IKV Group

Speciality Lubricants

Bearing Lubricant

IKV manufacture a full range of bearing lubricants for all types of application. Bearings are only as effective as the lubricant used, therefore environmental factors such as speed, load, temperature, chemicals in the environment and re-lubrication span need to be taken in to consideration when selecting the appropriate lubricant. Analysis of these factors enable us to select the most effective grease, oil or dry film for the application and bearing type.

Beware! Over greasing a bearing can be as destructive as under greasing, so dosage is an important consideration.

Bearing Lubrication

IKV supply lubricants for use in the most extreme temperatures and aggressive environments.

Bearings, lubricants & seals are often considered as three separate components however really, they should be thought of as one because they are each only as reliable as the other two.

If the bearing isn’t able to perform at the given load, speed and temperature, the result is a bearing failure. If the seals fail, the lubricant does not stay in the bearing and the result is bearing failure.

Often, the lubricant is the cause of bearing failure because it is not suitable for the speed, load, temperature or other environmental factor.

It is possible to analyse the application and working environment of the bearing by asking a few simple questions:-

• What speed is the bearing to be used at? (Speed factor)
• What loads act on the bearing? (Load factor)
• What is the maximum and minimum temperature that the bearing will experience? (Temperature factor)
• What is the nominal operating temperature?
• Are there any chemicals, solvents, acids or other environments that the lubricant will have to withstand?
• Is re-lubrication possible? If so, how often and what is the life requirement?

Once these questions have been answered we need to decide the appropriate lubricant to give the expected life within these conditions.

Grease, Oil or Dry Film Lubricant?

For most bearings we are looking at oil or grease lubrication. A grease is simply a thickened oil; the thickener holds the oil like a sponge and releases it under pressure as required.

We need to look at the speed factor (DN) for the bearing, this is calculated by:

Speed factor = ID of the bearing in mm X the speed in rpm.i.e. a 30mm

An ID bearing with a rotational speed of 1000 rpm will have a speed factor of 30,000.

Usually oil lubrication is needed where speeds are very high (Speed factor is > 800,000) or where the temperature of the bearing is so great that there is a need for a cooling element from the oil.

In most other applications with ball and roller bearings, grease is the preferred lubricant; it stays in place and provided it can cope with the mechanical and environmental aspects can offer ‘lifetime lubrication’.

With grease it is also necessary to consider the fill quantity carefully, as too much grease can cause as many, if not more failures than too little.

Grease, oil, dry film or solid lubricants are used to lubricate bearings. Typically around 90% of rolling bearings used in industry are grease lubricated.

Grease has many advantages over oils as it is more easily retained in the bearing, less likely to contaminate the surrounding area, can be lower cost and although many bearings are re-lubricated, in some cases ‘lubrication for life’ is possible.

Typically oils may be used in higher speed applications and when extremes of temperature are required, although, specialist greases can also be used at high temperatures and in high speed applications.

With both greases and oils used in bearings, the viscosity and working conditions are the most important considerations. Mineral oils and mineral oil based greases are commonly used, but synthetic lubricants may be required for extremes of high and low temperatures or other demanding conditions where long life and minimal re-lubrication are required.

IKV offer the most extensive range of bearing lubricants. However, in order to determine the most effective lubricant for your application, please contact us for a free technical consultation.

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