Most of us use types of industrial lubricants regularly – if you apply some oil to a squeaky hinge, you are using a lubricant. Of course, many industrial uses of lubricants are much more complex than that; many industries can use a large amount of lubricants on a regular basis.
There are several different types of lubricants that are typically used in industry, although the basic purpose of the product is the same – to ensure that moving parts operate more smoothly and to reduce friction. Using the right lubricant can reduce the need for unscheduled maintenance; help to prolong the life of machine components – and ultimately save money.
Industrial lubricants also vary a great deal in terms of chemical composition – some contain silicon-based fluids, some mineral or petroleum oils, while others may contain natural oils. Some contain high water content and are known as HWCF fluids. Typically, this type of fluid has a high level of heat resistance and also accelerates the cooling process.
One of the biggest decisions when it comes to choosing a lubricant is deciding between liquid or solid. Liquid or fluid lubricants would include such things as oils, refrigerants and coolants. An example of this would be the coolant in the radiator in your car bonnet. Some lubricants can also be diluted with differing amounts of water if necessary.
An example of a solid lubricant that’s widely used would be a compound such as hexagonal flake graphite, or boron nitride. Typically, solid lubricants are particularly effective when it comes to keeping out moisture as well as reducing general wear and tear.
Depending on your needs, you may want to choose a lubricant with a specific feature or characteristic. Some industrial lubricants are biodegradable, fire resistant or oxidation inhibiting. Many are also odorless and colorless.
Most synthetic fluids offer excellent cooling properties and fire resistance, making them particularly versatile. Synthetic fluids can be used in a diluted form, with concentrations generally ranging from 3% to 10%.
Certain industries need certain lubricants – lubricants used in the food industry are specifically designed to be safe if they come into contact with food. Food processing plants in particular need a lubricant that offers this feature.
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