Noria Corporation. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written
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POSTMASTER: Send address changes and form 3579 to Machinery

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Silver Award Winner


and ease of use in addition to safety features. Here are a few

Get a grip: For a simple oil container, youd think one handle
would do the trick. Not true. These guys have as many as four
handles (see Figure 3)! Handles are positioned for transport,
tipping during dispensing and gripping the base container.
Graduation markings: Some of these S&R containers have level
markings for easy measurement of oil volume during fill and
Label mania: I mentioned common human errors from intro-
ducing the wrong lubricant into the machine. Much of this can be
avoided by taking away the guesswork and enhancing communica-
tion. The S&R containers have this figured out. They are equipped
with an assortment of labeling options including colors, adhesive
labels and plastic data pouches for detailed product information
(including MSDS sheets). Perhaps youve also heard that OSHA
doesnt like lubricants and chemicals sitting around in unmarked

Tips to Best Use Containers

Besides the obvious, what follows are additional tips to optimize
the use of S&R containers:
Figure 2. Small fill port? With the right container and spout 1) Buy enough containers such that they are dedicated to work
tip, it is no big deal. areas and lubricant types. Dont share containers and risk
cross-contamination of lubricants.
Liner option: Some users have discussed the application of thin
plastic liners with the S&R containers. These clean liners, similar to 2) Store S&R containers near the point of use in lockers to keep
trash bags, are secured in the threads between the base and the lid them clean and safe. This also enhances convenience (top-ups
of the container. The wide-mouth feature of these containers are more timely) and minimizes the risk of cross-contamination.
enables this option when the ability to clean the container is not a 3) On the container labeling, mark the date when it was last
practical alternative. cleaned and when it needs to be cleaned next.
4) Always take note of any sediment, sludge or water. If this is
The Human Interface found, troubleshoot the source to avoid future introduction of
Todays S&R containers are clearly the product of human
these contaminants into your machine.
engineering and industrial design. They offer needed convenience
5) Keep the outside of these containers wiped clean, especially the
nozzle and handle areas.
6) Train all operators and lube technicians on the proper use of
S&R containers.

Dont Be Caught Napping

S&R containers serve as a visual sign of maintenance excellence.
Conversely, use of fossilized oil cans serves as a constant reminder
of maintenance neglect and program stagnation. S&R containers
are not high science, but rather a strong statement of a job well
done. Its time to act.

About the Author

Jim Fitch has a wealth of in the trenches experience in lubrication, oil
analysis, tribology and machinery failure investigations. Over the past two
decades, he has presented hundreds of lectures on these subjects. Jim has
published more than 200 technical articles, papers and publications. He
serves as a U.S. delegate to the ISO tribology and oil analysis working group.
Since 2002, he has been director and board member of the International
Figure 3. This S&R container features four handles, allowing the technician to Council for Machinery Lubrication. He is the CEO and a co-founder of Noria
choose the grips that are right for the application. Corporation. Contact Jim at

6 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


Answers to Your Questions

About Lubrication-Related
Varnish and Varnish Removal
figment of our imagination. Rather, varnish is a rather generic term
I n the world of lubrication, hot topics come and go. Whether its
synthetic oil, electric motor lubrication or ultrasonic-assisted
regreasing, certain themes take on a greater profile from time to
used to describe the deposits formed by lubricant degradation.
Usually when were talking about varnish and lubricant degrada-
time. Lately, the hot topic that Ive seen and have been asked more tion, were talking about by-products of base oil degradation, but
questions about than any other is varnish. From compressors to gas not always; in some cases, deposits can be caused by additive
turbines, hydraulics to gearboxes, everyone seems to be talking depletion or a chemical incompatibility between the additives and
about varnish. But, what is varnish? What causes it? And most other foreign materials (chemicals, dissolved gases, water, etc.)
importantly, how can it be prevented or eliminated? that may be present in the lubricant.
In the past few years, significant efforts have been made to try When it comes to base oil degradation, there are four main ways
to understand this ubiquitous material. Youll find numerous arti- in which base oils degrade: oxidation, thermal stress from hot
cles, case studies and other information on the subject in machine (or other) surfaces, compressive heating due to air
Machinery Lubrication magazine and Norias own Lubrication entrainment and electric arcing from stray currents. Since each of
Excellence conference proceedings. Some of the brightest and most
these mechanisms is different both physically and chemically, it
competent lubrication chemists and engineers have studied the
stands to reason that the end result the by-products of fluid
issue and done a tremendous job helping to explain the cause,
effect and techniques for varnish mitigation. degradation also will be different. This is important to under-
stand because the method by which we control and eliminate the
deposits formed will depend on the method of formation.
Usually when were talking about varnish
and lubricant degradation, were talking Oxidation vs. Thermal Stress
A common mistake when talking about lubricant degradation is
about by-products of base oil degradation, to state that the oil has oxidized; this is not always the case. In
terms of lubricant degradation, oxidation has a very real meaning,
but not always. representing the chemical reaction between oxygen present in the
air with base oil molecules. Think of taking a bite out of an apple
But in talking to the layperson the maintenance manager or
and watching the exposed flesh slowly turn brown over time. The
reliability engineer who really doesnt care about free radicals,
brown coloration is a result of the oxygen in the air reacting with
carbon and oxide insolubles or peroxides, but rather how to control
the problems associated with varnish I still see a great deal of (oxidizing) the flesh of the apple.
confusion and lack of understanding. Typically, oxidation builds up over a prolonged period of time
Unfortunately, the situation is not helped by a certain amount of and is not usually a result of an instantaneous event. While
information put out by well-intentioned but misinformed people or prolonged oxidation can lead to very tough deposits, by-products
organizations. So in the interests of setting the record straight, Ill of oxidation usually can be dissolved in fairly mild solvents such as
attempt to shed some light on the topic of varnish and, in partic- toluene or removed through mild abrasive cleaning.
ular, try to provide some pointers to those dealing with this issue to Contrast this to thermal stress, which is caused by a high, local-
help them wade through the plethora of fact and fiction. ized heat source (machine surface, compressed gas bubble,
electrical arc, etc.). Thermal stress usually occurs over a much
What is Varnish? shorter timeframe and results in deposits that are much harder to
First, let me state that theres no such thing as varnish! By that, remove either through mechanical or chemical means. To under-
I dont mean that varnish-like deposits in our machines are a stand the differences, consider cleaning a fry pan. If the food has

8 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

been cooked slowly and properly, cleanup is fairly straightforward wont remove burned-on food residue from a fry pan, conventional
with warm water and dish detergent. But if the food has been mineral oils will not solubilize stubborn lubricant deposits.
burned, it will take much more scraping and maybe even cleaning
solvents to remove all of the deposits. The same is true for oxida- Techniques for Removing
tion vs. thermal lubricant failure.
Degradation By-products
Once deposits form within a system, at some point, were going to
Testing for Degradation want to remove them. There are a number of techniques for removing
One of the tools we can use to detect the onset of lubricant dete- lubricant degradation by-products including the use of electrostatic
rioration is, of course, oil analysis. While later-term changes such as separators, balanced charge agglomeration and cellulose media.
viscosity will occur with either thermal or oxidative failure, the
Numerous case studies have proved the efficacy of these tech-
fingerprint of early term oxidation is very different than that of
niques at controlling and removing deposits; but again, caution
incipient thermal failure. While with oxidation, acid number and
must be applied. While a certain technology may indeed prove
Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) oxidation numbers typically rise,
useful in controlling varnish caused by oxidation, it may not do
with thermal stress, acid number and FTIR oxidation will often
so well with varnish from thermal stress.
remain low, appearing to be normal while other telltale tests such
as FTIR nitration may prove a better indicator.
Color also is a good indicator of lubricant degradation. While a Root Cause Before Solution
simple visual check is a good screen, other more sophisticated spec- Whats the answer to varnish mitigation? Just like a doctor
trophotometric tests such as quantitative spectrophotometric should never prescribe a remedy until he or she has diagnosed the
analysis (QSA) provide an excellent early warning of lubricant illness, we should resist the urge to jump to a solution thats proven
degradation. But with color changes, you should apply caution. to remove varnish unless we know the symptom(s). Taking antibi-
While its true to say that an oils color will change when an oil otics to cure a viral infection wont work. Likewise, using a
oxidizes, the reverse is not always true. A change in color doesnt technique to remove oxidative by-products may not work if thermal
always mean oxidation; it could equally be thermal stress. stress is the causative factor.
Therefore, before you jump headlong into a solution, try to
Varnishs Presence: determine the underlying root cause of varnish formation so you
Mineral Oil vs. Synthetic Oil can be better informed to make the right choice of how to prevent
How do we prevent varnish? The answer to this question will and eliminate varnish from your machines.
depend on the reason the deposits are there. As always, this is my opinion; Im interested in yours.
For example, you will hear people tell you that synthetic oils or
highly refined mineral oils will resist oxidation better than conventional About the Author
oils. This is a true statement, but any oil (mineral or synthetic) ther- As a skilled educator and consultant in the areas of oil analysis and
machinery lubrication, Mark Barnes has helped numerous clients develop
mally stressed by adiabatic compression (compressive heating due to
effective machinery lubrication programs and troubleshoot complex lubri-
gas entrainment) to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit will thermally degrade.
cation problems through precision lubrication and oil analysis. As vice
Likewise, theres the question of solvency. While highly refined president of Noria Reliability Solutions, Mark and his group work on proj-
mineral oils or synthetic hydrocarbons certainly resist oxidation ects in the areas of: plant audits and gap analysis, machinery lubrication
better than most minerals oils, their lack of natural solvency means and oil analysis program design, lube PM rationalization and redesign,
that once a problem starts, the deposit formation may occur much lubricant storage and handling, contamination control system design and
faster in a more highly refined oil. Conversely, the solvent action of lubrication, and mechanical failure investigations. Contact Mark at
conventional mineral oils is fairly mild. Just like dish detergent alone

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 9


Human Factors Engineering:

The Next Frontier in
Factors Engineering (HFE). The intent was to develop and stan-
O ver the 20 years that Ive been in the reliability engineering
field, most of our effort to improve the dependability of
manufacturing processes has been equipment focused. Ive been no
dardize a human performance coding, analysis and management
system throughout the DoD; it is called the Human Factors
exception. On the surface, it seems to make sense. Its the equip- Analysis and Classification System (HFACS). While it was devel-
ment that breaks down, isnt it? Yes and no. oped to improve aviation safety, it is fully applicable to any
A few years ago, I asked our readers to tell me what goes wrong reliability-critical application or industry (including manufacturing)
in the factory based upon the general failure cause categories where people are highly integrated in the business processes.
outline in the U.S. Department of Energys root cause analysis stan- DoD statistics suggest that human error is a causal factor in 80
dard (DOE-NE-1004-92). You replied that the equipment is to to 90 percent of all mishaps. As previously discussed, my research
blame in less than 20 percent of the occurrences. Nearly 80 percent into the manufacturing industries similarly suggests that human
of what goes wrong can be attributed to people issues. Problems error accounts for around 80 percent of what goes wrong in plants
with procedures and training (combined) are responsible for nearly and factories. Since human error is the dominant failure mecha-
40 percent. Personnel/human error constituted a little more than nism in most systems (healthcare being no exception), it should be
22 percent of the vote. Management oversight represented about 9 the focal point of our reliability management system.
percent. Also, design problems totaled roughly 9 percent. The human factors classification system is broadly organized
Really, though, wouldnt you agree that if we had good proce- into the three latent failure and one active failure categories.
dures, training and supervision that wed go a long way toward 1) Organization Influences (Latent Failures/Conditions): This
minimizing personnel/human error? The bottom line is that human category includes the failure to provide adequate resources, an
factors are responsible for 75 to 80 percent of what goes wrong in appropriate organizational climate and/or sufficient organiza-
the factory. Its time for us to align our efforts accordingly. tional processes, such as procedures.
2) Unsafe Supervision (Latent Failures/Conditions): This cate-
Analysis and Classification gory includes inadequate supervision, planned operations that are
In 2003, the U.S. Secretary of Defense proclaimed in a memo- known to be inappropriate, failure to correct known problems and
randum that world-class organizations do not tolerate violations made by supervisors.
preventable accidents. This led to an edict to reduce preventable 3) Preconditions for Unsafe Acts (Latent Failures/Conditions):
errors by 50 percent and resulted in the formation of the These include:
Department of Defense Safety and Oversight Committee and the environmental factors, such as the physical and technological
relatively new branch of reliability management called Human environment;

1.30% condition of the individuals, including cognitive and psycho-

23.78% Procedural Problem behavioral factors;
Personnel/Human Error condition of the individuals, including physiological state, phys-
Equipment/Material Problem ical/mental limitations and perceptual errors; and,
Training Deficiency personnel factors, including coordination, communication and
Management Oversight planning errors, and self-imposed stress such as fitness,
22.54% alcohol/drug use, nutrition, etc.
Design Problem

19.63% External Phenomenon

4) Unsafe Acts (Active Failures/Adverse Events): These include
errors caused by lack of skill and/or clear instruction, errors in judg-
Figure 1. Reader Data on the Causes of Failures in the Factory ment, and errors in perceptions. They also include violations.

10 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Applicable to Manufacturing Organizational
Latent Failures/Conditions

The human error coding and management system developed by Influences

the DoD is quite comprehensive. In total, theyve identified 131 Latent Failures/Conditions
latent and 16 active errors that lead to a failure or adverse event. Supervision
Likewise, because the failure classification system includes latent Latent Failures/Conditions
and active failures, it is fully applicable to the classification of near- for Unsafe Acts
misses as well as actual failure events. By and large, the Active Failures/
management system can be adopted in its entirety for use in the Hazards Unsafe Acts Adverse Events

manufacturing sector. There are a few that dont apply and prob-
ably a few that are missing, but with minor revisions, the
DoD-HFACS can and should be immediately employed to analyze Failure /
Adverse Event
and prevent human error in facilities.

The Need to Execute Figure 2. How Latent and Active Human Acts Lead to Adverse Events
Kurt Vonnegut said in one of his novels if it werent for the people Remember my axiom for reliability management: Data is the differ-
... always getting tangled up with the machinery; if it werent for ence between deciding and guessing!
them, Earth would be an engineers paradise. The bottom line is
that people are and in all likelihood will always be in the mix. Since About the Author
thats where most of our problems occur, wed better get busy to Drew D. Troyer is a champion of effective reliability management and
start mitigating human factors risks. To do so, our Failure Reporting, passionate about helping companies find hidden profits inside their plants. As
a highly sought consultant to Fortune 500 manufacturing firms, award-
Analysis and Corrective Action System (FRACAS) must contain a
winning columnist and teacher, he understands both management
Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS). expectations and plant-floor realities. Troyer is a Certified Reliability Engineer
The DoD has done the heavy lifting by creating this system. We (CRE), a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP), and
simply need to execute. If you dont have a FRACAS for collecting chairs the standards committee of the Society for Maintenance and Reliability
failure data, call or e-mail me. You cant manage reliability without it. Professionals (SMRP). Contact Drew at

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 11


All in the Family

Toyota Lift Truck Manufacturing Plant Deserves Notice
for Efforts to Improve Maintenance Personnel, PM Tasks
and Equipment Lubrication
12 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

G eorgetown, Ky., is synonymous with Toyota. Each year, manufacturing leaders from across the
country and across industry sectors make a pilgrimage to this 21,000-resident town to tour the
car plant and learn lean principles, efficiency and asset care from the masters.
Considerably fewer plant professionals know that an equally educational Toyota experience exists in
the southern Indiana city of Columbus (population 36,000). Toyota Industrial Equipment
Manufacturing, or TIEM, may be the best-kept secret in Columbus ... and perhaps all of industry.
Were still kind of unknown, even in our own town, says Fred Williams, the companys customer
center and service training manager. My vision of a small town is that everyone knows what everyone
else is doing. Its a small community and we are all neighbors.
However, while wearing his Toyota work shirt around town, Williams says the conversation normally
goes something like this:
Hey, you work for Toyota? Excellent! I have a Camry. I love that car.
Thats great. However, I dont work for the car side. I work for the material handling equipment
side. I work for Toyota forklift.
Toyota makes forklifts?
Yeah, we make forklifts. Were the No. 1 lift truck manufacturer in the world.
(Long pause. Blank stare.)
... We make them in our town. ... Weve been here since 1990. ... We employ more than 600 people.
... The plant is right off of the highway. ... Big place 890,000 square feet. ... You cant miss it.
I sure do love my Camry.
The TIEM plant may produce different vehicles than its car-making cousin, and it may fly a different
corporate color (orange vs. red), but thats where the deviation stops.
You are at Toyota, says Williams. The same principles that drive our engineering, production,
and maintenance and reliability performance at Georgetown and other Toyota auto sites ... well, we
utilize those, too. This is a close-knit family of companies. We benchmark each other to make sure that
we are all at the same level of Toyota quality and performance.
Like the car plants, the TIEM factory in Indiana is noteworthy for several reasons, including:
its never-ending efforts to continuously improve its processes and people;
its all-hands-on-deck approach to maintenance; and,
its pursuit to efficiently and effectively use every bit of its time and resources.
The examples and comments in this cover story may well change your game plan for preventive
maintenance and machinery lubrication. Who knows? It may change the way you look at forklift
People dont realize that the forklift industry is pretty cool, says Williams. This is a cool industry,
and we are a big part of it.

The Kaizen Mentality

Its a cold Monday morning in late December. The skies are gray and snow is in the forecast. But
that cant put a damper on Williams day.
Were making lift trucks this morning, so its a beautiful day, he says.
His outlook is straight out of the old Mac Davis song, Oh, Lord, Its Hard to Be Humble:
I cant wait to look in the mirror cause I get better looking each day.
In Williams case, his excitement is that TIEM will be a better lift truck maker today than it was
yesterday, and opportunities exist to make it even better tomorrow and the next day and the next.
Our kaizen mentality tells us that we need to continuously improve our products and processes,
he says. If we keep the focus on continuous improvement, good things will happen for us and our
This kaizen mind-set is rooted in a couple of Toyota-isms:
1) If you sit back, complacency sets in. At that point, nothing is good.

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 13


Nearly 30,000 lift trucks come off the assembly line each
year at the Columbus, Ind., factory.
Fred Williams (shown in the side-view mirror of a Toyota lift
truck) is the customer center and service training manager.

2) All good is not good. two formal continuous improvement

Time for TIEM ideas (which include full implementation
Company: Toyota Industrial Equipment The latter is a favorite quote of Toyota
Manufacturing Inc., the lift truck manufacturing managers. If your indexes are showing and resolution plans). For December
division of Toyota Material Handling USA. that you are meeting your goals, perhaps 2009, a total of 449 associates delivered
Plant: TIEM in Columbus, Ind., a town of your goals arent high enough. It ties in 1,089 ideas.
36,000 located in southern Indiana. Site with the two things that are said to occur The adage is that many voices
development began in 1988 and production when a Toyota manager reaches a stretch generate new and better ideas, says
began in 1990. The facility has undergone 11 goal. He or she receives a pat on the back Wendell Crouch, the plants maintenance
expansions since 1990. and production engineering manager.
from the boss. The manager then is
Plant size: 890,000 square feet. This is about problem-solving. We
expected to apologize for not setting the
Plant employment: The site employs 620
bar high enough. want our associates to be quality-minded
workers, including 26 in maintenance.
and continuous improvement-minded
Products: The plant currently makes 63 lift
truck products, including diesel tow tractors, Hows Your Process? individuals.
sit-down electric forklifts, sit-down internal At Columbus, this isnt hype. Its HYP,
combustion tire units and sit-down internal an acronym for Hows Your Process? The Meaning in
combustion pneumatic tire units. This product Every morning at 6:30, each associate Maintenance
line spans units with lifting capabilities of (Toyotas term for an employee) fills out What does all of this have to do with
2,000 pounds to 17,500 pounds. An average of a form that asks if issues exist within his maintenance and machinery lubrication?
100 lift trucks are produced on a daily basis; or her sphere of influence. If issues exist,
nearly 30,000 are produced annually. TIEM
Issues and ideas can and do relate to
the associate provides details. That oil, grease, coolant, hydraulic fluid, etc.
also makes the DC/AC inverter assembly for
persons designated team leader has But, bring it back a level. Continuous
Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks.
FYI: Toyota is the worlds No. 1 supplier of until 10 a.m. to look into the issue and improvement starts with the employee.
lift trucks. ... Most of the Toyota lift trucks either install a countermeasure or TIEMs maintenance structure is built
sold in the U.S. are manufactured at TIEM. outline the next step toward a solution. around generalists. No one is hired as an
... The plant produced its 350,000th lift The associate has just as much respon- electrician or a mechanic or a lubrication
truck in November 2009. ... The site has sibility and accountability. Each month, technician. Every associate is brought
been a zero-landfill facility since 2004. he or she is expected to turn in at least into the maintenance department at the

14 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


same pay grade and base skill level. Each person goes through a
rigorous training program to develop skills and knowledge. Oil Analysis Points Out Necessary
There is no continuous improvement without training, without Work During Shutdowns
learning, says Williams. The Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing plant in
It takes approximately three years to complete the four Columbus, Ind., has been doing oil analysis since 1998,
education modules. Lubrication concepts are covered in each of working primarily with Mobils Signum program.
them. Classes are four hours long, once per week, and are held Oil analysis is performed every six months on major pieces
during non-shift time. The modules and course components are of equipment. Sampling takes place four to six weeks prior to
as follows: a plant shutdown.
Electric (basic electricity, electrical wiring fundamentals, elec- Maintenance associates take samples under the supervision
trical circuits, and motors and controls), 26 weeks, 104 hours of the plants third-shift maintenance team leader, Brian
Napier. All involved have undergone proper training from
Hydraulic/Pneumatic (hydraulics and pneumatics), 24 weeks, Mobil technical representatives.
96 hours Napier receives the results from Signum. After conferring
Skill I (machining fundamentals levels 1 and 2, industrial with maintenance supervisor Brian Weber and maintenance
plumbing, and welding), 28 weeks, 112 hours and production engineering manager Wendell Crouch (and
perhaps Mobil representatives), necessary actions are sched-
Skill II (PLCs, machine rigging and installation, mechan-
uled for the upcoming shutdown.
ical/electrical troubleshooting, and CNC and robotics
Oil analysis results are a key component of the depart-
programming), 26 weeks, 104 hours ments shift to a more condition-based strategy.
Associates also receive training in Toyota-based lean concepts An example would be a PM (preventive maintenance task)
from the well-known Total Productive Maintenance and five-whys for a 500-ton press, says Crouch. When it comes to
to the lesser-known genchi genbutsu and yokoten (see terms in changing the hydraulic fluid, the PM will spell out, Only do
sidebar found below). this if the analysis from Mobil recommends changing.
Genchi genbutsu embraces the notion that rather than to simply
hear or read about a problem and make a suggestion for improve- guard covered up the grease zerk. If a zerk is unseen or inaccessible,
ment, one should actually go to its direct location and experience the machine isnt going to get the grease it needs. An idea led to a
the situation first hand. Yokoten involves applying lessons learned modification of the guard. Theres now access to the grease zerk
to similar situations. If downtime occurs on a conveyor as the result and the operator can still run a part into it.
of a particular lubrication issue (under-lubrication, over-lubrica- Another idea led to greater accessibility to lubricant sumps
tion, wrong lubricant, etc.), details of the issue and the and streamlined procedures for draining them.
countermeasure are communicated plant wide (and to Toyota fork- No kaizen is too small, says Williams. We would rather have
lift plants in Japan, France and China). That way, follow-up work 100 small, incremental kaizens than one big home run. All of
can determine if like conditions exist elsewhere. If so, the counter- those individual kaizens create a stable platform for our products
measure can be implemented. and procedures.
Armed with this knowledge and the Toyota/lean mentality of Improvement ideas are not static creatures. They can be regu-
seeing things differently, associates are able to amass meaningful larly revisited, refined and revamped.
continuous improvement ideas. We may find that another plant at a different company has a
One recent idea addressed lubrication issues with a turntable. better solution than our solution, says Crouch. We arent
A guard previously had been retrofitted and installed so that against taking the best practices from other places and painting
the operator could run a part into it, says Crouch. However, the them TIEM orange.

Toyota Production System Concepts of Particular Use to Maintenance Organizations

Here is how Toyota defines some of the maintenance-pertinent and spread information through the organization to stimulate
concepts of its Toyota Production System. TPS is the basis of kaizen activity.
operation at the companys plants around the world, including Nemawashi: Preliminary work to involve other departments in
the TIEM plant in Columbus, Ind. discussions to seek input, information and/or support for a
Kaizen: Continuous improvement. Muda (waste) exists every- proposal or change (process, policy, etc.) that would affect them.
where. Kaizen refers to the series of activities whereby instances Monozukuri: Having the spirit to produce excellent products and
of muda are eliminated one by one at minimal cost by workers the ability to constantly improve a production system and process.
pooling their wisdom and increasing eff iciency in a timely Mu-Jun: Try everything first in kaizen activities. As Taiichi
manner. Ohno (the father of the Toyota Production System) stated,
Jishuken: Management-driven kaizen activity where manage- Making sense is important, but in kaizen, its better to try first
ment members identify areas in need of continuous improvement and think later.

16 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


Maintenance supervisor Brian Weber (left) goes

over metrics with maintenance and production
engineering manager Wendell Crouch.

TPM specialist Bill Mings checks out

preventive maintenance work orders on
his Motorola Pocket PC handheld device.

TIEM president Kazue Sasaki (second

from left) is a big proponent of the main-
tenance work that has taken place.

Team-Based Method for PMs The dividing line for coverage is generally that
TIEM considers its approach to preventive machine operators handle PMs that take 10
maintenance to be a best practice ... and the minutes or less to complete and are less than
focus of continuous improvement efforts. monthly in frequency. There are other caveats.
Manufacturing and maintenance personnel If it takes equipment (a ladder, a lift, etc.) to get
jointly perform approximately 4,500 preventive to what needs to be greased or lubricated, then that
maintenance (PM) tasks for the plants 2,900 would be a maintenance task, says Crouch. What
pieces of equipment. Manufacturing associates is the potential for doing it wrong? The higher the
actually perform the lions share of the PMs. risk, the more that it is going to go to maintenance.
Since the maintenance department has just 19 If electrical is involved, that goes to maintenance.
associates, it comes down to necessity and simple Some of the supervisors and team leaders are
mathematics. authorized lockout/tagout users out there, but most
There are a host of surveys that show 85 of the operators are not.
percent of all equipment downtime is due to Operators and manufacturing team leaders
cleaning, lubricating and tightening, says have received training on proper lubricating and
Crouch. There are a whole lot more manufac- greasing practices from the maintenance group
turing associates than maintenance associates. and the plants production engineer.
Therefore, I gear my daily operator tasks and While the plant is set on this joint approach to
autonomous maintenance tasks toward these completing PMs, it is continually tinkering. The
three activities. This way, you can make detailed, maintenance organization is currently working to
more complex preventive and predictive mainte- change the frequency of PM tasks from a calendar
nance activities to cover the other 15 percent of basis to an hourly or run time basis. It also consis-
the downtime, thus allowing 19 maintenance tently explores PM effectiveness.
associates to cover almost 3,000 assets. We look at the success of the PM, says main-
Operators perform their PM tasks at the start tenance supervisor Brian Weber. Is the PM
and completion of the first shift (the days only adding value? Is it preventing downtime? Based
production shift). Since machine stoppages are on several factors and metrics (downtime, cost,
rare and to be avoided at all costs, maintenance etc.), is it being done too frequently, not enough
handles its PM tasks during the third shift. or just right?

18 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Lubrication PMs are always under review. A task may call for the Very often, you can find the root cause of a breakdown in
oil on a machine to be changed every six months. However, oil something you did or didnt do when you bought the equipment,
analysis and an examination of machine performance and run says Crouch. We want to address everything before that piece of
hours may alter the policy to a much less frequent change-out equipment is brought to the plant floor, installed and put into
schedule. Needless to say, TIEMs Infor 7i computerized mainte- production.
nance management system gets a workout. Since 2006, more than The strategy consists of three elements:
5,000 PM changes have been submitted. This can involve anything Design for quality assurance
from changing frequency, adding steps to a task, adding part Design for maintainability
numbers, changing lubricant type or creating a whole new PM. Life cycle costing

Going Paperless for PMs

Another more recent change is in how PMs are
delivered. Starting in June 2009, maintenance
began using Motorola Pocket PC handheld
devices. The units link with the CMMS, allowing
planners and schedulers to send PM work orders
(and repair work orders) electronically to mainte-
nance associates on the floor. An electronic work
order includes instructions and safety notes, and
has the capability to store pictures and graphics.
The PM can be opened, accessed and closed out
all without a voluminous paper trail.
We used to print out 2,500 to 3,000 pages of
PM tasks every month, says TPM specialist Bill
Mings. We arent doing that now. The third-
shift leader doesnt have to make paper piles to
hand out. And, it has smoothed out communica-
tion between departments because everyone can
know the status of a job. Anyone can access it
over the intranet.
While maintenance associates are the only
ones carrying around the handhelds for PM
tasks, manufacturing team leaders may get their
own within the next year or two. That way, they
can relay tasks to operators and make the PM
process completely paperless.
In the near future, maintenance also will be
able to take advantage of the Motorola Pocket
PCs bar-code-reading functionality. Every
production machine currently has an asset tag
that details its unique number and date of
purchase. That and additional information could
be infused into a bar-code-based tag.
If there is a bar code on the machine, the
associate can walk up, scan it and see the
outstanding work orders and PMs on that
machine, says Mings.

Made to Specification
Another significant way that TIEM maximizes
its time and resources is with Early Equipment
Product Management. This is a structured
process that seeks to reduce the complexity asso-
ciated with the operation and maintenance of
equipment. It brings lean principles to equipment
design and manufacturing.

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 19


Working together, these elements provide Toyota with a

program to create equipment ideal for its production environment How the TIEM Plant Stores
equipment that is easy to operate, easy to maintain and right- and Manages Bulk Lubricants
sized to aid in establishing flow. TIEMs maintenance organization stores and manages
When TIEM places an equipment order, it includes a four-page lubricants in the plants hazardous materials room.
list of equipment specifications. Lubrication-related references may Inventory, as you expect from a Toyota plant, is kept to a
minimum. A storage and dispensing rack holds drum cubes
encompass items such as:
that contain the 12 most-used oils in the facility. There is very
Final documentation shall include (among other things) lubri-
little backup stock since the plants lubricant supplier can
cation drawings and instructions, and a recommended deliver it on a just-in-time basis.
preventive maintenance schedule. Third-shift maintenance team leader Brian Napier invento-
Lubrication label must be attached (manufacturer, type) by a ries the supply of oils and greases every Friday. Minimum
quantity levels trigger a reorder point.
metal tag with black letters. Attach by screw or rivet.
Manufacturing team leaders dispense directly into transfer
Lubrication shall be Mobil Oil product exceptions must be
containers on carts and bring them out to associates at the
approved in writing. point of use. Containers are tagged for easy identification by
Reservoir for oil, coolant, etc., shall have sight glass visible from the operators.
the outside of the machine to check level (no cover must be At the end of each year, the maintenance department
performs a survey to determine the total amount of lubricant
removed to see sight glass).
(by product) purchased and consumed by the facility. The
Reservoir sight glass for oil, coolant, etc., shall have operating data helps to identify trends and pinpoint lubricants that may
zone marked in with green paint. be consolidated or completely eliminated.
All lubrication points shall be below 1,600 millimeters (63
inches) in height. And, with the focus on preventive and proactive work, just five
maintenance associates are assigned each day to handle fire-
TIEM also specifies what happens when the machine is put into
fighting calls, a great improvement over a decade ago.
service. This includes regulations on how training is performed for
On the lubrication side, Crouch says, We are at around a 7 for
lubrication and other preventive maintenance tasks.
wet lubricants and a 5 for greasing. The numerical grade is not
based on the effectiveness of the program. It is the result of it not
Lifting the Bar Higher being fully integrated. For greasing, I havent moved that process to
So TIEM, hows your process for maintenance and machinery the manufacturing associate level as thoroughly across the board as
lubrication? I have the wet lubricants. Maintenance is still very responsible for
Crouch rates overall performance at a 7 to 7.5 on a 1-to-10 scale greasing. Again, with only 19 maintenance associates, I need some-
(10 being optimum). In true kaizen spirit, he states, We are a body else to do the greasing.
whole lot better than what we were, but there is still much more OK, it doesnt manufacture cars and pickup trucks. And, it isnt
that we can do. held to the same reverence as Georgetown. But by continually
Uptime on critical equipment exceeds 97 percent. For December improving its processes and people, establishing a team-based
2009, uptime in main assembly was 99.76 percent, equating to an approach to maintenance and lubrication, and developing strate-
average of one minute per day of downtime. gies to best use its time and resources, Toyotas lift truck plant in
The department has logged a 27.8 percent reduction in repair Columbus, Ind., is worthy of notice (and a benchmarking tour).
costs over the past three years. TIEM is making the forklift industry seem, well ... pretty cool.

20 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


Bulk Oil Storage System Aerosol Lubricant/Penetrant

Tricos Spectrum Bulk Oil Storage System Maxfilm is a multi-purpose,
is a clean, stackable and systemized high-film-strength, synthetic aerosol
storage and dispensing solution. Made of lubricant/penetrant and preserva-
strong and durable high-density polyeth- tive with Royal Purples proprietary
ylene, the storage tanks are available in technology, Synerlec. An ideal
sizes that hold 70, 121, 145 and 230 product to clean and loosen parts,
gallons. They are translucent, which Maxfilm outlasts and provides supe-
allows visual monitoring of fluid levels, rior protection in comparison to the
and have volume markings molded into leading brands. Once applied, its
them in gallons and liters. Each system
solvent evaporates and leaves an
includes storage tanks, a steel stand, drip
exceptionally tough and durable
trays and a steel frame holder, valves,
lubricating film for improved opera-
connectors, and connecting hose.
tion and long-lasting protection
Trico Corporation against wear, rust and corrosion.
262-691-9336 Royal Purple

Condition Monitoring Kit Battery-Powered Grease Gun

Measurement tools for assessing the performance of machines used
in industrial plants are collected in the SKF basic condition monitoring Milwaukee expanded its lithium-ion tool system with the new M12
kit (Model CMAK 400-ML). The kit Cordless Grease Gun. With up to 25 percent more pressure and run-
includes tools used to inspect and time than the competition, the 2446-21XC is capable of delivering more
assess overall machine condition, as than 8,000 psi max operating pressure for heavy-duty applications and
well as to test bearings, pumps, dispenses up to seven grease cartridges per battery charge. The product
motors, compressors and other comes standard with a 36-inch flex hose with spring guard, a grease
components. Tools featured in the kit coupler, one M12 XC lithium-ion battery, a 30-minute charger and a
are the SKF Machine Condition Advisor, carrying case.
the SKF External Sensor Kit, the SKF
Infrared Thermometer and the SKF Milwaukee Electric
Inspector 400 Ultrasonic Probe. Tool Corporation
SKF Group 800-729-3878

Flash Point Testing

Dangerous chemicals are susceptible to fire or explosions. As a
result, determining exact flash points
are key to prevent hazardous situ-
ations. The Grabner MiniFlash is
a newly developed flash point
tester that is continuously Gas Turbine Position Sensors
closed cup and requires just 1 The Macro Sensors HLR 750 Series of 3/4-inch-diameter LVDT Position
milliliter of sample. Its the first Sensors plays an important role in the predictive maintenance of gas turbines
tester that doesnt test with an as part of process control systems used to monitor shell expansion and bearing
open flame. This allows the vibration. HLR 750 Series LVDTs offer reliable, contactless
instrument to be operated position measurement and temperature ranges of
safely and without supervision. minus-65 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit (minus-
Testing within the MiniFlash 55 to 150 Celsius), which are critical
was developed according to in power plant applications.
ASTM D6450 and D7094.
Macro Sensors
AMETEK Petrolab Company 856-662-8000

22 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Multi-purpose Spray Lubricant Oil Monitoring Software
LiQuifix multi-purpose spray lubricant meets IntelliStick offers enhanced software for the companys patented real-
the FDA Regulation 21 CFR for incidental food time oil condition monitoring system. It provides users with more
contact, which means it is safe to use to lubricate information about the condition of their engine oil, such as calling out alarm
all equipment and machinery that comes into and oil change points, and indicating changes in oil condition status on
contact with food, such as meat graphs viewable on laptop computers and smart
slicers, can openers, ovens, refriger- phones running Windows XP or later. The soft-
ators and freezers, and food ware features three main screens for
storage. It has an H1 certification optimal monitoring, including
for use in food processing areas by a main screen that indi-
NSF International. LiQuifix works cates oil condition
effectively with lightweight materials. as a simple graph-
It does not pit or corrode aluminum, ical gauge.
copper, brass or chrome, and is
corrosion resistant.
IntelliStick Inc.
LiQuifix 888-812-5988

Vibration Measurement Tool Lubricants for Food Machinery

Ideal for the full spectrum of hydraulic, gear and air compressor
The Model 230 Vibration Meter from Balmac stores overall applications, Mobil SHC Cibus lubricants are designed to provide
vibration measurements needed to check the condition food and beverage processors with high-performance
of rotating equipment. This easy-to-use meter can lubrication and long service life, even under extreme
provide an early warning of potential operating conditions such as freezers and cookers. In
machinery problems before a costly failure addition to being manufactured in equipment where
occurs. With the Model 230 meter, mainte- cross-contamination is minimized, Mobil
nance personnel can quickly and SHC Cibus Series lubricants are
accurately check the machinery formulated to be suit-
condition and store the measure- able under Kosher and
ments for later recall and Halal dietary law.
analysis. The product stores a
typical workday of vibration ExxonMobil
Balmac Inc.

Synthetic Oil for Wire Rope

Lubrication Engineers introduced Wirelife Almasol Syn Coating
Thread Sealant Lubricant, an extremely tacky, non-asphaltic synthetic lubricant with high
Loctite 5452 thread sealant is specifically formulated for use on metal film strength. Perfect for extreme environments and conditions, it
fittings found in high-pressure hydraulic and pneumatic power systems. provides robust outer surface protection for wire rope and cable and
Curing four times faster than traditional anaerobic sealants, even on stain- comes from the same
less steel or inert metals, Loctite 5452 allows fittings under low pressure advanced technology that
to be returned to service immediately. Designed to fill, seal and secure the LE developed to protect
air space between threads, this large open gears in the
sealant contains no mining and quarry indus-
fillers or particles tries. Typical applications
that could contami- include standing and
nate system fluids, running lines, draglines,
foul valves or clog cranes, derricks, hoists
fine filters/screens.
and drilling rigs.
Henkel Corporation Lubrication Engineers Inc.

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 23


How to Define a
Machines Optimum
Operating Viscosity Range
For example, consider a hydraulic system in which a Bosch
T he most important proactive maintenance exercise you can do for
a piece of hydraulic equipment is to define its temperature oper-
ating window (TOW) and then ensure that the equipment always
Rexroth A10VO140 axial piston pump and a Hagglunds Compact
CA50 radial piston motor are installed.
operates within this window. From the manufacturers data, the maximum allowable viscosity
Operating temperature is inversely related to oil viscosity. So if oper- for the Bosch Rexroth pump is 1,000 centistokes at cold start and
ating temperature is too high for the grade of oil being used in the minimum allowable viscosity is 10 centistokes. The recommended,
hydraulic system, loss of full-film lubrication can result in scuffing and optimum operating viscosity range is 16 to 36 centistokes.
The maximum allowable viscosity for the Hagglunds motor is
adhesive wear. If operating temperature is too low for the grade of oil
10,000 centistokes and the minimum allowable viscosity is 20
being used in the hydraulic system, cavitation can occur, damaging
centistokes. The recommended, optimum viscosity range is 40 to
major components catastrophically in severe cases.
150 centistokes. This information is tabulated in Figure 1.
Within the allowable extremes of viscosity (TOW) required to main- Looking at the figure, you can see that the viscosity requirements
tain adequate lubricating film thickness for hydraulic components and for each of these hydraulic components are significantly different.
prevent cavitation, theres a narrower viscosity range (TOW) where This is important; because to figure out the correct oil viscosity, we
power losses through fluid and mechanical friction and internal need to be guided by the lowest maximum viscosity and the highest
leakage are minimized, and, therefore, power transfer is maximized. minimum viscosity.
If the hydraulic machines temperature operating window is main- This will make more sense as we work through this example.
tained in this optimum range, machine cycle times are faster
(productivity is increased) and power consumption (diesel or elec- In Greater Details
tricity) is reduced. And so, defining the machines optimum operating The Hagglunds motor can cope with a maximum allowable
viscosity range (and operating it within that range) is the ultimate goal viscosity of 10,000 centistokes. But, this would likely destroy the
of this exercise. Bosch Rexroth pump. So in this column, the lower value of 1,000
centistokes is the defining number. Ive highlighted this value.
Tabulating the Data The same logic applies to maximum optimum viscosity. Here,
Before the correct oil grade (and viscosity index) can be chosen 150 centistokes is still optimal for the Hagglunds motor, but not for
for a particular hydraulic machine operating in a specific climate, it the Rexroth pump. Again, 36 is the lower of the two numbers and
is essential to tabulate the allowable and optimum viscosity data is, therefore, the critical value in this column.
for each type of pump and motor used in the hydraulic system. Conversely, the Bosch Rexroth pump is OK with a minimum
Note that it is the pumps and motors in the hydraulic system allowable viscosity of 10 centistokes, but the Hagglunds motor is
that we are most concerned with here because these components not. So, the higher of the two numbers, 20 centistokes, is the crit-
feature the most critical and heavily loaded lubricated contacts. ical number in this column.
It is also important to be aware that the allowable and optimum The same logic applies to minimum optimum viscosity. Here, 40
viscosity range recommended can vary widely depending on the is the higher of the two numbers and is, therefore, the critical value
design and construction of the pump or motor. in this column.
So, for this system as a whole, the allowable operating viscosity
range is 20 to 1,000 centistokes.
System Component Max Visc cSt Max Optimum cSt Min Optimum cSt Min Visc cSt Notice, though, that the minimum optimum viscosity value for
the Hagglunds motor of 40 centistokes is higher than the maximum
Rexroth A10VO140 1,000 36 16 10
optimum viscosity value for the Bosch Rexroth pump.
Hagglunds CA50-50 10,000 150 40 20 Theres nothing we can do about this. It means that the Bosch
Rexroth pump must operate at a viscosity which is slightly higher
Figure 1. Manufacturers Recommended Allowable and than its optimum. Priority should be given to maintaining optimum
Optimum Viscosity Values operating conditions for the Hagglunds motor.

24 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

What this also shows is the importance of doing this exercise. If we simply
took the recommended viscosity values for the Bosch Rexroth pump and
applied them to the system, its possible the service life of the Hagglunds
motor would be compromised.

Next Step
Having collected, tabulated and analyzed the above data, the next step is
to consider possible oil viscosity grades. This involves defining the tempera-
ture which corresponds to each of the highlighted viscosity values in Figure
1 for a particular grade and VI of oil, and then comparing these tempera-
tures to the expected operating oil-temperature range for the machine at its
specific location. This will be the subject of a future column in Machinery
Lubrication magazine.

About the Author

Brendan Casey has more than 20 years experience in the maintenance, repair and
overhaul of mobile and industrial hydraulic equipment. For more information on
reducing the operating cost and increasing the uptime of your hydraulic equipment,
visit his Web site,

Hungry For More Information?

The Machinery Lubrication Web site is the home for hundreds of tech-
nical articles, columns and reports related to lubrication research,
solutions and best practices. Check out
and learn more.

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 25


The Rights and Wrongs of

Greasing: From Selection
selection process to the application process and try to expand your
W hen it comes to greasing, there are many ways to get it right
and many ways to get it wrong. Sometimes people think of
greasing as a simple task that doesnt require any skill or dedica-
perception of the dedication and precision required to get the most
from each stoke of the grease gun.
tion, and others believe it is more of an exact science and that
adhering to proper regreasing practices will yield the biggest return Grease Selection
on equipment availability. Precision greasing starts with the selection of the proper grease
Greasing is more of an exact science than not, stemming from for the application. Grease selection utilizes the same concepts as
weighing a shot of grease from your grease gun to calculating oil selection, but with a few more variables to consider. When
regrease volumes and frequencies. Greasing is one of the more selecting the proper grease, many times the best product wins out
simple lubrication tasks in execution, but it can be just as difficult simply because it is the most expensive and says it is a do all
as taking a proper oil sample without proper training, experience grease. This approach can be very costly, not just in the purchasing
and tools. This article will explore the subject of greasing from the expenses but the possibility of equipment failures. Just because a
particular grease says it is the best product on the market doesnt
mean it is the best product for your application.
1,000,000 Here is a short list of grease selection guidelines to aid in the
selection process. These guidelines may need to be adjusted to fit
your application needs.
1) Determine the proper base oil viscosity. There are many
500,000 ISO different ways to determine the viscosity requirement for a grease
400,000 7
application. One method is to use speed factors such as NDm
300,000 10 (NDm = rpm x [(bearing bore + outside diameter) 2]) or DN [DN
ISO = (rpm) x (bearing bore)] and the operating temperature to derive
200,000 the minimum viscosity requirement.
22 Typically, the NDm method is more accurate since it relies on the
DN Factor

32 bearings pitch diameter instead of just the bearing bore. Once you
100,000 ISO have properly selected the minimum viscosity, certain correction
ISO factors should be applied depending on operating conditions to
68 arrive at the optimum required base oil viscosity. Figure 1 is a
50,000 100 representation of the DN and operating temperature method.
40,000 ISO 2) Determine the proper grease thickener type and consistency.
Grease thickener type is becoming a more predominant criterion
ISO in grease selection due to the increasing number of thickener types
20,000 available. The thickener type is application dependent. Most
general-purpose greases will use lithium or lithium-complex thick-
ISO ener. For high-temperature applications, bentone or clay
460 thickener is preferred for its thermal stability against bleeding. For
-40 -20 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 heavy water environments, aluminum complex thickener is
Temperature C
preferred for its water washout stability. Also, be aware of thick-
ener type when changing greases in the same application as not all
Figure 1. DN vs. Operating Temperature types are compatible.

26 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


Grease consistency is controlled by thickener type, thickener tency which ranges from 000 (semi-fluid) to 6 (block grease). The
concentration and base oil viscosity. It should be noted that a most common NLGI number is 2. Figure 2 depicts the relationship
grease with a high base oil viscosity does not always have a high of consistency, base oil viscosity, speed and loading.
consistency, and vice versa. The National Lubrication Grease 3) Determine the proper base oil type. Base oil type selection
Institute (NLGI) developed a scale for determining thickener consis- always has been a fundamental argument. Many argue that mineral
oil is the way to go, while others argue for synthetic oil. Actually,
Applications: NLGI ISO High High
both of these arguments can be true or false at any given time. Base
High Consistency (higher NLGI numbers) Grade VG Load Speed oil type is another variable determined by operational conditions.
Journal bearings, slow-speed, such as
locomotive block grease (high viscosity) 3 15 For most conditions, a mineral oil will suffice; but for those condi-
High-speed ball/roller bearings tions that are on the extreme ends of the temperature spectrum, a
(with low-viscosity base oil)
2 46 synthetic will more than likely be the base oil type of choice.
To avoid water washout
To avoid bleed Synthetic base oil selection also can be justified if extended lubri-
To avoid excessive leakage problems 2 100 cant life is required and costs can be justified.
High ambient or operating temps
To seal out environmental dust
4) Determine the proper additive package. Additive packages
2 220
(very dusty conditions) also are determined by operational conditions and requirements.
Low Consistency (lower NLGI numbers) Most additives found in lubricating oils are also found in greases,
Low-speed rolling element bearings 1-1/2 460
(with high viscosity)
such as anti-wear (AW), extreme pressure (EP), rust and oxidation
Cold temperature operation inhibitors (RO), and so on. The additive package selected solely
1 1500
Pumpability requirements depends on the application requirements. For example, a slow-
Gearbox - lubed-for-life
moving, standard-temperature conveyor bearing may use either an
EP or AW additive package, but a high-speed, high-temperature
Figure 2. Grease Consistency
electric motor will require only AW, not EP. The reason EP isnt used
in electric motors is due to its high chemical corrosiveness at high
When the acoustic signal regrease
temperatures. For this reason, additives are just as important in the
Bearing quiets
upon application
increases but doesnt volume grease selection process as base oil viscosity/type and thickener
come back down,
of grease discountinue greasing or ... type. Additives are included in the formulation to help with the
... discontinue
performance and durability of the grease, but selecting the wrong
additive package for the application can have a reverse effect.
Decibels (dB)

greasing upon
reaching the
5) Determine the required performance properties. As with
maximum lubricating oils, greases have their own specific performance prop-
erties, such as dropping point, mechanical stability, water washout,
Stopping here
Additional shots of grease results in a
may not leave
temporary increase in acoustic emission
bleed characteristics and pumpability. Based on these properties, a
enough reserve
until excess grease can purge away from grease selection method should contain testing on greases chosen
moving elements
to perform under adverse conditions. This means that if a grease is
being used in a very slow-speed, highly loaded application, you
Volume (Grease) should perform a test for the greases ability to withstand this
Figure 3. Ultrasonic-assisted Relubrication Volume
loading; but for a standard application, where operational and
performance conditions arent subjected to the extremes, choosing
a standard-performing grease should suffice as long as all other
selection steps have been followed.
Ultrasonic Alarm Regrease Interval
Threshold Relubrication Volume
Once you select the proper grease, it is time to determine the
Ultrasonic Trend proper relubrication volume. There are many methods used to
Regrease when
Decibels (dB)

the ultrasonic derive the relubrication volume. These can range from a general
alarm threshold calculation to using ultrasonic technology. To build a world-class
is exceeded, or
when the time lubrication program (not just for greasing), employ multiple tech-
threshold is nological disciplines to ensure that you have accounted for all of
whichever the variables.
Use ultrasonic trend comes first Two of the many methods used to determine the relubrication
data to adjust
scheduled interval volume of a grease-lubricated bearing is the calculated volume and
6 Months
ultrasonic-assisted greasing.
The calculation is:
Figure 4. Calculated and Ultrasonic Re-lubrication Frequency Gq = 0.114 x D x B

28 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Where ... equipment is performing and if any important
Gq = Relubrication volume (ounces) maintenance items need to be addressed before a
D = Bearing outside diameter (inches) catastrophic failure occurs. Some of the draw-
B = Bearing total width (inches) backs are: it is more labor intensive and can be less
Both of these methods are acceptably accurate accurate depending on the lubrication engineers
when used by themselves, but when they are used in knowledge and experience levels.
conjunction, the accuracy of the relubrication Some benefits of using a central grease system
volume increases substantially. Figure 3 is a represen- or SPL are: less manpower is needed and it can be
tation of adjusting the relubrication volume with the used in remote locations for easier and safer relu-
help of ultrasonic technology. As shown here, the brication. Some of the drawbacks are: the
calculated relubrication volume can be increased or lubrication engineer is less aware of the operating
decreased depending upon the ultrasonic signal.
conditions and maintenance needs of the equip-
ment due to the length of time between reservoir
Relubrication Frequency refills, and over- or under-lubrication can easily
As with determining the relubrication volume,
happen depending on the calibration of the lubri-
there are many methods for determining the
cating unit.
appropriate relubrication interval. This is a vari-
When using the manual grease gun application,
able that depends on a host of outside factors,
it is important for the lubrication engineer to
including contamination, operating time, temper-
know the exact amount of grease expelled from
ature, etc. For the sake of consistency, a calculated
and an ultrasonic approach will be discussed. The the grease gun with one stroke. To know this,
most accurate but most subjective method, due to simply use a digital scale and dispense one strokes
determining certain correction factors, is the worth of grease and weigh it.
calculated frequency.
T=K x [( 14,000,000
n x (d0.5) )
- (4 x d) ] Having an increased knowledge of the factors
that are needed to employ proper greasing, it is
easy to see why this fundamentally easy task can
Where ... lead to ill-advised decisions and inaccurate
T = Time (hours) results. A proper regreasing strategy should
K = Product of correction factors (see chart) include fundamental methods along with some
n = RPM new technologies, such as ultrasonic-assisted
d = Bore diameter (inches) functions, and a lubrication engineer with proper
Using ultrasonic technology here will help you training and knowledge.
hone in on the most accurate relubrication
interval achievable. It will take time, dedication References
and data, but it can show big savings in manpower Jarrod Potteiger. Step-by-Step Grease Selection.
and cost if implemented correctly. Figure 4 shows Machinery Lubrication magazine, September 2005.
the correlation between the calculated relubrica-
Figures 1 and 2 are courtesy of ExxonMobil.
tion frequency and ultrasonic technology.
As shown in this figure, the alarm limit for relu-
brication frequency either can be triggered by the About the Author
Stephen Sumerlin is a technical consultant with
calculated interval or the ultrasonic threshold
Noria Reliability Solutions, working on Lubrication
being surpassed. This technology will help ensure
Process Design Phase II projects for Noria clients. He is
that over- or under-greasing is kept to a minimum. a mechanical engineer and a certified Level I Machine
Lubrication Technician (MLT) through the International
Relube Application Method Council for Machinery Lubrication. Contact Stephen at
There are many application methods available
to choose from depending on the applications
requirements, available manpower and allowable
budgets. There are two typical methods for
Would You Like to Contribute?
Are you a technical expert? If so, we want to
applying grease: manual grease gun and central
publish your lubrication article in Machinery
grease system or single-point lubricator (SPL). Lubrication. To submit a technical article, please
Each of these methods has benefits and drawbacks. send it to editor-in-chief Paul V. Arnold via e-mail
Some benefits of using a manual grease gun at
are: the lubrication engineer gets to see how the

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 29


Spill Response Kits Green Force Cleaners

Oil Eater introduced emergency spill kits that are designed to CRCs Green Force cleaner line is formulated to meet strict environ-
contain and clean up hazardous spills as required by the Occupational mental requirements without sacrificing performance. Green Force
Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Environmental Multi-Purpose Cleaner, Heavy Duty Cleaner and Glass & Surface Cleaner
Protection Agency (EPA). The all-in-one, professional-grade kits are recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencys Design for
include Oil Eater Original cleaner/degreaser for cleaning surfaces after the Environment (DfE) Formulator Initiative. Green Force products are
absorption of a spill. Kits are available in 25-, 65- and 95-gallon over- biodegradable, plastic-safe, non-flammable and can be used in many
packs which can handle the corresponding volume of liquid. Each kit applications around your facility. Heavy Duty Cleaner quickly removes
contains a generous supply of absorbent pads, pillows, universal petroleum-based soils such as grease, grime and oil found in manufac-
snakes, booms, protective gloves, oil-resistant high-temperature turing and warehouse environments. Multi-Purpose Cleaner is safe and
disposal bags and an emergency response instruction guide. versatile. Its concentrated formula effectively cuts greasy film and soils,
leaving surfaces sparkling clean.
Kafko International Ltd. CRC Industries

BLUE WORKS Product Line

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Industrial-strength Cleaners strength, specialty maintenance products that surpass industry standards
The Zep Professional line of industrial-strength degreasers, hand and deliver superior performance under tough conditions. The BLUE
cleaners, lubricants and penetrants can handle tough tasks and soils. WORKS product line consists of eight products: Contact Cleaner,
Heavy-Duty High Alkaline Cleaner and Soy Industrial Hand Cleaner Degreaser, Dry Lube PTFE Formula, High-Performance PTFE Lubricant,
are among the products in this line. High Multi-Purpose Lubricant, Penetrant, Silicone, and White Lithium Grease.
Alkaline Cleaner is a concentrated, multi- Developed at the WD-40 Research and Development Center, BLUE
purpose, low-foam, powerfully alkaline WORKS is the first line of products that carries the WD-40 Company
cleaner and degreaser designed to signature on its cans. Each product in the BLUE WORKS line is industrial
clean the toughest soils in heavy-duty grade, and multiple independent ASTM tests show the product line
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washer. Soy Industrial Hand
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Zep Inc.

30 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


Helpful Hints and Neat Ideas

from Fellow Readers
T he Lube-Tips section of Machinery out; I had two-inch collars welded into the
Lubrication magazine features innova- holes. I then put an oil absorption pad in
tive ideas submitted by our readers. the bottom of the drum. I spray-painted the
Additional tips can be found in our Lube- top blue and screwed the color-coded drum
Tips e-mail newsletter. If you have a tip to adapters into the lid. I also would recom-
share, e-mail it to editor-in-chief Paul V. mend using dust caps. This storage method
Arnold at To sign up helps control contamination, safely stores
for the Lube-Tips e-mail newsletter, visit drum adapters and keeps them where they and click are easily found.
on the Newsletters link found near the top
of the home page.

How to Time A paper towel absorbs water and trans-

fers it off the top of an oil drum.
Filter Changes
This technical tip was submitted by Jason used to remove water from the top of a
Frankiewicz, a member of the reliability drum. Attach a paper towel to the top of
team at Holcim (US) Inc.: the drum. In the above photo, a magnetic
When is the correct time to change a clip was used. Allow the paper towel to
filter? Is it when the differential pressure hang over the edge of the drum so that the
gauge reads 25, 40 or is topped out? Some water wicks through the towel and down
systems have a built-in pressure relief that the side of the drum. Water will continue to
may never allow the back-pressure to indicate travel from the top of the drum to the
the need for a filter change. Writing the date ground. This reduces breathing of water
that the filter was last changed on the filter or through the bungs.
tag can help. Including the filter part number A grease drum has been outfitted to
also has proved useful. Consider covering the Reuse That Grease Drum hold a myriad of drum adapters.
date and part number with plastic so that it This tip was sent in by Mark D. Jones Sr.,
isnt wiped off during cleaning. a lubrication consultant at Lubrication
Advice for Spotting
Outdoor Lube Storage Tip When I design a lubrication storage Oil Leaks
This tip is courtesy of David Turner, a room using Norias best practices, there is This tip came from Josh Redington, a reli-
lubricants technical advisor at Shell Global never a way to properly store the Des-Case ability facilitator at Jennie-O Turkey Store:
Solutions: drum adapters. Afterward, I always find When possible, add dyes to your
To minimize water and particulate them lying in the bottom of the tote hydraulic oil to make it easier to spot leaks.
contamination from entering new drums of containment vessel or stacked into a corner Colors such as purple or red will stand out
oil, it is preferred to keep drums indoors collecting dust and becoming contami- much more than the natural color of the oil,
and stacked horizontally. However, when it nated. In a recent lube storage room especially in sunlight. Confirm dye compat-
is necessary to store drums outdoors and conversion, I noticed an empty grease drum. ibility with your lubricant manufacturer
uncovered, here is a technique that may be I then found the lid and had five holes cut before adding.

32 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


SHAFTALIGN First low-cost color display shaft align- CONTROL WATER CONTAMINATION. Remove
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with SHAFTALIGN in 3 easy steps: Enter Dimensions | will make an immediate impact on your reliability
efforts. No more mistakes or cross-contamination. JENSEN Desorbers. Proven, effective and reliable.
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Quickly monitor the remaining useful life of

lubricants. The RULER provides an easy on-site An EP grease for extended, heavy-duty service, LEs
Spectroil Q100 new oil analysis spectrometers. Almagard Vari-Purpose Lubricant stays put even in
Easiest and fastest elemental analysis of wear method for monitoring antioxidants and identi-
severe conditions. It lengthens intervals, will not
metals, contaminants and additives in lubricants, fying problems like lube oil varnish. Maximize harden with age, and extends bearing life by up to
hydraulic fluids, and coolants. lubricant life with the RULER. threefold.
Spectro Inc. Fluitec Lubrication Engineers Inc. 978-431-1120 888-557-9575 800-537-7683

Easy Vac Inc. provides the right tool for an The Introduction to Lubrication Fundamentals
important job! Vampire fluid sampling pumps ... Summit HyPar FG Hydraulic Fluids are synthetic video-based training teaches lubrication basics through
small, hand-operated vacuum pumps accept any blend lubricants, designed for hydraulic equipment high-quality animation and video. Learning is fun and
size sampling tube (with an OD of 3/16 inch to used in the food service, beverage, and packaging convenient and employers can provide standardized
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sories are also available. Summit Industrial Products Noria Corporation
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34 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Krytox Fluorinated Greases and Oils are chemi- MAT. PIG BLUE Absorbent Mat features a unique Des-Case Extreme Duty breathers have been
cally inert, insoluble in common solvents. blend of recycled cellulose and polypropylene designed to take contamination control to a whole
Temperatures range from -103 to 800F. designed to absorb and disperse liquid evenly with new level, standing up to a wide variety of applica-
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metals. Nonflammable, oxygen compatible, no sili- power. The mats 70% recycled content provides an cause of contamination, keeping dirt and water
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Three problems, one solution. C.C. JENSEN is Keep your hands free and your lubricant spot-on years of trouble-free service. Filter elements for
focused on supplying highly efficient and reliable with perma automatic lubricators. Preloaded with viscosity ranges from fuels to gear oils (ISO 1000).
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C.C. Jensen Inc. Lubrication Engineers Inc. the ability to remove one gallon of water from oil. 800-221-1430 800-537-7683 Harvard Corporation 800-523-1327

A new full-color 104-page catalog is available on Best Practices for Lubricant Storage and Handling MEMOLUB Lubrication Systems Precise,
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Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 35

Get a Printable Version
CROSSWORD PUZZLER of This Puzzle Online at:

1 2 3

4 5 6 7

9 10






16 17


19 20


4 The author of As I See It columns in Machinery 1 The total number of API basestock categories (groups)
Lubrication 2 A non-ferrous wear metal
8 This type of additive uses magnesium, calcium 3 Direct reading ferrography uses this to collect ferrous
and/or barium particles
9 This additive uses silicon 5 The subject of this issues Get to Know ... article works
11 The type of wear caused by rolling contact for this company
13 Instrument used to measure levels of iron, tin, lead and 6 What the GL stands for in oils labeled API GL 4 or GL 5
copper in an oil sample
7 The TIEM plant featured in this issues cover story is from
14 What the F stands for in FTIR this state.
16 If high pressure were applied to a lubricant, would the 10 Early, random and time-dependent are the three
viscosity decrease or increase? classes of what?
17 The prime acronym used in Brendan Caseys column 12 According to Drew Troyers column in this issue, nearly
in this issue 80% of equipment failures are attributable to what?
18 Jeremy Wright writes about these in this issues Back Page 15 Abrasive wear is the result of this type of contact
Basics column
19 Breakdown maintenance is also known as what?
20 If diesel engine exhaust shows white smoke, what is likely to
show up in the oil analysis?
21 The type of contamination explored in the article by SKF in
this issue Get the solution on Page 45.
36 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Addressing Oil Contamination

in Paper Machine Applications

Oil systems associated with the wet end of a paper machine are
O il contaminated by water is a common problem in the recircu-
lating oil systems used on paper machines. This article looks at
how contamination may occur and discusses methods for
particularly vulnerable. The nature of the paper forming process
means that the air in this area is inevitably moisture-laden. Bearing
preventing and removing water contamination. housings are generally warmer than the surrounding atmosphere
and frequently employ sealing arrangements that afford little
An Introduction protection from spraying water.
Experience tells us that no bearing lubricant exists that completely Vents in oil drainage headers intended to facilitate oil flow back
protects a bearing against the effects of moisture. Water-contaminated to the reservoir have been found in some cases to contribute to
lubricants suffer a range of problems, the most serious being corrosion moisture contamination of the oil.
and lubrication breakdown. Relatively small amounts of water in lubri- Transportation, handling and storage problems can result in mois-
cants can have drastic effects on bearing life. ture contamination of new oil, perhaps even as much as 1,000 ppm.
Experience suggests that contamination levels as low as 0.02 Numerous studies have demonstrated the detrimental effect
percent (200 parts per million) can have an effect on bearing life. that water has on the wear characteristics of rotating and hydraulic
The relationship between contamination and life reduction is, equipment. Oil, when mixed with water, loses some of its lubri-
however, non-linear and complex. Factors such as oil cating properties. The oil film between the rotating elements in a
type/solubility, additive packages, degree of degradation, etc., all bearing is a critical factor in the bearing life. Presence of water in
affect the susceptibility of a lubricant to this problem. the oil will reduce film thickness.
Bearings used in the paper industry are particularly prone to
such problems due to the nature of the application. There are many Water in Oil
possible sources of water contamination, including: There are several elements of water-in-oil contamination. These
Leaking steam joints include:
Free water: Free water typically settles toward the bottom of the
Oil reservoirs open to the atmosphere or prone to condensation
oil reservoir. This factor usually is allowed for when designing the
in the tank
reservoirs used in oil circulating systems for paper machines.
Spraying of clean-up water Typically, the reservoir will be sized so as to ensure that the oil is
retained for at least 30 minutes in the reservoir; this allows free water
to settle before the oil is recirculated. This usually means that the
reservoir capacity will equate to 10 times the rated pump capacity.
Indeed, for wet-end oil circulating systems, some manufacturers
recommend a reservoir sized for 60 minutes of retention time.
Emulsified water: Emulsified water exists as very fine bubbles
suspended in the oil. It is characterized by the whitish or hazy
portion that is often seen in contaminated systems. The bubbles
are usually about five to 10 microns in diameter. Emulsification of
water can result from a number of courses:
Use of high-shear pumps
High-velocity pipelines
Figure 1. Left: new grease. Right: milky grease as the Fine filtration medium
result of water inclusion. Additive packages designed to emulsify water

38 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Dissolved water: Oil, like air, can hold water in solution, up to its expended in this area can have significant effects on mill reliability
saturation point, which will depend upon the oil type and temper- and availability.
ature. Oil containing dissolved water may still appear clear and Steam joints: Leaking steam joints are a major source of water
bright. Once the saturation point is exceeded, the oil usually contamination. Typically, escaping steam is blown against bearing
appears cloudy or milky. housings on the back side of dryer sections. The resulting conden-
sate contaminates the oil system. Some mills employ flingers to
Detection Methods prevent this. The best solution is to avoid having steam leaks at all.
Several methods exist for detecting and measuring water contam- Seals: Most bearing housings are fitted with a labyrinth-type
ination of oil. These range from largely subjective methods to seal that allows water to pass through into the bearing housing.
sophisticated laboratory techniques offering a high level of accuracy. Flingers or stationary add-on shields improve the protection
Fluorescing dyes are available that allow the user to judge the afforded to the bearing.
amount of water that is present by the degree of fluorescence, but this Inspections: Check lubrication drainage systems for holes or
method is really only suited to confirm a suspect condition. Experience openings that allow water or water vapor to get into the system.
shows it to be limited in terms of repeatability and accuracy. Such problems are commonly found in vents. Rigorously check
A more accurate method involves driving off the water in the piping for holes.
form of steam and then quantifying the amount. At least one Oil/water heat exchangers: The purpose of these units is to cool
supplier of oil systems offers this technology to mills for their own the oil as it returns to the reservoir. The design of modern systems
in-house use. The method offers accuracies to 0.01 percent. is usually such that the oil pressure is higher than the pressure of
Lab services are now commonly available from oil and filter the cooling water so that any leaks should result in oil contami-
companies. However, experience suggests that sampling is often nating the water, rather than the other way around. Severe leaks of
not undertaken frequently enough to prevent formation of damage this kind can be a serious problem, but its usually of a different
on bearing races. Damage will, in time, lead to failure. kind (e.g., environmental).
Some older-type reservoirs also use steam coils to heat oil in the
Preventing Contamination reservoir before it goes to the machine. Leaks here can cause water
Undoubtedly, the best way to avoid these moisture-related prob- to enter the tank, and shutting off the heaters may be a short-term
lems is to prevent the contamination from occurring. Effort solution. However, sending cold oil to the bearings results in other

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 39


lubrication problems, and so this is not a perma- Other filter-type approaches involve use of
nent solution. Modern systems tend to employ absorbent filter media to remove free and emulsified
electric immersion heaters to avoid this problem. water as it passes through the cartridges. Such
Sweep air: Oil returns to the reservoir at a methods are considered by some to be cumbersome
higher temperature than its environment. because of the need to periodically renew the filters
Moisture in the returning oil, or in the air and because of the uncertainty of operation.
surrounding it, may condense in the free air space
above the oil in the reservoir. If the tank design Conclusions
doesnt allow sufficient retention to allow settling Presence of water in lubricating oil is detrimental
to occur, this moisture will contaminate the oil in to bearing life. The best way to prevent this is to
the reservoir. One solution is to pass filtered air avoid water contamination of the oil, rather than
across this air space by means of an exhaust fan. use techniques for removing water from the oil.
Some system suppliers use a more elaborate air However, if resources arent available for preventing
dryer to condition the air in the air space. the problem at the source, then money must be
spent on removal processes. Removal systems vary
in cost and effectiveness, and choice is dictated by
Removing Contamination the specific requirement and the resources avail-
There are several methods with which to
able. Expenditure incurred in keeping water out of
remove contamination. These include:
lubrication systems will have a payback in terms of
Vacuum dehydrators: The contaminated oil is
increased machine uptime. Avoiding the need for
heated in a vacuum. This lowers the boiling point maintenance staff to undertake bearing replace-
of the water. The water contained in the oil (both ments on an emergency basis also avoids
free and emulsified) is thus released as water compromising planned maintenance activities and
vapor, which is then condensed and removed. the problems that can arise as a result of such activ-
Unlike other methods, this process doesnt also ities not being timely undertaken.
remove oil additives, and air and other non-
condensable gases are removed through the About the Author
vacuum pump. Commercial systems are available John Yolton is a maintenance strategy consultant
to implement this process, and some of these also for SKF Reliability Systems and its @ptitudeXchange
feature separate filters for particulate removal. knowledge resource. For more information, visit
Such systems are usually rated in terms of and or
throughput capacity. However, water removal effi- e-mail
ciency is dependent upon the level of vacuum
obtained. As a result, it can vary widely from
system to system. Sign Up for Norias
Centrifugal cleaners: Centrifuges are effective in Free E-newsletters
removing free water but are ineffective for removing Lube-Tips is a unique educational
emulsified or dissolved water, which will not separate resource designed to give maintenance and
by gravity. Centrifuges also are limited in their appli- operations professionals an insiders grasp
cation because of their inability to remove entrained of lubrication and lubricants. Each week,
gases and air that are present in lubricating systems. this highly used e-newsletter offers tips and
Also, centrifuges are often perceived to be high-main- facts intended to provide mind-opening
insights and take the mystery out of machine
tenance pieces of equipment.
lubrication. Subscribe today by visiting
Other methods: Coalescence-type separators
speed the process that oil and water do naturally Filtration Tips presents commonsense
(i.e. separate). This is achieved by use of filters contamination control advice for mainte-
(known as coalescence media) made of materials nance and reliability professionals. From
that are hydrophobic (water repellent) and guidelines for selecting the right filtering
oleophilic (oil attracting). These cause the oil to media to game plans for attaining maximum
form into droplets that float to the surface of the machine cleanliness levels to solutions for
separation chamber. This effectively forms two addressing contamination problems that
zones of liquid in the chamber. The separated oil occur in most facilities, this e-newsletter
flows into a collection chamber for removal, while shares expert advice. Subscribe by visiting
the clear water underflows the oil and is
Additional Noria e-newsletters are avail-
discharged on a continuous basis. Solids also
able by visiting
settle out through the filter media and are Page/Subscriptions.
collected in a sludge tank.

40 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


More Facts, Clarifications on

Changes to Certification Exams

The syllabus of this modified MLT I, which is the new MLA I,

T he International Council for Machinery Lubrication is
entering its 10th year of operations, having certified more
than 5,000 professionals in 67 different countries and through
was accepted by ISO into the 18436-4 for its importance in
machine and lubricant knowledge and for being a more basic, suit-
exams in eight languages. There are more than 1,000 companies able entry level for an international standard dealing with the
around the world with ICML-certified personnel. And for more qualification and assessment of field-based oil analysts. So, think
than seven years, ICML has been considered the de facto world of the ISO standard 18436-4 categories I, II and III at ICML as basi-
standard when it comes to certification of lubrication and oil cally the original MLT I plus three oil analysis subject areas (now
analysis professionals. available through the new MLA I); the original MLA I (now
The global recognition of ICMLs credentials and programs is renamed MLA II) and the original MLA II (now renamed MLA III).
vast; and in 2004, it was proposed to ISO that the councils work,
including its bodies of knowledge for the Machine Lubricant MLT Program Changes
Analyst (MLA) programs, be incorporated into a then-developing The pioneering of the MLT I from a machinery lubrication scope
standard on certification of field analyst professionals. In 2008, the in nature into an oil analysis standard creates a possible overlap in
standard was published with a great approval rating by the member the two career tracks at ICML for individuals interested in both oil
countries. ICML is very honored that its bodies of knowledge for analysis and machinery lubrication.
the MLA Level I, MLA Level II and Machine Lubrication Technician There was some rearranging of percentages on the original MLT I
(MLT) Level I certifications were pioneered into the first-ever ISO subject areas to make space for adding the needed oil analysis
international standard on qualification and assessment of field subject areas. However, these are meant to be covered at a very basic,
lubricant analysts. The ICML MLA I and MLA II certification entry level. This means that the new MLA I and the original MLT I
programs subject areas were brought into ISO 18436-4 as have bodies of knowledge that are approximately 80 percent similar
Category II and Category III. in subject area content. Despite this, ICML decided to keep the orig-
To reflect the equivalence with the ISO 18436-4 standard, ICML inal MLT I exam available for people interested only in machinery
recently decided to rename its original MLA I and MLA II certifica- lubrication (not oil analysis) as a career. For those who prefer the
tions as MLA II and MLA III, since MLA I and II are equivalent to choice of both machinery lubrication and oil analysis career
categories II and III, respectively, within ISO 18436-4. tracks/certification, the entry point to both is the new MLA I exam.
Granted that a new MLA I certificate holder meets the requirements,
MLA Program Changes he or she can pursue MLA II and then the MLA III or MLT II exam.
ICMLs original top category in the oil analysis track, MLA II, is As for whether there are plans to add an MLT III, the new MLA
equivalent to the top category of the 18436-4 standard, Category III is essentially the original MLA II, just renamed for clarity sake.
III, because the ISO version was designed to be a three-tier ICML has not added a higher level to the MLA series and doesnt
program, not two tiers like the original ICML program. envision adding a higher level specific to the MLT series, either.
ICMLs original MLA I was considered too challenging to be ICML does have plans for and is working on a Machinery
used as an entry-level international standard category, too high a Lubrication Engineer (MLE) certification, which targets the person
bar for the world as a whole. Therefore, a more basic category above both the MLT II and original MLA II, now called MLA III.
was added to the oil analysis series. As it turned out, this entry Therefore, the proposed career path would be:
level was actually based on the MLT I, with some basic oil Machinery Lubrication
sampling, basic lubricant health and a general view of wear debris MLT I, MLT II, MLE
knowledge added, since the standard was for oil analysis, not Field Oil Analysis (18436-4 equivalent)
machinery lubrication alone. MLA I, MLA II, MLA III, MLE

42 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

Mature Student Clause
The alignment with ISO meant ICML now
offers a three-tier program on the oil analysis
track, where before, entry level was at what is
now called the MLA II. However, for the seasoned
oil analysis professional, nothing changes.
ICMLs original requirement allowed people
with two or more years of full-time experience in oil
analysis to sit for the MLA I, now called MLA II.
Despite the creation of a more basic entry level to
the program (new MLA I), professionals that
would have originally qualified to sit for the orig-
inal MLA I need not take the new MLA I exam as a
point of entry, despite the prerequisite now in exis-
tence in ISO. You may actually qualify to still enter
the ICML oil analysis career path via the same
exam, now called MLA Level II. This is possible via
a mature student clause. This clauses intent is to
allow the knowledgeable, experienced pro to
bypass the training and exam requirements of the
prerequisite entry category (new MLA I).
To qualify for exam as a mature student
candidate, there are additional experience
requirements, which are comparable to ICMLs
pre-ISO requirements. There is also the require-
ment of having a knowledge base in the MLA Is
body of knowledge subject areas. Such knowl-
edge in the MLA I syllabus subject areas,
however, need not have been acquired through
formal training. On-the-job training and experi-
ence are acceptable for demonstrating MLA I
knowledge under this mature student clause. Of
course, formal training in the MLA II exam body
of knowledge would still be required, even for
entry under this mature student clause.
For more information on the specifics of
ICMLs mature student entry clause for
the MLA II program, or if you have any
general certification-related questions, e-mail

About ICML
The International Council for Machinery
Lubrication (ICML) is a vendor-neutral, not-for-profit
organization founded to facilitate growth and devel-
opment of machine lubrication as a technical field of
endeavor. Among its various activities, ICML offers skill
certification testing for individuals in the fields of
machine condition monitoring, lubrication and oil
analysis. ICML is an independently chartered organiza-
tion consisting of both paid professional staff
members and volunteer advisors. It provides lubrica-
tion and oil analysis standard development support,
scholarship, skill-based testing and certification, and
recognition of excellence. For more information
about ICML, visit

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 43


The Dos and Donts

of Oil Sampling

an injection molding machine. Its under these conditions that well

P eople love dos and donts lists. A quick Google search will
yield 10.9 million hits for what to do and not do. A quick scan
through the endless supply of D&D lists will show that many of the
capture a sample that best represents the machine conditions most
likely to cause accelerated wear.
subjects people feel the need on which to provide unsolicited 2) DO sample upstream of filters and downstream of machine
consulting really dont have a defined method of approach beyond components. Filters are designed to pull out wear debris and
common sense. For example, the dos and donts of air travel barely contaminants, so sampling downstream of these data-strippers
stretch outside the realm of common sense. Advice such as Do not provides no value. However, taking a sample before and after a
place your firearm in your carry-on luggage or Do not smoke filter for a simple particle count will allow you to see how well the
while in the aircraft goes without saying. Then there are the do and filter is currently operating. Obviously, we expect the particle count
do-not-do lists for topics that are highly subjective such as fashion before the filter to be higher than after the filter. If its not, its time
(Dont wear white after Labor Day). to change the filter. Condition-based filter changes can be very
Thankfully, in the realm of oil analysis and machinery lubrica- important for sensitive systems and expensive filters.
tion, few dos and donts can be considered subjective. In this case, 3) DO create specific written procedures for each system
were talking about what to do and not do related to oil sampling sampled. DO NOT change sampling methods or locations.
for analysis. These simple rules will make or break the integrity of Everything we do in oil analysis and machinery lubrication should
your sample, which is meant to drive your maintenance and relia- have a detailed procedure to back up the task. Each maintenance
bility decisions. point in the plant should have specific and unique procedures
detailing who, what, where, when and how. Oil sampling proce-
Follow the Rules dures are no different. We need to identify the sample location, the
Oil analysis is a condition monitoring tool designed to monitor: amount of flush volume, the frequency of sampling, the timing
fluid properties, or the condition of the oil and the additives; within a cycle to sample, and indicate what tools and accessories to
fluid contamination; and, use on that specific sample point based on lubricant type, pressure
machine wear. and amount of fluid required.
However, the analysis of a sample greatly depends on the quality 4) DO ensure that sampling valves and sampling devices are
of the sample itself. A high-quality sample translates into one that thoroughly flushed prior to taking the sample. DO NOT use dirty
is rich with data and free from noise. The content of this article is sampling equipment or reuse sample tubing. Cross-contamination
nothing new. Dozens (if not hundreds) of articles, papers and has always been a problem in oil sampling. The truth of the matter
books have had some advice for us to follow when extracting a is that flushing is an important task that is often overlooked.
sample of oil from a machine for analysis. However, as an industry, Failure to flush the sample location properly will produce a sample
we dont seem to get it right. with a high degree of noise. Flushing prior to sampling needs to
The same rules for oil sampling still apply, just like they always account for the amount of dead space between the sample valve
did. Here is the most recent do and do-not-do list for oil sampling and the active system multiplied by a factor of 10. If there is a run
from my perspective. of pipe 12 inches long between the sample valve and the active
1) DO sample from running machines. DO NOT sample cold system that holds one fluid ounce of oil, you need to flush a
systems. This rule goes beyond simply starting the machine to take minimum of 10 fluid ounces before taking the sample for analysis.
the sample. The ideology behind oil analysis is to capture a snap- Flushing the dead space also will flush your other accessories such
shot of the system at the time of sampling. The timing of the as your sample valve adapter and new tubing.
sampling should be when the system is under the greatest amount 5) DO ensure that samples are taken at proper frequencies. DO
of stress. Typically, the best time to sample a system is when the NOT sample as time permits. Many of those responsible for taking
system is under normal working load and normal conditions. This oil samples rarely see the results of the analysis. One of the most
can be a tricky task when sampling from a system that continuously powerful aspects of oil analysis is identifying a change in the baseline
cycles during normal production, such as the hydraulic system on of a sample and understanding the rate at which the change has

44 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication

occurred. For example, a sample of new oil should have zero parts About the Author
per million (ppm) of iron when tested as the baseline. As regular As technical operations director for Noria Reliability Solutions, Jason
sampling and analysis continues, we may see the iron level increase. Kopschinskys primary responsibilities include managing numerous and
An increase of 10 or 12 ppm per sample may be considered critical; varied projects in the areas of: plant audits and gap analysis, Lubrication
however, if the frequency is not consistent, what is considered normal Process Design, oil analysis program design, lube PM rationalization and
redesign, lubricant storage and handling, contamination control system
becomes very subjective. If our frequency of sampling is 12 months, a
design, and lubrication and mechanical failure investigations. Contact
rise in iron of 12 ppm isnt a major cause of concern. If our frequency Jason at
is weekly, a rise in iron of 12 ppm is very concerning. Setting up the
appropriate sampling frequency and adhering to it will allow for
precise analysis and sound maintenance decisions. Crossword Puzzler Solutions: From Page 36

6) DO forward samples immediately to the oil analysis lab after F B M

sampling. DO NOT wait more than 24 hours to send samples out.
As mentioned earlier, oil sampling is much like taking a snapshot of D E F O A M A N T N N A N D
your system at a point in time. The health of a lubricated system A Z N R E I
can change dramatically in a very short period of time. If a problem S U R F A C E F A T I G U E I L T A
is detected in a system, the earlier it is detected, the less cata- H P E U I N
strophic potential it may have. Jumping on a problem early will not
only allow you time to plan for a repair, but the repair will poten- E P U I
tially be less significant. F O U R I E R L R C
Apply Them Today L F
This dos and donts list for oil sampling could go on and on. D I O I L S E N S O R S
Each and every system will have unique and specific considerations I L U T
for what to do and not do when sampling. The tips in this article N R U N T O F A I L U R E C O O L A N T
will provide big bang for your buck and can be applied to most
systems in your sampling program.

Machinery Lubrication March - April 2010 45


An Overview of Oil Level

Sensors and How They Work

il sensors and analyzers are used in automotive and industrial (20 to 200 kilohertz) acoustic waves that are reflected back to and
O applications to gather or send valuable information. They can detected by the emitting transducer.
range from a simple, float-type oil level indicator to a complex, in- Turbulence, foam, steam, chemical mists (vapors) and changes
line laser particle counter and everything in between. This article in the concentration of the process material also affect the ultra-
will outline the different types of oil level sensors, demystify how sonic sensors response. Turbulence and foam prevent the sound
they work and explain the results they return to the user. wave from being properly reflected to the sensor. Steam and chem-
ical mists and vapors distort or absorb the sound wave. Variations
Mechanical Sensors in concentration cause changes in the amount of energy in the
The mechanical sensor is the simplest and most widely used level sound wave that is reflected back to the sensor. Use stilling wells
sensor. The principle behind magnetic, mechanical, cable and other and wave guides to prevent errors caused by these factors.
float level sensors involves the opening or closing of a mechanical Proper mounting of the transducer is required to ensure best
switch, either through direct contact with the switch or magnetic response to reflected sound. In addition, the tank should be relatively
operation of a reed. With magnetically actuated float sensors, free of obstacles such as weldments, brackets or ladders to minimize
switching occurs when a permanent magnet sealed inside a float false returns and the resulting erroneous response, although most
rises or falls to the actuation level. With a mechanically actuated modern systems have sufficiently intelligent echo processing to
float, switching occurs as a result of the movement of a float make engineering changes largely unnecessary except where an intru-
against a miniature (micro) switch. The choice of float material sion blocks the line of sight of the transducer to the target.
also is influenced by temperature-induced changes in specific
The requirement for electronic signal processing circuitry can be
gravity and viscosity; such changes directly affect buoyancy.
used to make the ultrasonic sensor an intelligent device. Ultrasonic
Dont use float-style sensors with very high-viscosity (thick) oils,
sensors can be designed to provide point-level control, continuous
oils that have a tendency to form sludge and varnish, or heavily
monitoring or both. Due to the presence of a microprocessor and
contaminated oils. Other sensing technologies are better suited for
these applications. relatively low power consumption, there also is capability for serial
A special application of float-type sensors is the determination communication to other computing devices, making this a good
of interface level in oil-water separation systems. You can use two technique for adjusting calibration and filtering of the sensor signal,
floats, with each float sized to match the specific gravity of the oil remote wireless monitoring or plant network communications.
on one hand and the water on the other. Another special applica- To summarize, the ultrasonic sensor enjoys wide popularity due
tion of a stem-type float switch is the installation of temperature or to the powerful mix of low price and high functionality.
pressure sensors to create a multi-parameter sensor. Magnetic float
switches are popular for simplicity, dependability and low cost. Conductive Sensors
As most all oils have an insulating property, conductive level
Pneumatic Sensors sensors arent exactly the best choice for an oil level sensor.
Use pneumatic level sensors where hazardous conditions exist, However, many liquids in industry are conductive, so these sensors
where there is no electric power or its use is restricted, and in appli- are included in this article.
cations involving heavy sludge or slurry. Since the compression of a Conductive level sensors are ideal for the point-level detection of
column of air against a diaphragm is used to actuate a switch, no a wide range of conductive liquids such as water, and is especially
process liquid contacts the sensors moving parts. These sensors well suited for highly corrosive liquids such as caustic soda,
are suitable for use with highly viscous liquids such as grease. This hydrochloric acid, nitric acid, ferric chloride and similar liquids. For
has the additional benefit of being a relatively low-cost technique those conductive liquids that are corrosive, the sensors electrodes
for point-level monitoring in a lube system. need to be constructed from titanium, Hastelloy B or C, or 316
stainless steel and insulated with spacers, separators or holders of
Ultrasonic Sensors ceramic, polyethylene and Teflon-based materials. Depending on
Use ultrasonic level sensors for non-contact level sensing of highly their design, you can use multiple electrodes of differing lengths
viscous liquids, as well as bulk solids. The sensors emit high-frequency with one holder. Since corrosive liquids become more aggressive as

46 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication


temperature and pressure increase, consider these extreme condi- monitor sump levels, but the devices covered in this article are
tions when specifying these sensors. going to be the most prevalent in nearly all plants.
Conductive level sensors use a low-voltage, current-limited I hope this article gives you a better base knowledge of the
power source applied across separate electrodes. The power supply different types of sensors used. As always, if you would like more
is matched to the conductivity of the liquid, with higher voltage information or wish to discuss this subject in greater detail, feel free
versions designed to operate in less conductive (higher-resistance) to contact me.
mediums. The power source frequently incorporates some aspect of
control, such as high-low or alternating pump control. A conduc-
About the Author
tive liquid contacting both the longest probe (common) and a Jeremy Wright is a certified Machinery Lubricant Analyst (MLA) Level I
shorter probe (return) completes a conductive circuit. and Level II and Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I by the
Conductive sensors are extremely safe because they use low volt- International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML). In addition, he is
ages and currents. Since the current and voltage used is inherently a Certified Maintenance and Reliability Professional (CMRP) by the Society
small, for personal safety reasons, the technique also is capable of for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals (SMRP). Contact Jeremy at
being made intrinsically safe to meet international standards for
hazardous conditions.
Conductive probes have the additional benefit of being solid
state devices and are very simple to install and use. In some liquids Sensor technology
and applications, maintenance can be an issue. The probe must reduces costs, downtime
continue to be conductive. If buildup insulates the probe from the Fluid condition sensors, which can track a variety of fluid
medium, it will stop working properly. A simple inspection of the condition metrics including viscosity, conductivity and dielectric
probe will require an ohmmeter connected across the suspect constant provide the continuous monitoring capability required
probe and the ground reference. to ensure the uninterrupted operation of equipment. Read an
exploratory article on this topic from SenGenuity at Access it by typing SenGenuity
Build on Knowledge Base in the Search box.
There are many other techniques and technologies used to

48 March - April 2010 Machinery Lubrication