Cost and Performance of Industrial Grease

Some industrial greases are not as popular as the others. A perfect example is the aluminum-complex grease that pales in comparison to lithium and lithium-complex greases when it comes to popularity in the industry. The main driving force as to why some greases are popular while others are not is the cost.

Using the above example, an aluminum-complex grease might perform equally well or better than a lithium-complex grease. Aluminum-complex grease, however, is more expensive to manufacture and its production time is significantly longer compared to lithium-complex grease. This means that a company that manufactures aluminum-complex grease has lower production and less earning compared to manufacturing lithium-complex grease.

There are three main components of industrial grease. A base oil, thickener and additives are mixed in certain proportions to achieve  the desired properties of the final product. These components dictate the price of the grease.

In selecting industrial grease, both cost and performance must be carefully considered. The right balance between these two can aid in maximizing profits. How so?

Focusing on lowering cost and while neglecting performance increases the likelihood of equipment failures. Stoppage of operation due to equipment failure can result to lowered productivity. Parts of the equipment can get damaged which will require expensive repairs. Lowered production and expensive repairs results to drop off in profit. The opposite situation which focuses on performance while disregarding cost simply makes no sense from a business standpoint.

The best way to save on industrial grease is to work directly with the manufacturer to create a product that meets the budget and required performance.

Grease vs Oil: Which is the better industrial lubricant?

Choosing the correct lubricants can be a difficult task, but it need not be complicated. The purpose of a lubricant is to reduce the friction on the moving parts of machinery, thus improving its performance and longevity. Lubricants come in two basic categories, oil and grease. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and which you choose depends on your application. A debate still goes on as to which is better.

grease vs oil

grease vs oil

Oil is typically 95% mineral based with 5% additives. Synthetics exist as well and one must also consider the grade of viscosity when choosing a lubricant, but it does tend to be more liquid than grease. Grease, on the other hand is basically oil thickened with soap. It is used typically in applications where fluid lubricants are too difficult or cannot be retained. In choosing an appropriate lubricant one must look at the pros and cons of each.

The advantages of grease is that it has a better start up performance because it doesn’t drain into the sump, it acts as a sealant and is less prone to leakage. Grease uses solid additives such as graphite, zinc oxide or molybdenum disulphide which may settle or become filtered in many oils. Oil, on the other hand, flows freely, enabling it to carry away unwanted heat. Oil doesn’t use thickeners, thus eliminating the danger of clashing incompatible thickeners, causing a change in consistency.

Contaminants in oil such as water or dirt are suspended briefly before being transported to filters and settling zones whereas grease can retain contaminants indefinitely. Oil is easier to change than grease as the machine does not have to be dismantled to do so. Removal of grease requires a complete purge. Disposing of oil is much more environmentally friendly than grease which is a total-loss proposition. There is no environmentally friendly way to dispose of grease.

Oil lubricants tend to have a higher rating than grease and are the typically the preferred industrial solution. However, each has its own merits. Grease is preferred because it is stable, suitable for any housing orientation, easy to transport, can withstand higher rotational forces and performs better at slow speeds. Oil is preferred because it is widely available, has excellent flow properties, even temperature gradients, and allows wear particles to settle so the lube is “fresh” during operation. A qualified dealer will be able to provide complete information on the best product to choose for your operation.