Canadian Manufacturing

Machinery and Equipment: Establishment of an acoustic lubrication program

The implementation of effective and ongoing acoustic lubrication programs has proven to be challenging in industries, including power generation.

May 11, 2022   by John Watling

Machinery and Equipment

The benefits and value of using ultrasound technology when lubricating grease-lubricated rolling element bearings has been advocated by ultrasound technology OEMs and lubrication industry experts for some time. It is often used in a variety of industries in one-off occurrences.

The concept of acoustic lubrication is simple enough: use specialized acoustic lubrication hardware/software to record and analyze ultrasound caused by friction from lubrication related issues in a rolling element bearing. Followed by using this information to determine the amount of lubricant to add to the bearing. It’s essentially using ultrasonic technology to “listen” to the bearing and based on audible and/or on-screen visual prompts from the technology while “listening”, grease accordingly.

The benefits of greasing using acoustic technology versus the typical calendar or time-based preventive maintenance (PM) method are known and understood. Most importantly, is the correct amount of lubricant added to the bearing. Many motor failures are the result of continually over greasing the motor bearings, with excess grease eventually entering and contaminating the motor windings. Excess grease in the bearing can lead to generation of excess heat, resulting in the need of “temporary external cooling” for the bearing in the form of air movers.

This article originally featured in Machinery and Equipment Magazine. Read the full version here. 

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