Lubrication Optimisation: Extending Bearing Lifespans

Lubrication Optimisation: Extending Bearing Lifespans
Spread the love

IAA spoke with Christian Ploner, Go-to-Market Manager Service Solutions and Min Ling Chan, VP, Head of Industrial R&D, Industrial Asia Pacific, Schaeffler on Concept1 and automation trends to expect in 2021.

There are many reasons why a bearing might fail. Improper lubrication is a major contributor to bearing failure. “Problems that are related to lubrication make up around 80 percent of premature bearing failures,” said Christian Ploner, go-to-market manager service solutions, Schaeffler.

“This can be due to the improper lubricant amount or re-lubrication interval or also to age or the wrong type of lubricant,” added Ploner. “As particles can also be harmful to a bearing and reduce the operating life the proper relubrication also helps to remedy in such cases.”

To address improper lubrication and optimise the entire lubrication process – extending the life time of the bearing – Schaeffler has launched its Concept1 single-point automatic lubricator.

The Concept1 has been engineered to ensure optimal lubrication in a broad range of industrial machines and devices – including electric motors, bearing housings, fans, blowers and pumps.

According to Schaeffler this eliminates the need for time-consuming manual lubrication procedures, while preventing lubrication mistakes such as over- or under-greasing that can cause unplanned plant equipment downtime.

But how does Concept1 improve upon the performance and longevity compared to what is currently available on the market?

“The performance and longevity of rolling bearings is generally improved when switching from manual to automatic lubrication,” said Ploner. “Currently around 80 percent of applications are still lubricated manually and the Concept1 is a great and cost-effective device to start with automatic lubrication.”

Furthermore, said Ploner, the additional benefit with the refillable Concept1 is the increased sustainability as usually the devices need to be completely scrapped when depleted.

“Moreover the customer can use the ideal grease that is recommended for his application as he can do the initial filling,” added Ploner. “A mixing with previous lubricant – which is never desired – can be avoided as the customer is not restricted to the lubricants from Schaeffler.

However, this also means that the machine manufacturer cannot claim the use of improper lubricant and deny warranty, remarked Ploner.



According to Schaeffler, the device itself uses an electrochemical reaction to precisely and continuously supply the proper amount of lubricant to rolling bearings inside electric motors and other industrial machinery. 

Furthermore, its use can reduce plant maintenance costs by as much as 25 percent, according to Schaeffler, when compared to manual lubrication procedures.

The device can be used on any general bearing type, such as ball bearings, roller bearings and plain bearings, according to Ploner. “It is not so much a question of the bearing type, but more a question of the individual operating conditions of a specific machine if the lubricator fits or not.”

The device comes pre-filled with Schaeffler’s line of Arcanol greases, or can come prefilled with name-brand and special-order lubricants, according to the company. 

Furthermore, to reduce waste and help protect the environment, the device can be refilled up to three times using the company’s specially designed refill kits.


Smart Manufacturing

Schaeffler’s Concept lubrication product portfolio is part of an overall push towards industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing. In 2020, the firm revealed plans to develop its production hub in Vietnam into a digital pilot plant for its global production system.

Major Industry 4.0 trends are not expected to change going into 2021, such as automation, smart or digital factory and additive manufacturing, etc.

However, “digitalisation growth seen by manufacturer’s and companies is driving the need towards smart manufacturing and emerging technology to respond to obstacles faced in 2020,” said Min Ling Chan, VP, head of industrial R&D, Industrial Asia Pacific, Schaeffler.

“Digital Factory covers technology such as Augmented Reality (AR) where use cases are expanding from planning, assembly and maintenance is changing the way we work in production facilities.”

“In combination, connected machines and Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT), data collection and deploying Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques will allow productivity improvements,” added Chan.

“Our Concept lubrication product portfolio covers the need for manufacturers to optimise maintenance rather than rely on current practises of set calendar or route based schedules,” said Chan. “For some of our customers this has seen an improvement in managing their maintenance schedules more efficiently.”








Network Resilience In Times Of Crisis
6G: New Generations Of Wireless And The Impact On Measurement