Ensuring you are using the right lubricant is the first step in protecting machinery and equipment, but the application of that lubricant is just as important.
“To function properly, the lubricant needs to be consistently and reliably applied in the correct amounts, at the right interval,” explains Callum Ford, national marketing manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa. “A simple solution is single-point lubricators, which are automated to deliver the perfect dose of lubricant to a particular component at the ideal interval.”
Ford says single-point lubrication is an investment that pays off through decreased downtime, reduced spares bills, less cross-contamination, and no issues caused by human error.
“People’s time can then be used for other important tasks, rather than on managing lubrication schedules,” he says. “Aside from the cost benefits, the overall performance of equipment is improved. You’re keeping dust and moisture out of your equipment; there is a 24/7 supply of lubrication to essential elements; only the correct lubricant is supplied to critical parts; and there is no excessive or insufficient use of lubricants. Overall plant safety is also better because you don’t need to send people into hard-to-reach or dangerous locations for lubrication to be applied.”
LE South Africa supplies a range of single-point lubrication systems under its Xport brand. Ford notes they are popular in mining operations, power generation sites, and water treatment plants, as well as environments where lubrication is traditionally difficult to apply, such as on cranes in ports, or on wind turbines.
“You can install a single-point lubrication system on blowers, fans, conveyors, roller and slide bearings, open gears, pumps, chains and motors,” he says. “There are options available for almost every application.”
For example, the Xport Classic Lubricator is designed for operating environments between 0° and 40°C and uses an electrochemical reaction and activator screws to control the lubrication application. Depending on the required application, it can be set to discharge 120 cc in periods of up to one year.
For applications that are hygiene-sensitive, such as the food industry, the Xport Futura Lubricator offers next-level resistance to corrosion and the ability to function well in harsh operating conditions.
The Xport Flex Lubricator is designed for challenging applications in a wide range of temperatures. In addition to an adjustable discharge period of between one month and one year, its ingress protection produces consistent lubrication in even very dusty and moist contexts. There are two sizes available, 60 and 125 cc (2,03 and 4,23 fl oz) and it can be installed in hard-to-reach, compact spots.
For extreme conditions, the Xport™ Nova Lubricator can handle temperatures as low as -20° and as high as 60°C, and safely withstands significant temperature variations. “The device has a drive unit that allows the discharge period to be altered and it includes an automatic thermometer that adjusts the discharge rate in line with the fluctuating ambient temperature to maintain ideal lubrication,” explains Ford.
At the top of the Xport range are the Xport Star Vario Lubricator and Star Control Lubricator options.
The Star Vario includes an LCD screen for viewing and is a popular choice for electric motors that have meticulous re-lubrication requirements, while the Star Control system can be connected to an external power source, which allows its settings to be controlled remotely. This unit can be used in either a time or impulse operating mode, which can be set using the LCD display.
“I suggest that people speak to a lubrication specialist about the right single-point system for their particular application to ensure it will match the operating conditions, power requirements and any access constraints or considerations,” says Ford. “A specialist should be able to guide you on optimal installation, as well as after-sales support.”