Choosing The Perfect Lubricant For Your Business: A How-To Guide

Published: Mon, 30 Sep 2019

Choosing The Perfect Lubricant For Your Business: A How-To Guide

Any business that relies on machinery to complete work will understand just how integral they are, which is why it’s so important to ensure they’re working as well as they can - and industrial lubricants can help. With machinery becoming more and more sophisticated, this has improved efficiency, costs and the overall running of many industries, but with these developments, many businesses are still overlooking the importance of lubricating machine parts.


Lubricants come in many forms, with each one offering its own benefits depending on where it’s used. However, finding the right lubricant for you can be a little tricky, given the dozens to choose from on the market. So how do you know which lubricant is right for your business? 
 
Read on for a helpful guide on choosing the right lubricant and how it can benefit you.
 
What is an industrial lubricant?
The main aim of industrial lubricants is to reduce any friction that may occur between two machine parts. Friction as we imagine it, such as rubbing your hands together to create heat, is thousands of times more intense when it occurs in a machine, and when this occurs it can have a major effect on efficiency, operating temperatures and speed.
 
The benefits of lubricants
● Reduces friction - lubricating machines and equipment makes the surfaces slick and slippery, so the contact between two moving parts is a lot smoother. Leaving friction to continue will eventually cause parts to wear down and become less efficient.
● Protects equipment - it’s easy for machines to get rusty and corrode when they’re exposed to contaminants. However, lubricants can act as a protective layer and prevent these contaminants from harming components. 
● Temperature control - lubricants absorb heat, so when applied they can help to balance temperatures and prevent heat-related damage.
● Less maintenance - because lubricants protect machinery this means the amount of maintenance and repairs will be reduced, saving your business time and money. If your machinery can run with fewer disruptions this equates to more work being done and a reduced chance of breakdowns.
 
Things to consider when choosing machine lubricant
There are many factors that go into choosing the right industrial lubricant for you, and while the manufacturer’s recommendation is a great place to start, it's not the only option to consider. Before you go ahead and purchase an industrial lubricant, think about these questions carefully:
● What is the machine part or material that needs lubricating? - assess what needs to be lubricated as this will determine which type of lubrication is most appropriate.
● Which lubricants meet the regulations and standards of your industry? - health and safety needs to be considered in all areas of business, including lubricants. You must ensure that the lubricant you choose meets the guidelines of your industry - for food, drink and drug manufacturers, for example, dripping lubricants can cause major problems if they come into contact with the items being produced or going down the assembly line. 
● Cost - like every decision in business, the long term costs should always be considered. How much is going to be used? Which lubricant is going to be the most effective and affordable? 
● Who can supply the best quality lubricants? - whatever type of lubricant you're looking for, whether it’s an oil delivery or grease, it’s important that you use high-quality products. Here at Southern Fuels we offer commercial lubricants that will keep your equipment performing well. 
● What is the shelf life? - you don’t want to purchase a product in bulk, that will go out of date before you get to use it. Always ask the supplier about how it needs to be stored and how long it lasts.
 
Types of industrial lubricants
Industrial lubricants cover a wide range of products including grease, oils, pastes and waxes. Below we explain a little more about them.
 
Oils
Oil lubricants can be synthetic, vegetable or mineral-based. They are great for hinges, bearings and tool maintenance, however if the surface you need lubricating is going to be exposed to dust or dirt then oil may not be suitable as it can ‘gum’ up and cause more friction. Furthermore, if you need to keep the area clean or the area is going to be wet, oil, which is low viscosity and tends to drip and run, might not be the best choice. 
 
Grease
Made from a combination of oil and thickeners, grease is mainly used to lubricate gears, chains and linkages. In fact, about 60% of all grease applications are industrial. Unlike oil, grease can seal out water and dust and can stick to surfaces for a long time. However, grease is not suitable for machines that are fast moving as it would create too much resistance and grease can be flung around as it moves. Grease can also act as a barrier and improve the longevity of your machines by protecting them from corrosion and damage.
 
Pastes
For slow running and heavy loading machines, pastes can be used as a lubricant and are particularly good for contacting metals. They can also be used in machines of high and low temperatures.
 
Dry lubricants
Dry lubricants are made from lubricating particles such as graphite or silicone. They are commonly found in a spray form, where the lubricant properties are mixed with solvents that will leave a film when they’re sprayed. This type of lubricant is perfect for small parts that shouldn’t be gunked up by oil or grease.
 
Which industries can benefit form lubricants?
Lubricants can benefit many types of businesses in a variety of industries that rely on machinery and industrial equipment on a daily basis. Below we explain why some of these sectors could benefit.
 
Agriculture
Farming and horticulture are two industries that use heavy duty machinery such as tractors and trailers to complete their work. During the prime time for sowing and harvesting crops and plants, it’s important that machinery is performing at its best, and lubrication can help with this. Furthermore, when the season quietens down, it’s just as important to maintain equipment as machines that are left untreated during cold and wet months may corrode and become unusable the following year. 
 
Automotive
In the field of automotive manufacturing (the production of cars and other vehicles), lubricants are needed to maintain factory equipment but can also be sold to customers wanting to maintain their vehicle after purchase. Car engine oil and gear oil keep these areas of the vehicle running smoothly for long term maintenance. 
 
Commercial
Factories making commercial products or processing foods of all kinds will rely on machinery. While some factories are manned by workers, there will be equipment that operates on its own and needs lubrication to continue working without assistance safely. 
 
Marine
Fishing, shipping and cargo transporting are all part of the marine industry, so cranes and other types of lifting equipment are needed daily. Being near water means lubricants need to be suitable for this environment and the highly corrosive salty atmosphere. 
 
Southern Fuels: Engine oil, lubricants and gear oil specialists
For a high-quality fuel supplier that you can trust, Southern Fuels, based in Honiton, can help. If your business relies on the use of machinery and heavy duty equipment, then it’s important that you know the benefits of lubricating these pieces. Whatever industry you work in, our helpful and knowledgeable team will find the right lubricant for you, as well as providing oil delivery and other fuels that you require. For more information get in touch today and find out more.

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