Proper lubrication can be considered an art form in some arenas. Not only must you choose the best grease for the job, but you must ensure that it is being applied correctly and in the right amounts. Any deviation from this can result in catastrophic conditions that ultimately hurt the machinery and your bottom line. This can have big effects on a pharmaceutical plant, where precision is key to developing and making a quality product. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the common lubrication issues and challenges that pharma plants face on a daily basis and how they can benefit from an automated lubrication system.
SKF released a report stating that 57 percent of all bearing failures are lubrication-related. That means that more often than not, when a bearing fails, it is due to something that is preventable. While many plants have dedicated lubrication technicians whose job is to monitor these levels, many are adding automated lubrication systems to help overcome the human-error element. Automated lubrication systems can provide amazing benefits for pharmaceutical plants, which count on precision in every part of their operation.
An automated lubrication system can help reduce the element of human error. When you consider the sheer size of many pharmaceutical plants and the overall number of machines on hand, you realize that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of mechanical components that all have specific lubrication needs that must be met to ensure the plant is functioning at peak performance and properly protecting its equipment.
All these individual points usually require someone to manually inspect and lubricate them, which opens the door to a host of potentially devastating contaminants. If the lubrication technician doesn’t use the proper amount of lubricant or if they don’t use the right kind of lubricant, it won’t properly seal the components or protect them from dirt, dust, and debris. This debris can then enter the machines and cause massive damage, such as wear and corrosion.
The threat of corrosion is another great reason to consider an automated lubricating system. Corrosion occurs when a machine component comes into contact with damaging substances, such as air or water, and forms a new, harmful substance. Pharmaceutical plants are especially susceptible to these harsh conditions because of their extreme room temperatures and essential wash-down procedures.
A pharma plant also has a number of machines that operate using rollers, spines, ball bearings, and other critical moving parts, and unless proper lubrication is provided for the machine parts, they are left open to attack from excessive heat and wear. Left unattended, this will result in premature failure of the parts and a costly fix to ensure the parts are functioning properly again.
Not only will an automated lubrication system make sure that the right amount of lubrication is used, but it will also dispense it at the correct times. If lubrication is added too early, it can cause an excessive amount of lubrication within the machine parts. This can flood the area and make it easier for contaminants to enter the system or cause the machine parts to not function as efficiently. If the lubrication is added too late, it can cause the parts to dry out and wear against each other, releasing devastating contaminants into your machine system.
Pharmaceutical plants have a lot on the line when it comes to lubrication. Without the appropriate plans in place to properly apply and maintain lubrication, you run the risk of failure. Automated lubrication systems are a great tool for any plant looking to streamline their efforts and get the most from their lubrication plan. By preventing contamination and ensuring the right grease is used each time and in the right quantities, you can ensure that your machinery is functioning at peak performance.