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The importance of choosing the right lubricant for each application

16 March 2023
Article by Pedro Marques, researcher at INEGI specializing in tribology of mechanical gear transmissions

The correct choice of lubricant is crucial for the proper functioning of any machine or equipment. Lubricants play a vital role in reducing friction and wear, preventing corrosion, and making machinery efficient.

At INEGI, we understand the importance of lubricants and their role in maintaining the proper functioning of machinery. We know, therefore, that not all lubricants are formulated in the same way, and an unsuitable lubricant can cause serious damage to the equipment.

This damage can result in an immediate catastrophic failure, or apparently normal operation can be maintained, but marked by accelerated wear and tear resulting in premature equipment failure and consequent downtime and repair costs.

For each application, a different lubricant

Different types of lubricants are designed for specific applications. For example, engine oil is designed for use in internal combustion engines, while gear oil is designed for use in gearboxes. Similarly, there are greases designed for use on bearings and other slow moving components, but there are also greases for high speed bearings. Each type of lubricant has its own set of characteristics, such as viscosity, flash point, and chemical composition. These characteristics determine the suitability of the lubricant for a particular application.

Choosing the right lubricants for one's equipment is essential to ensure optimal performance and extend its life. It's important to consider factors such as temperature range, load, speed and surface finish of the contact areas of lubricated components when selecting a lubricant. The equipment manufacturer's recommendations should also be taken into account when making a selection.

Two lubricants with the same specification, for example 75W90 API GL5, can lead to similar reliability, however the energy efficiency promoted by each one of them can be very different. Energy efficiency is typically not considered by the technical specifications, but it is important, not only in terms of the thermal load to be dissipated by the system, but also in operating costs.

In short, selecting the right lubricant for each application is essential to keep equipment running smoothly, extend equipment life and maximize energy efficiency. By choosing the right lubricant, equipment downtime and maintenance costs can be minimized. If you are not sure about the right lubricant for your equipment, it is always a good idea to consult a lubricant specialist. calculation methods, allowing the definition of the appropriate lubricant for each application, taking into account reliability and energy efficiency.


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