Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines "pro·ac·tive" as:
: relating to, caused by, or being interference between previous
learning and the recall or performance of later learning <proactive
inhibition of memory>
2 [2pro- + reactive] : acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes
Currently, the most common method of bearing lubrication is to use a "time-based" lubrication schedule. The source for information on a time-based schedule typically comes from recommendations by an OE Manufacturer or from data collected by CBM groups.
There are other methods, such as intuition or "the way it's always been done in the past". These methods are ineffective "proactively" and are often "reactive". It's still a quessing game and that age-old question of "how much and how often" continues to be asked. This is because, none of the current methods actually test the lubrication requirements of the bearing at the moment lubricant is injected. Unless you have the ability to pinpoint those bearing requirements, plants will continue to see the damage done to bearings from over and under-greasing. If these methods were effective, then this costly problem would not exist.
"What about using
ultrasonics?". How often is the Lubrication Technician, the person also
responsible for the ultrasonic testing being done in plant? Every plant is
different of course, but most often, they are not. In cases where the Lubrication
Technician is also tasked with using an ultrasonic device, the job of lubrication
may look like this: The Lubrication Technician must put down the grease gun,
pick up the ultrasonic device, take a reading, put that equipment down, pick
up the grease-gun, inject a shot of grease, put the gun down, pick up the
ultrasonic tool, take another reading, then hope that the amount of grease
they inject into the bearings was the right amount. If not, then they again
have to put the ultrasonic equipment down, pick the grease gun up, inject
additional grease, etc. You can see that this is somewhat time consuming and
is a major complaint to greasing with this method. In addition, ultrasonics
technology can pick up on other conditions and problems inside a bearing relating
to something other than lubrication, even when the
frequencies have been shifted down into the "sonic" or audible frequency
ranges or "heterodyned". Now, you have lubricated a bearing
that may or may not have needed it. Back to the over/under-greasing game again.
To "proactively" lubricate a bearing the Lubrication Technician must know what the lubrication requirements are for the bearing about to be lubricated, at that exact point in time. Not what the requirements are claimed to be according to a possibly outdated "time/amount" schedule or one that was never really very exact in the first place. Bearing requirements may change due to many factors, over a period of time. Environment, speed, load, type of lubricant are just a few examples of conditions that may alter a general time/amount greasing schedule. These varying requirements also make it very difficult to trend a bearing with pin point accuracy. Proper lubrication can only be achieved by listening to that bearing and lubricating while listening.
The Ultra-Lube is the only "patented" tool designed specifically to allow the Lubrication Technician to lubricate bearings while listening. Also, this task is accomplished without any additional equipment. If prior to greasing, the bearing sounds noisy (a distinct rough or scratchy sound), this first of all, establishes that the current lubrication schedule and/or volume of lubrication is inadequate. The Lubrication Technician can then utilize the Ultra-Lube to inject the correct quantity of lubricant by hearing when the bearing quiets. By simply revisiting the component at pre-defined intervals, (usually, much sooner than a typical vibration or data collection routine) the Lubrication Technician can establish an appropriate interval for 're-lubrication'. This saves time and also properly determines the correct lubrication schedule.
Now that's Proactive Lubrication!
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