Oxidation, rust, corrosion, and water exposure can be significantly higher along South Africa’s coastal belt. So much so that coastal conditions are often classified as “extreme condition environments”. This doesn’t have to mean, however, that components operating in coastal plants will always have a shorter lifespan or run less efficiently than their inland equivalents. The key to extending the life of any piece of equipment is protecting it using the right lubrication products in the correct quantities and at the appropriate frequency.
Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa has long-standing relationships with clients in many different industries in South Africa’s coastal areas and has seen immense improvements in its clients’ equipment lifespans and performance where the right lubrication is applied, and preventative maintenance devices are used.
Llewellyn Owen, National Sales Manager at LE explains that it’s essential to work with a client to understand their challenges to find the right solution for their specific needs. This is particularly important in coastal areas where clients have to factor in the environmental impact on wear and tear and contamination. Beginning with an onsite equipment assessment, a trained lubrication consultant should be able to recommend lubricants, application methods, usage amounts, and drain or lube intervals to ensure effective maintenance.
Protecting coastal equipment.
Preventative maintenance and LE’s aftermarket reliability solutions (ARS) also form an important part of this approach. “The better we can help a client in protecting and extending the life of their assets, the better the client’s business does, and the more money the client makes, because they don’t have continuous issues with downtime. They can achieve their targets as far as asset life is concerned. We find that the predictions that are set out are often exceeded by implementing these systems when running a high-spec, appropriate lubricant,” explains Owen.
One example of this is enclosed gearboxes. Owen says that many imported enclosed gearboxes don’t have adequate level monitors or sight glasses on them, or their sight glasses get contaminated over time and it becomes difficult for operators to see what is happening inside the gearbox. LE’s Duolec® Industrial Gear
Oil solutions have proved to be an excellent and extremely reliable solution for coastal applications in enclosed gearboxes.
“We have cases where we have gearboxes using one of the Duolec® lubrication that have now been running for more than 22 years… the way that this Duolec® Industrial Gear Oil product keeps oxidation away from metal parts and gears is absolutely mindboggling,” Owen adds.
Preventative devices, such as LE’s High Humidity Desiccant Breathers, can also be a very helpful ARS tools when installed on gearboxes, pumps, transformers, and lubricant reservoirs. They help to exclude large amounts of airborne contamination when these assets “breathe”. Where storage tanks and working assets are subjected to continuous temperature changes and large fluctuations in humidity it is critical to investigate preventative measures to combat potential problems and implement them. ARS tools can play an important role in this regard.
Owen adds that different industrial and agricultural applications require lubrication that will help get the best out of equipment and get the best returns for clients on the lifespan of their machinery. “Every industry has its own troublesome or problematic machine or component,” he says.
Having the right lubrication partner gives maintenance teams access to expert advice, skills, and technology to help them solve any challenges that arise. For example, marine application lubrication can be particularly tricky (for example, on fishing boats and boat trailers). LE has developed a range of products specifically designed for these applications. For example, LE 1498/9 is a waterproof grease that is suitable for marine use as it is not affected by saltwater.
In the coastal agricultural industry, equipment like crop sprayers require a lubricant in the gearbox that can handle not only the environmental issues, but also constant water ingress. “In these instances, you need to have a high-quality lubricant that can separate from water easily, yet still protect the moving parts. LE’s high quality multi-viscosity EP gearbox oils outlast the majority of other lubricants offered in this market,” says Owen.
“We like to think of ourselves as a headache tablet. Regardless of the difficulty a client might be experiencing, whether it be a lubricant, solution problem or a heat problem, we are able to assist our clients in solving or greatly reducing their downtime and improving their productivity,” he says.