Plant & Works Engineering
Can different lubricates cut my fan operating costs?
Published:  05 June, 2014

Using the wrong lubricant can cause costly bearing failures. Over a third of all bearing failures are caused by the use of incorrect lubricants and/or inadequate application of the lubricant. Operating costs can be severely increased when failures occur as bearing locations in industrial fans are often hard to access, which makes maintenance difficult and increases the risk of extended downtime.

Prevention is, of course, better than cure and using the correct lubricant not only reduces maintenance costs and downtime losses, but also improves the performance and extends the life of the bearings, making long-term savings for the plant. Lubrication offers a protective coating to the bearings, preventing the metal-to-metal contact that causes wear and misalignment while also protecting them against corrosion.

When choosing a lubricant, engineers must consider a number of factors, such as the environment of the plant. For example, bearings in fans often operate at high speed in high temperature environments, so oil should be used as a lubricant and to provide cooling. However, if the environment in which the fan operates is excessively dusty and dirty it may be necessary to prioritise the protection of the bearings against contamination and use grease instead as a lubricant.