PFPE grease for better bearings
On average, an industrial machine will have 20 grease points, which all need regular check-ups. The check-ups will differ a lot depending on what actually needs greasing, for example a flat surface will need less time and effort compared to bearings. So there is no doubt that maintenance for industrial machines can be a bit of a hassle, so therefore it is always recommended that a high-quality grease should be used, not only to save time and money, but also have that peace in mind.
We know PFPE is completely inert, but what other advantages does it bring, particularly for industrial grade bearings? In this section, the main advantages of using PFPE grease with be outlined and explained.
PFPE grease and durability
You might have come across a test called ASTM-D3336, which is basically a test determining a grease’ performance. This is done by spinning a bearing at a set speed and temperature, and basically see how long it would last. Most lubricants actually failed before the the 1000hr-mark, at 10.000rpm and at 350°F (177°C). Hydrocarbon grease gave out first and then the rest, however the end-result for PFPE wasn’t determined, as it was still performing at its full capacity at the 25,000hrs (equivalent in rpm), which is about three-years.
In another bearing test, namely the ROF-test, which is often associated with SKF bearings, PFPE grease showed excellent performance and actually throughout the test, proved to be 21 to 64 times better than any other grease. In this test, it was also concluded that PFPE grease will last so long that many application would never need to be re-lubricated, as the PFPE grease would bong so well with the metal.
PFPE grease and extreme temperature ranges
It should also be clear by now that PFPE greases can withstand extreme temperatures, both high and low. Generally, if a machine or a specific application heats up to more than 248°F (120°C) or drops below 32°F (0°C), most petrochemical-based greases will stop performing as well, and often times fail. This is a potential problem many manufacturing plants needs to take into consideration, as a small hick-up in proper lubrication can cost a lot of down-time and money.
To put things into perspective, PFPE greases can comfortable perform in the ranges of 752°F (400°C) and all the way down to -103F° (-75°C). The graph below shows how big of a temperature range PFPE grease covers, in comparison to other major types of greases.
PFPE grease and evaporation loss
In a evaporation loss test, a regular PFPE grease and a hydrocarbon-based grease, specifically deisgned for high-temperatures, was put in a oven at 450°F (232°C) for exactly 40 hours. The result was clear, as the PFPE grease was still fully in tack, as well as no change in shape or color, but most importantly, it was still fully working. On the other hand, the hydrocarbon-based grease, had lost approximately 40% of its weight, a lot of it turned into black tar, and was not safe to use for lubrication. So it is safe to say that PFPE greases is the superior choice for both temperature and performance. The picture below is how both greases turn out.
Cost of PFPE Grease
The last point of this article is the cost of PFPE grease, which many argue to be slightly too high. However, there have been numerous studies and articles proving that PFPE grease in the long run, saves both time and money. Most recently, an article on Power Magazine, stated that the cost of lubricants, make up for less than 1% of running a manufacturing plant. However, that 1%, which is how much you need to spend on proper lubricants, can at the same time damage 50% of a manufacturing plant’s maintenance cost.
Over time, PFPE grease will actually save manufacturer’s maintenance costs as well as safety. A brief calculation proved that using PFPE grease, would more or less save up to 23.5% of a manufacturing plant’s annual operating costs. This is based on how PFPE grease performs and lasts compared to other major grease-types.