A Reminder About Compatibility

Ever notice how conversation flows easily with some people, while it can be an awkward exchange of words with others? The former probably includes synchronous body language and reactions that build off the other person. The latter, however, is like dragging a stick through the mud and wishing you had spent more time discussing the weather.

That’s incompatibility.

And, unfortunately, the same happens with the greases used on your machines. Are you planning on changing your lubricant? Greases are base oils plus thickener and additives, and all these components differ based on their intended application. Thickeners are simple metal soaps, complex metal soaps, or non-soaps, and when mixed together can react to change the structure of the grease. The thickener acts like a sponge holding the base oil, and a reaction with an incompatible grease may lead to the release of this base oil. This negatively impacts both your process efficiency and your equipment.

When switching grease, you can use the handy table below as a guideline for compatibility. (Sorry, one doesn’t exist for people.)


This should only be used as a reference, since the true way of knowing is to perform compatibility testing. Base oil and additive compatibility should also be considered, though the chart above is an excellent place to start. If you have any questions, you can contact one of us at LE at 1-800-GO-LUBES (465-8237).

Stay tuned for our upcoming newsletter explaining grease changeover procedures and much more. You can go here to subscribe.

– Bianca Besnea

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Lubricants: the root of the problem

Picture1Being a new hire here at LE, these past 2 months have brought a wealth of information to someone otherwise unfamiliar with the importance of oils and greases. I have been conducting and compiling data from lubricant surveys and one thing I have noticed – even from the most experienced of the bunch – is that the power of proper lubrication management is severely underestimated. People are wondering why their equipment is failing, why there is significant waste and runoff, why their costs are high, etc. This cycle drags on for as long as the problems at the surface continue to be addressed. Damaged equipment? Replace. High lubricant consumption? Catch up with the consumption by overgreasing. High costs? Get cheaper lubricants.
You can see why the cycle repeats. The root cause of the problem, your lubricants, is not targeted.

Lubricants are at the forefront, and specially formulated for a variety of processes and operating conditions for a reason. The science behind the careful formulation of specific base oils, additives, thickeners, and resultant viscosities is complementary to a process and works to optimize it. In basic terms, this is done by protecting the equipment, minimizing the energy required, decreasing consumption/waste, and thus lowering costs.
Of course, your lubricants are only as good as your practices. Having a high degree of cleanliness, regular oil analysis, and good storage and handling are all important aspects in a lubrication management system. Through this, you can be sure the cost of premium lubricants will pay off. Premium lubricants are an investment – one with a high rate of return through increased equipment uptime and life, energy savings, and lowered waste/disposal costs.

Where do you go from here? If you have any of the aforementioned issues that a good lubrication system can address, then consider a lubrication survey. Companies such as Lubrication Engineers can come in, take a look at all your equipment and lubricants, make notes on operating conditions and storage and handling, and then provide recommendations in the form of a detailed report. What’s more, LE works as a partner in reliability every step of the way, ensuring you have best practices and eagerly anticipating your positive feedback in the form of cost savings and more efficient processes.

You can read more about lubrication surveys in our upcoming newsletter by going here and subscribing.

– Bianca Besnea

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Consultative Approach to Selling

I have been busy past couple of months travelling to Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. As I mentioned in our last blog, I started conducting training sessions at different companies. I have found that it’s a great way to introduce and build relationships with prospective companies. For the first time, I conducted training in a lecture hall in front of more than 20 people. I did get some tough questions but questions meant the audience liked the topics and listened and took interest in them. This training was a success, as after the training, I talked to a few people regarding their specific needs and also got questions via email a couple days after the training. I am not sure whether this training will convert into sale but I am planning to do these sessions more often. I want to build our business using this technique and create an image of a consultant or partner rather than a sales person. Looking at their problems and having confidence in our product line, I am sure we will be able to reduce some of their inefficiencies. If you would like a glimpse of the training session I did, you can view it at this link:

-Blog by Birju shah

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A Quick Update

Hello Everyone,

I am getting back into writing blogs. Sorry to my diehard fans for not publishing any blogs for the longest time :). Lubrication Engineers of Canada (LE) went through many changes in the past year. We are sorry to inform you that our beloved colleague Dan passed away last year after he retired from LE. Dan left us all with a wealth of knowledge in lubrication and reliability and he will be dearly missed!

We hired another person at our facility in Oakville, ON, so now there are two outside and one inside reps and as you can imagine we have been keeping busy covering all of Canada. Currently, we have a young team at LE, so last year, we were busy with training and building new relationships with suppliers and distributors.

With a few years of experience under my belt, I have now started conducting my own training sessions for my distributors and existing and potential customers. It turns out that training is a great way to find a customer’s need. There are a lot of companies out there that are looking for partners in order to help them reach their reliability goals and that exactly what we do. It perfectly aligns with our vision. We help companies manage their Lubrication management program from Phase 1 to 7 where we conduct lube audits, set up contamination free lube room, help them with contamination exclusion and removal, and set up their oil analysis program.

Well anyways, I have to end it here but I will leave with a promise of publishing one blog every month!

-Blog by Birju shah

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A Fresh Look at Equipment Reliability

Many industrial lubricant experts use the analogy of blood in a human body to describe the purpose of lubricants in machinery and how it can enhance reliability.

Contamination is probably the biggest cause of failures in machinery. Similar to blood, oil delivers protection (nutrients) to machine’s parts and removes contamination. We go for annual blood check to ensure that our blood has enough nutrients and that our body is healthy. Similar to a blood test, oil analysis shows us a bigger picture of any faults in oil and equipment before it happens (proactive maintenance). Unlike human body, machine doesn’t have kidneys to clean the oil so it has to rely on external filtration system. It is very important to have an oil management program that includes monitoring of oil and frequent filtration. Oil analysis also enables us to set target cleanliness levels and select right filter size to reach those targets.

How hard is it to breathe during humid, hot, dusty environment? Machines (especially hydraulics) also breathe and they have a similar problem in these environments. Fortunately, the human body is equipped with a nose to bring in filtered air and lungs to remove unwanted carbon dioxide; but machines are not so lucky. That’s why all the critical equipment must be equipped with des-case breathers. All the breathers should be checked and replaced every few months depending on the environment they operate. This will extend the life of the machinery.

Water is needed in human body to keep it hydrated, however, unlike human body, water causes many problems in machines and it is not welcomed in most of the applications. Lubrication Engineers Inc. makes their lubricants keeping this in mind. LE has oil that readily separates from water and grease that has low water spray off properties. Once water separates from oil, there has to be a way to remove that water from the oil. Lubrication Engineers of Canada recommends ESCO sight glass in humid environment and in applications where frequent wash down is involved. This clear sight glass should be installed at the lowest point on the machinery. This will keep water out of the machinery and will further extend the life of the lubricant and your machinery.

Why should you use high performance lubricant such as Lubrication Engineers products instead of other brands? It is like having oil that has perfect synergy of blood cells (base oil), nutrient & vitamins (advanced additives) which will make machinery work longer and healthier.

-Blog by Birju Shah

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An Automatic Lubrication System for Solid Lubricants

In many industries, chains are used to run conveyors on the oven/dryer. Proper lubrication of those chains means extended chain life, lower energy cost, and higher production rate. To lubricate oven chains, there are two options 1) Fluid Film Lubrication or 2) Solid Film Lubrication. With fluid film lubrication, when the oven runs at higher temperatures, it requires replacing the fluid lost by evaporation, oxidation, and decrease in viscosity. In such instance, solid film lubrication provides better wear protection, consumes less lubricant, and withstands higher temperature. The solid lubricant usually dispenses in the liquid carrier that is designed to evaporate after the lubricant has been applied.

This brings another challenge of applying solid lubricant on to the chain. Currently, the only way to apply solid lubricant suspended in the carrier is manually, with a spray bottle or brush. This type of manual lubrication works fine but there are several shortfalls associated with it.

    • The lube technician ends up applying the lubrication unevenly. If applied too much, the lubricant will smoke at high temperature and if applied too little, chain will wear out fast.
    •  There are also issues with lube technician’s safety due to high temperature of the chain.
    • It is hard to determine the right interval of re-lubrication.
    • If lube technician forgets to shake the bottle before applying it, the solids will just stay at the bottom.

Bijur Delimon Internation and Lubrication Engineers of Canada are designing an automatic system that can apply this solid lubricant suspended in to liquid carrier. The reservoir consists of an agitator which will agitate the lubricant before pumping. The pump will transfer the lubricant from the reservoir to the distribution block which mixes air and lubricant. From there, pressurised air will carry the lubricant through tubing and to the application point. Distribution block dispenses pre-measured quantity of lubricant for even lubrication. In order to get rid of solid lubricants from the tubing after lubricating the chain, there will be an after blow of air through the tubing.

At the bearing point, stainless steel brush applies the lubricant on both sides of the chain. The liquid carrier helps solid lubricant to penetrate inside the loading areas (between the two links). After some time, carrier evaporates leaving behind solid film to protect the chain. The interval of the chain re-lubrication can be determined by monitoring the amperage draw of the motor that is driving the chain/conveyor mechanism. As soon as the amperage draw increases, it is time for re-lubrication.

The major benefit of using LE compared to other lubricant is that LE has proprietary solid lubricant name ‘ALMASOL’. It can withstand almost 2-3 times higher temperature compared to Moly, Graphite and Fluorocarbon. It has 5 times the load carrying capacity compared to graphite. Almasol has natural affinity to metal so it will stay in place longer and it is so fine that it will not build up on itself such as moly and graphite.

Lubrication Engineers has 5 different products for high temperature chains; selecting one depends on your oven chain temperature and application style. All of these 5 products can be used in automated lubrication system that ensures quick return on investment by extending chain life, lowering energy cost and increasing production rate.

Blog By Birju Shah

Adapted from ‘http://www.machinerylubrication.com/Read/1376/oven-chain-lubrication

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Is Your Engine Oil Really Synthetic?

During our sales meeting, I came across an interesting fact: all the engine oil that is marketed as synthetic is not actually synthetic. A good definition of synthetic oil is “noting or pertaining to compounds formed through a chemical process by human agency, as opposed to those of natural origin.”  As most of you know, the American Petroleum Institute (API) ranks base stock in the following categories:

InNorth America, Group 3, 4 and 5 are marketed as synthetic oils even though Group 3 is actually a version of highly processed hydrocarbons (mineral oil).  I believe the reason for that is because Group 3 is synthesized up to the level that it no longer qualifies as having a ‘natural origin’. Most of the synthetic engine oils in the market are either group 3 or group 4. So, why does LE use Group 3 synthetic rather than Group 4 synthetic?

It all goes back to what LE believes in:  “No other brand of petroleum lubricating oil whatsoever, regardless of price, will be found superior in condition to Lubrication Engineers products at the end of any given period of use”. In order to create superior product, LE compared both Group 3 and Group 4 synthetic oils and put them to the test. While group 4 synthetics are better for high and low temperature (oxidation resistance & pour point) characteristics, group 3 synthetics have higher additive solubility.

I use synthetic oil in my car, and the main reason behind it is that I want to increase my drain interval. However, when I increase the drain interval, I also want to make sure that the additive package in that engine oil will last longer to protect the engine. Group 3 base oil with the ‘premium additive package’ allows us to increase the drain interval without worrying about engine protection.  But be aware that a lot of synthetic engine oil manufacturers sell Group 3 synthetic with ‘conventional additive package’.  This means that if the drain interval is extended, your engine will not get enough wear protection because the additive package has already been deteriorated. Also, in engine oils, the fluid must be changed due to contamination before it wears out due to oxidation. So, the question is whether actual value can be realized by using Group 4 synthetic with better oxidation resistance?

LE uses Group 3 synthetic oil because we believe it out performs any Group 4 oils (PAOs) in properties that actually matter for engine protection and longer drain interval.

Blog by Birju Shah

Adapted from: http://www.lelubricants.com/documents/resources/when_do_synthetic_lub.pdf

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How to become your company’s hero

Have you heard of a term called ‘Total Cost of Ownership’? This blog will help you make the right choices, not just in your company, but in your personal life as well. I am going to use ‘high performance lubricants’ as an example, as this will reduce my total cost of owning this blog!

As a sales person I often get asked “why use high a performance lubricant for my machinery? Does it really make any difference, since we are already running problem free?”

Before, I used to answer by explaining the benefits of our products, but soon I realized that, while my information was important and valid, it could be dismissed as a boring sales pitch (with the prospect probably thinking, “here we go again, another salesman with ‘great’ product”).  I learned from Kenneth Lerman, one of the speakers at our annual sales meeting, that whenever you inject the topic of money into the conversation, it becomes more interesting.

The Total Cost of Ownership is the measure of forecasting and comparing the long term cost of owning two products that have the same function, each with different capital and operating costs. Some customers tell me that Lubrication Engineers’ lubricants costs more (capital cost) than what they are currently using, but are they really considering the operating cost? As an example, let’s say you compare Lubrication Engineers’ gear oil with ordinary gear oil for use in your gearbox:

Lubrication Engineers (Capital Cost $200) Ordinary Brand (Capital Cost $100)
Extend Gearbox life by 3-5   years Meets gearbox operating   standards
Annual downtime 6 days Annual downtime 12 days
Drain Interval  3 times a year Drain Interval 4 times a year
Labour maintenance “ x” Labour maintenance “x+x”
Utility (Electric) cost “x” Utility (Electric) cost   “1.5x”
Production speed “x” Production speed < “x”
Personal training 3 times a   year No training scheduled
Environment cost   (waste/pollution) “x” Environment cost   (waste/pollution) > “x”

Now, let me ask you, which option costs more?

By considering all the cost factors in choosing the right supplier/partner, you could very well ensure your personal and your company’s corporate success for the long term.

Blog by Birju Shah, a dedicated employee @ Lubrication Engineers of Canada

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