How Lubrilife’s Solid Lubrication Outperforms Competitors in Mounted Bearing Applications

Summary

Bearing lubrication is a critical factor for equipment reliability and performance. However, many bearing failures are caused by lubrication issues, such as under greasing, leakage, and contamination. These issues can result in increased friction, heat, vibration, and wear, leading to costly downtime and repairs.

Turner uses Lubrilife technology and provides solid lubrication solutions for mounted bearings. Solid lubrication is an oil-saturated polymer material that fills the interior of the bearing and releases and reabsorbs oil as needed. Unlike grease, solid lubrication does not require relubrication, does not leak, and does not attract contaminants.

A 3D render of the polymer that is installed in Lubrilife bearings. The Render shows beads of oil on the polymer's surface.

Download a printable version of this case study

Introduction

Bearing lubrication is essential for ensuring the smooth operation and long life of machinery. However, many bearings fail prematurely due to lubrication-related issues.

Some of the common lubrication issues that affect bearing performance and reliability are:

  • Under greasing:
    This occurs when the bearing does not receive enough grease to form a sufficient film between the rolling elements and the raceways. This can lead to increased friction, heat, wear, and noise.

  • Leakage:
    This occurs when the grease escapes from the bearing due to high speed, temperature, or pressure. This can result in insufficient lubrication, as well as environmental pollution and safety hazards.

  • Contamination:
    This occurs when dirt, dust, water, or other foreign particles enter the bearing and mix with the grease. This can degrade the quality of the grease, increase friction and wear, and cause corrosion.

These issues can have serious consequences for machinery reliability and performance. They can reduce the efficiency and lifespan of the bearings, increase maintenance costs and downtime, and damage other components of the application.

To prevent these issues, bearings require proper maintenance and relubrication at regular intervals. However, this can be challenging for many applications where access to the bearings is difficult or impractical. For example, some mounted bearings are installed in hard-to-reach locations or operate under harsh conditions that make relubrication difficult or impossible.

Therefore, there is a need for innovative solutions that can provide effective and reliable lubrication for bearings without requiring relubrication or maintenance.
Baart Industrial Group develops and provides such solutions. Lubrilife is a solid lubrication technology for mounted bearings that fills the interior of the bearing and releases and reabsorbs oil as needed.

The Test

Lubrilife has been working on developing solid lubrication for OEM partners since early 2017. The goal is to provide OEMs with a solid lube product that will provide exceptional performance.

The purpose of this case study was to test the performance of six pillow blocks under simulated conditions of mounted bearing applications. The pillow blocks were randomly mounted on a testing rig that was constructed for this experiment.

Testing rig on a table. The rig includes an electric motor and six mounted bearings moved by shafts and belts. The Bearings are numbered 1 through 6.

The bearings tested were:

  • Bearing 1: Competitor Polymer 1
  • Bearings 3 and 5: Competitor Polymer 2
  • Bearings 2, 4 and 6: Lubrilife Polymer

All bearings were stainless UC 206-19 size inserts with food-grade solid lubricant (white) and cast iron P206 housings.

The experiment consisted of three phases:

  • Phase 1
    Initial test speed of 194 RPM for 1560 hours. This phase had two testing periods: from Jan 14 to Jan 26, 2019 (288 hours) and from Feb 12 to Apr 12, 2019 (1272 hours), with a six-day break in between.
  • Phase 2
    Ramp up speed from 194 RPM to 485 RPM over 8 hours. This phase increased the speed by 50 RPM every 40 minutes, until the heat and vibration readings stabilized.
  • Phase 3
    Accelerated test speed of 485 RPM for 192 hours. This phase ran from Apr 12 to Apr 22, 2019.

The six bearings were run in pairs throughout the experiment. The test load was approximately 500 lbs.

The Results

Findings

Before looking at which solid oil performs best, we need to remember why we’re looking at solid lubricant solutions. Solid lubricant solutions have many benefits, such as:

  • No need for frequent maintenance
  • Lower risk of lubricant leakage
  • Resistance to contamination

Improper Maintenance

The key factor that affects the performance of solid lubricants is the polymer structure. The polymer structure determines how well the oil lubrication is distributed and reabsorbed by the bearings. This process extends the bearing life and makes solid lubrication a reliable solution for improper maintenance.

On the left, A microscopic image of Lubrilife Polymer. The pores are smaller and more uniform than the competitor image. On the right, A microscopic image of a competitor polymer. The structure is lumpy, has large pores, and is not very uniform.

What did we learn? By putting the polymers under a scanning electron microscope (SEM) we were able to determine that the physical structure of Lubrilife’s polymer is superior to the competition.

Lubricant Leakage

Leaking lubricant can cause problems for bearings, such as:

  • Attracting dirt and contaminants that damage the bearings
  • Reducing the lubrication for the rolling elements

A good solid-lubricant solution will keep leaks to a minimum. By weighing the bearings before and after the run-test, the amount of oil loss was determined.

An illustration of three oil drops. The drops represent the amount of oil lost during the run-test. Lubrilife's oil drop is significantly smaller than the competition.

Lubrilife polymer bearings performed better than the competitors in terms of lubricant leakage. They lost less oil during the 1700 hour run-test, which means they had more lubrication for the bearing.

Contamination

Solid lubricant bearings have less space for contaminants to enter, because they are filled with polymer. When coupled with factory-installed seals, they protect the bearings from external dirt and debris. This makes solid lubricant bearings more resistant to contamination than other types of bearings.

Polymer Fill Inspection

We examined the fill quality of the bearings after the run test, but before the microscopic analysis. We found that Lubrilife polymer bearings had the best fill quality, with less gaps and unevenness.

A gloved hand holding a bearing insert with Lubrilife Polymer. The fill completely envelopes the internal components of the bearing.

Findings Summary

  • Lubrilife has the lowest oil loss over a 1700 hour test.
  • Lubrilife has the most complete and consistent fill.
  • Lubrilife utilized both bearing seals; others operate with a single seal.
An Illustrated Chart that shows how each solid polymer did in four categories; Long Life, Polymer Structure, Low Leakage, and Preventing Contamination. Lubrilife is shown as the best in all categories.

Mounted bearings that feature solid lubricant are an effective solution for maintenance, lubrication, and contamination-related issues. They are ideal for equipment manufacturers who want to ensure that missed maintenance doesn’t lead to warranty claims. They should choose a polymer that has proven results in tests.

Conclusion

Our tests showed that Lubrilife outperformed the competitors in terms of oil loss, fill quality, and resistance to contamination. Lubrilife also offers many benefits over grease, such as no need for relubrication, no leakage, and no attraction of dirt and debris. These benefits translate into longer bearing life, lower maintenance costs, higher reliability, and better environmental sustainability.

If you are an engineer who is looking for a solid lubrication solution for your mounted bearings, you should consider Lubrilife by Baart Industrial Group. Baart provides technical support, customized solutions, and quality assurance for its OEM customers.

Learn more about Lubrilife and how it can help you improve your machinery performance and reliability.

Don’t miss this opportunity to upgrade your mounted bearings with Lubrilife by Turner. Fill out this simple form to request a free consultation and discover the difference that solid lubrication can make for your machinery.

Download a printable version of this case study

Turner Protected by Lubrilife gives you confidence by taking the guesswork out of bearing maintenance.

Learn More

What can we help you with?

Trusted Toughness. Proven Reliability.


Engineered with quality required to master even the toughest applications. Put Turner to work for you.