Archive for May, 2014

All About Eco-Friendly Lubricants

Friday, May 30th, 2014

There may be no universally accepted definition for environmental safety, but factors such as biodegradability, eco-toxicity, bio-accumulations, and renewability should be considered.

When it comes down to it, there are 2 approaches in dealing with environmental safety in terms of lubricants. First would be looking for ways to eradicate the disposal of lubricants into the environment. Second would be using eco-friendly products in environment-sensitive purposes like agriculture, forestry, municipalities, and mining, just to name a few.

Biodegradable

Simply put, biodegradable is the chemical degradation of a substance (in this case, lubricant) in the presence of micro-organisms/bacteria. Albeit you can find various definitions of biodegradability. Perhaps among the most reasonable defines biodegradability as “a function of degree of degradation, time and test methodology.”

The standard for considering a lubricant as biodegradable is if its biodegradability goes beyond 80% by the CEC L-33-93 method (Coordinating European Council test method run for 21 days) or more than 60% by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) 301B method.

Bio-Based

Bio-based is a term primarily coined in America and based on the need to come up with renewable products out of vegetable/plant/animal-based materials. It was not intended for bio-based to imply a 100% vegetable oil-based formula, considering other non-bio-based ingredients could be needed to meet industry performance standards. The regulatory organizations have since established that usage of 50% or more bio-based material in a formulation will make it possible for a product to be considered bio-based.

Green

Green is probably the most misleading term in the industry. There are some products that don’t even have vegetable oil as a base but are still marketed as eco-friendly lubricants. Such lubricants could have zero heavy metal content or any toxic ingredients at that, but they’re not biodegradable. Just being a green color or free from heavy metals doesn’t necessarily make a product environmentally friendly in the truest sense. Being biodegradable or being derived from renewable sources is what counts.

Due to the vegetable oils, these types of lubricants come with better lubricity, which implies that there is reduced friction and wear, a high viscosity index and high flash points for enhanced safety. The drawbacks, on the other hand, include their limited high-temperature features as an outcome of inferior oxidation and thermal stability, restricted low-temperature applicability because of higher pour points, and poor pumpability at sub-zero temperatures.

Buying a Lawn Mower Belt

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

When you have the right information about lawn mower belts, purchasing a new one won’t be so much of a pain in the neck.

Lawn mower driver belts transfer power from the engine of the lawn mower to the wheels. You can find your lawn mower belt underneath the lawn mower. This belt is situated between the mowing deck and the engine. It is attached to the main drive gear and connected to a pulley attached to the clutch.

The belt tightens to move the wheels when you put the transmission in the forward or reverse gear. And then the belt goes slack and the wheels stop moving when the transmission is put in neutral. Suffice it to say, checking your lawn mower driver belt and deck belt regularly is a must.

There are a plethora of lawn mower belt types in the market. Before you even think of swinging by the store to buy your new lawn mower belt, try looking up the exact type of belt you will need in your lawn mower owner’s manual first. If that’s not possible, you can always touch base with the manufacturer of your lawn mower. You can also find this information on the manufacturer’s Web site.

One style of lawn mower belt is known as an Industrial V-belt. An industrial v-belt is built especially for usage on industrial grade lawn mowers. Industrial lawn mowers could be push or riding mowers, and more often than not have higher horsepower and call for lesser repairs between uses as compared to consumer grade lawn mowers. You can find industrial v-belts from $10 to $20 at your local hardware store or on-line.

Then there’s the Universal Fraction HP, a style of lawn mower belt used on low horsepower, consumer lawn mowers. If you have a consumer lawn mower that has a horsepower beyond 3.5, then you should steer clear of universal fraction HP belts. Universal fraction belts seem to be more affordable compared to industrial v-belts, they’re priced from $5 to $10.

You should know beforehand if the belt you’re on the hunt for is an OEM original belt. These belts are made to meet the standards and specifications set by the original lawn mower manufacturer’s requirements. These belts go through a meticulous testing process so that you be assured they will work on your lawn mower, assuming of course that you get the right one. 🙂 (don’t ask)  For the most part, an OEM lawn mower belt will be in the range of $10 to $50.

If you plan on replacing the belt yourself, be sure to follow the instructions in your owner’s manual. Check that your lawn mower is turned “off” and that the transmission is in neutral. You must also wear protective goggles and gloves. Be sure to dispose of your broken or worn lawn mower belt properly. Ask your local garbage collector if they have a recycling program that paves the way for proper disposal of your used lawn mower belt.

Spherical Roller Bearings

Friday, May 16th, 2014

A spherical roller bearing refers to a rolling-element bearing that allows rotation with low friction and allows angular misalignment. More often than not, such bearings support a rotating shaft in the [bore] of the inner ring that could be misaligned relative to the outer ring. The misalignment is possible because of the spherical internal shape of the outer ring.

Spherical roller bearings contain two rows of rollers, a common sphered outer ring raceway and two inner ring raceways inclined at an angle to the bearing axis. The center point of the sphere in the outer ring raceway is situated at the bearing axis. Spherical roller bearings are built to handle heavy radial loads and heavy axial loads in both directions.

Seal Selection Tips

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Bearing Seals must be able to offer a bare minimum amount of friction and wear while at the same time be able to give maximum protection even under the most extreme conditions. A plethora of factors must be taken into consideration when choosing the most suitable seal type for a certain bearing arrangement. These factors are as follows:

  • the type of lubrication: oil or grease
  • the peripheral (circumferential) speed at the sealing surface
  • the shaft arrangement: horizontal or vertical
  • possible shaft misalignment
  • available space
  • seal friction and the end temperature increase
  • environmental effects
  • cost

Choosing the right seal is of the essence when it comes to the performance of a bearing. That said, it’s only fitting that you accurately determine the requirements as well as precisely define the external conditions. There are two types of external sealing devices typically used with roller bearings: non-contact and contact seals.

Non-contact seals

The efficiency of an external non-contact seal will rely largely upon the sealing action of the narrow gap between the rotating and stationary components. The gap could be arranged radially, axially, or in combination.

Such seals could be as simple as a gap-type seal or more intricate such as a labyrinth seal. In either case, considering there is no contact, such seals produce practically no friction and do not wear. For the most part, they’re not easily damaged by solid contaminants and are pretty fitting for high speeds and high temperatures. So as to improve their sealing efficiency, grease can be pressed into the gap(s) formed by the labyrinth.

Contact seals

The efficiency of a contact seal relies upon the ability of the seal to exert a minimum pressure on its counterface by a fairly narrow sealing lip or surface.

More often than not, contact seals are quite reliable, especially when wear is kept to a minimum through making an appropriate surface finish for the counterface and by means of lubricating the seal lip/counterface contact area. They are, however, susceptible to mechanical damage like improper mounting, or by solid contaminants. In order to avoid damage by solid contaminants, it is a must to put a non-contact seal in front of a contact seal for protection purposes.

Quality Grades of Lubricants

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

What sets each of these three quality grades or types of products apart? Let’s discuss standard-performance, high-performance and specialty-performance lubricants.

You can buy standard-performance products in bulk and they perform the minimum function that is needed for effective operation. They are bought for broad-based use via price-driven agreements. Without regard for the brand, the product selections could be described as minimum-performance, considering the construction is meant to meet the minimum operating standards. About 80% of mechanical components may be efficiently lubricated using such typical fighting-grade products.

High-performance products are made using extra special raw materials. Such materials come with much better performance capability (compared to its standard counterpart) to the finished lubricant. Usual examples include greases fortified with solid film agents (molybdenum and graphite), high VI hydraulic oils manufactured with severely hydro-treated base stocks and ashless antiwear agents, or gear oils fortified with solid film agents so as to enhance sliding frictional resistance. An estimate of 20% of planst find high-performance lubricants immensely useful.

On the other hand, specialty-performance products are built for rather extraordinary service. Lubricated components that are utilized in a radioactive setting, the vacuum of space, or for compacting oxygen and/or propelling corrosive fluids are suitable for a specialty-performance lubricant. Such lubricants are deemed chemically and physically stable for selected environments.

These specialty materials can run at temperatures of up to 600°C, under vacuums, under exposure to pollutants that would rapidly damage other lubricants. The drawback of extra stability include that in a lot of cases, such products are not able to protect surfaces very well because of their compressibility, their lack of the ability to support suitable additives, or their incapacity to react with a metallic surface when they’re under boundary conditions. 1-2% of plant applications make use of a specialty lubricant.