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The Bearing 411

Image of barrels for lubrication storage. Read about bearing lubrication maintenance best practices.

Best Practices for Bearing Lubrication Maintenance

Bearing lubrication can play a critical role in maintaining the effectiveness of your applications. However, a bad batch of lubrication can do more harm than good.

Lubrication can go old or be mislabeled, leading to additional issues for your bearings and application as a whole. Following these bearing lubrication best practices can help you avoid potential issues and keep your facility running the way it should.

Available Bearing Lubrication

Lubrication packages are available in a variety of sizes, from 20-liter pails to bulk tanks. You don’t want to buy too much or too little lubrication, so take stock of your company’s average consumption rate of lubrication. This rate will let you know how much lubrication your machines go through so that you can order enough product for your facility, plus some extra in case of emergency needs or delivery delays.

If you don’t have any historical data on lubrication consumption, start keeping track right now. That rate will help you when it comes time to ordering the right amount of lubrication in the future.

Label Your Bearing Lubrication Appropriately

A wrong or worn-out label can lead to problems like using the wrong type of lubrication for a bearing or cross-contaminating an application and reducing its effectiveness. Careful labelling of lubrication containers can help you avoid these issues.

Make sure that each label is secure and legible upon storage. This can help you catch any initial identification issues. However, it can help to add some additional labeling details. Create a color code or some other organizational system to give you a second way to identify lubrications. For example, oils could be red, greases could be green, etc. If a label is smudged, you can use the color code can serve as a backup before you blindly apply any lubrication.

Provide Proper Lubrication Storage

When it comes to lubrication storage, there are three key words to remember: dry, cool, and clean. Machinery Lubrication Magazine recommends that you try and store lubricants indoors and “stored in the horizontal position on proper storage racks allowing the containers to be rotated and used on a first-in, first-out basis.” Also, makes sure that all containers are sealed tightly and kept away from any contaminants, such as dust and humidity.

Of course, there may be situations where you can’t store your lubrication indoors. In this case, keep your containers sheltered from the elements and keep close track of your usage. Lubrication stored outdoors will be more likely to go bad, so you won’t want to over order and risk more losses. Machinery Lubrication also suggests laying lubrication drums on their sides with the bungs located beneath the lubrication level. This is a smart way to “reduce the risk of the seals drying out and the ingestion of moisture caused by breathing.”

Track Lubrication Shelf Life

Lubrication won’t last forever. Each container label should have a shelf life date. If not, you can get this information from your lubrication supplier or the company who manufactured any parts that came with lubrication. Keep track of these dates so that you’ll know which containers should be used first and when they should be used by. That can help you limit any potential losses and let you know when to hold off on ordering more product.

One major item to note is that lubrication shelf life dates are based around optimal conditions. If you have to store lubrication in less than ideal places, your product may become lose effectiveness earlier than it normally would.

Invest in the Right Bearings and Lubrication

Following lubrication maintenance best practices can help you keep your bearing – and their applications – running as smoothly as they should. If you ever have any questions about which bearings and bearing lubrications are best for your applications, contact us to talk to one of our experts to learn more.