Greasing Machine Tips
Why greasing is necessary and how to do it right
Heavy equipment lubrication is essential to ensuring your machines are ready to work every day. It's also critical to a long service life and to maintain your investment. Checking to see if your equipment is properly greased and lubricated should be a part of your daily inspection and should be completed before you fire up the engine and begin working.
Why grease your equipment?
Machine lubrication is necessary to prevent metal on metal contact between components. Most of the moving parts, joints, and linkages that allow your excavator, loader, dozer, or any other machine to operate are designed to move on a layer of lubrication. Moving parts require grease in order to operate smoothly and reduce heat and friction, just as the engine in your machine requires oil for the same purpose.
Failure to keep moving parts properly lubricated will cause them to run dry, which will lead to component damage relatively quickly. Your machines are at an even higher risk if you use them in high cycle operations with heavy loads. Manufacturers' greasing intervals are the best way to ensure your heavy equipment is performing at its best and has a long service life. It also helps to ensure that you aren't slowed down by costly, unnecessary downtime.
How to grease a machine
On the majority of machines, most of the grease points are visible from the outside, while some may be out of sight. It's important to check your owner's manual to make sure you know where all the points are and that you have hit them all on your daily greasing rounds. If there is no diagram illustrating the lubrication points in your manual, look for a drawing on the equipment itself, often on the inside of the door, or search online.
Before manually lubricating pinpoints and bearings, it is important to clean all grease fittings. If you don't, then dirt sitting on top of the fittings will be pushed into the joint when you pump the grease in. The mixture of dirt and grease will then rub on the metal components, causing excess and premature wear.
Here are the steps you should follow when greasing heavy equipment:
- Choose the grease recommended by the manufacturer.
- Locate your grease points. It's a good idea to grease them in the same order every day, so you establish a routine and don't ever miss any.
- Inspect grease points to ensure there aren't any missing or damaged grease nipples.
- Clean all grease points to prevent dirt and dust from entering the joints.
- Remove all of the old grease before using new grease, as some grease is not compatible with others.
- Attach a grease nozzle and pump until you see grease exiting the joint.
Choose the right lubricant
Always choose the grease recommended by the manufacturer for your specific machine. It can be tempting to use the same lubricant for all of your equipment, but it will serve you and your business better if you tailor the type of grease to each machine and the conditions it works under. In addition, different parts of your equipment may require different types of grease, depending on their operating temperatures and application.
Your equipment's operating manual will always specify the grease you should use. Depending on your climate, different types of lubricants may be recommended for summer, winter, or wet conditions.