Modern life would be impossible without a wide variety of natural and synthetic lubricants. The computer revolution may have made data king, but in the physical world, virtually every machine relies on lubrication to last long enough to be worth the cost. Choosing the best lubricant for the job will increase ROI on machine investment exponentially.
Simple in Essence
A lubricant could be described as a “substance, usually organic, introduced to reduce friction between surfaces in mutual contact, which ultimately reduces the heat generated when the surfaces move.” However, “organic” doesn’t have to mean natural.
Most synthetic lubricants today are considered organic since they use certain carbon-hydrogen bonds. For most commercial and industrial applications, synthetic lubricants are superior to natural ones, including many cheaper motor oils.
A common industrial lubricant Richmond Va factories might use is Summit’s synthetic gear oils. Like many other top-flight synthetics, the oil base is improved with thermal and oxidation stability and is engineered to be much less reactive with the alloys used in gears and housings.
Production facilities that provide food or beverages often must use specialty lubricants, such as EnviroTech® FGPL, to prevent contamination. Refrigeration has a wide array of new synthetics, all designed to reduce energy use and transfer engine heat economically. With the highest grade lubricants, efficiency has skyrocketed, reducing maintenance costs and further increasing ROI.
Natural vs. Synthetic
Some applications may still benefit from natural lubricants. However, the difference between natural and synthetic isn’t massive, since both will have some elements of each. Natural lube can be up to 20% additives, and many synthetics have chemically modified petroleum as their base. Other forms of lubrication include solid, semi-solid and gas lubricants.
A Long History of Use
For well over 3,000 years, civilization has relied on various lubricants to reduce friction. Early examples of lubrication have been unearthed at archeological digs, such as calcium soaps being applied to axles.
This was before even the most rudimentary understanding of the chemistry of lubrication or friction. All they knew is what worked and what didn’t.
The Romans explored the mechanics of lubricants to some degree, but the industrial revolution brought a distinct need for a scientific approach to high-technology lubricants. Huge and complicated machinery required engineers to get creative.
Too Many Choices
With the wide variety available, choosing can be tricky. Your master machinist often has knowledge about which lubricants work best for each application. However, some new synthetics have seen a large increase in efficiency and reduction of wear recently, so this may be an excellent time to look into cutting-edge lube. Most industrial lubricant suppliers can help you choose the ideal type for your application.