Maintenance is the backbone of any farm, construction, or industrial business. Without proper maintenance, the business will experience breakdowns, high repair costs and struggle to meet deadlines—all problems that can break a business.
Experienced business owners know maintenance is key, but still struggle to have fail-proof maintenance programs—why? Finding experienced maintenance personnel is difficult and many present-day misconceptions have prevented new graduates from entering great-paying trade jobs.
The result: automation. Businesses are turning to automatic lubrication systems and maintenance technology. One of these automated technologies is auto-greasers, however, while auto-greasers help ensure routine greasing they are not without fault.
Read on to find out if auto-greasers and automatic lubrication systems are the right option for you!
What is an Auto-greaser?
An auto-greaser (or automatic greasers) is an electronic greasing system that utilizes a reservoir or grease and an electric pump to supply grease to bushings and bearings through a series of hoses and pipes to each fitting.
The grease can be pumped to different fittings at different application rates, so each fitting receives the proper amount of grease.
Where can Auto-greasers be Used?
The most common machines using auto-greasers are heavy equipment and construction machines. This may include haul trucks, bulldozers, excavators, and hydraulic hammers. Many of these applications use a lot of grease and lubrication systems and work long hours in extreme conditions, meaning, they need a lot of grease to live.
One of the most common applications for auto-greasers is hydraulic hammers. These breaker hammers are used in demolition, rock breaking, and quarries.
Hydraulic hammers not only need a lot of grease, they need highly specialized grease. Hammers need an extremely temperature-resistant grease with the highest-pressure tolerance. One of the few greases to meet this requirement is AirTec CHP-1250. AirTec CHP-1250 has a working temperature rating of over 2000°F!!
Plus AirTec CHP-1250 utilizes a copper flake additive that prevents corrosion, crucial in machines like hydraulic hammers that have seasonal and periodic use!
Do I Need an Auto-greaser?
Auto-greasers came into existence because maintenance employees are in short supply for manual lubrication, additionally, fewer people are familiar with maintenance as many now live in cities and service work is done by professional repair businesses.
In years past, when more maintenance was performed at home or on the farm people were much more familiar with repairs and preventive maintenance like greasing. For this reason, many businesses are turning to auto-greasers or developing education programs for machine operators, so they know how and when to grease.
However, it is recommended even with auto-greasers that operators understand why greasing is important and know when something needs grease because auto-greasers can fail.
Pros of Auto-greasers
The advantages of auto-greasers and automatic lubrication system are straightforward.
When working properly auto-greasers automatically provide automatic lubrication and grease at a set rate and a set interval. This can help ensure that bearings and bushings are not only getting the right amount of grease but are also getting grease when they need it!
The other big advantage is “automatic”. Auto-greaser grease is independent of the machine operator so it doesn’t matter if the operator knows he/she should grease or not! The auto-greaser takes care of grease as needed.
Auto-greasers are perfect for attachments (like hydraulic hammers) that take specialized grease and a lot of it!
The Downside of Auto-greasers
Many businesses will see the efficiency and upside to auto-greasers for industrial applications and make a switch, however, there are significant drawbacks and benefits of auto-greasers that need to be addressed. Here are a few:
Auto-Greasers require different grease during different seasons and in general require higher more fluid greases because they must be pumped long distances for single lubrication points. For this reason, greases that do not meet the OEM requirements may be used, ultimately causing damage as the lighter grease cannot appropriately handle the temperatures or working pressures.
They still need to be refilled. The grease reservoir on an automatic greasing system still needs to be refilled and that requires a bulk filling pump. While the filling may only be weekly it will still require someone to fill, lessening the labor cost savings.
They break. Machines that are greased completely by auto-greasers will have lines running all over the machine and these lines can become plugged, be damaged, or even be ripped off during use. When damaged or removed the machine does not get the grease it needs to function.
Not a great cold weather option. The long grease line requires lighter grease to start with, however, as the temperature drops, the auto-greaser will need lighter grease again or it won’t be able to pump the grease. With extremely light grease you must make sure your machine is being properly lubricated. More light grease doesn’t give the same protection as heavy high-pressure grease.
Expensive installation. The initial cost of installation is high for an auto-greaser and it will have to be removed, moved, or replaced if the machine is sold or replaced.
Less inspection by the operator. When an operator is greasing their machine, they are looking at all the moving parts and pivot points. During greasing when most problems are identified, therefore, when greasing is done automatically the operator is no longer forced to inspect the machine.
Auto-greasers are a great option for pieces of machinery like hydraulic hammers or breakers that require extremely high-performance grease in large quantities. In fact, most hydraulic hammers come with auto-greasers from the factory because they are a great fit.
However, you have to make sure you are using the correct grease in this auto-greasers-check out AirTec CHP-1250 for a chisel paste that checks all the boxes! Hydraulic hammers also require very short grease lines so you can use a grease that is specially designed for the hammer, you don’t have to substitute a thinner grease.
When considering an auto-greaser for other applications or for greasing complete machines you really must consider all the factors.
Does the weather change a lot?
Can you use the grease you need?
Do you have enough maintenance personnel?
Answer these questions and you will be well on your way to finding out if auto-greasers are the right fit for you and your business!