“The fundamental role that lubrication plays in machine and equipment reliability and lifecycle cannot be overstated,” notes Amine Benna, Sales Manager for SKF, Morocco. “Customers using sub-quality lubrication systems or employing inferior lube practices are often faced with numerous challenges created by inaccurate lubrication (either over- or under-lubrication) and contamination. These issues can have serious cost implications related to equipment failure and the associated downtime and production stoppages to allow for repairs. Also to be taken into account is the actual cost of the lubricants themselves which is compounded by excessive application.”
“Benna explains why both insufficient and excessive lubrication are unwanted and costly: “Insufficient or under-lubrication results in component wear and tear, premature bearing failure, reduced equipment lifespan and increased downtime and maintenance costs. Furthermore, lubricants form a significant portion of operational costs so excessive or over-lubrication is simply put, an unnecessary waste of money and makes a strong argument for optimised lubricant usage.” Benna adds that contaminants such as dirt and dust entering the lubrication system also cause wear and damage to equipment, shortening lifespans.
SKF has taken lubrication to the next level with the development of its smart lubrication systems that feature built-in cutting-edge technology, remote monitoring and real-time data capture capabilities. Sensors and pumps provide real-time data and optimise lubrication processes for efficient industrial lubrication management. These progressive and intelligent automated and computerised systems dispense the correct lubricant, in the accurate amount, to the specific point, and at the precise time. The resultant decreased friction and wear optimise equipment and machinery lifespan. “The system’s capability to help identify potential issues before they become more serious delivers tremendous value and significant cost and time savings by reducing the need for unscheduled downtime,” notes Benna.
The lubrication system also offers safety and environmental benefits. The automated system eliminates the need for manual lubrication, creating a safer work environment and minimising the risk of human error. The optimal use of lubricants eradicates wastage, making an invaluable contribution to a cleaner environment.
The lubrication system can be conveniently accessed remotely, enabling monitoring and control from a central location. Sensors monitor lubricant levels, temperature and other key parameters in real-time, providing invaluable information about equipment performance. The data is collected and stored by the system to allow for detailed analysis of lubricant usage and equipment performance over time, enabling well- informed decision-making.
SKF smart lubrication systems are delivering cost saving solutions to plant sites that operate a wide spectrum of materials handling equipment that are critical to sustainable operations. Industries include mining and cement, construction, agriculture and forestry, food and beverage, railroad, steel, pulp and paper and wind energy.
A phosphate mine recently faced a number of lubrication challenges on some of its bulk materials handling equipment. Insufficient and inaccurate lubrication as well as contamination were causing excessive wear and tear on stacker and conveyor components leading to reduced equipment lifespan and rising maintenance costs.
The smart SKF lubrication system automatically dispenses lubrication, helping to optimise lubricant usage and reducing the amount of lubricant required. In addition to assisting the customer with improved equipment performance, the system also reduced the need for manual intervention and the associated risks of accidents and injuries.
“By delivering an accurate supply of premium-quality SKF lubricants to machine components at the right time, our smart lubrication systems deliver sustainable, efficient, convenient, safe and cost saving solutions for customers and end-users with the additional benefits of remote monitoring and real-time data capturing,” concludes Benna.