October 14, 2021
Watch Your Grease!
By Stan Riddle
In Acoem USA’s Reliable Precision Maintenance (RPM) class, we discuss several key points maintenance personnel need to know about lubrication. One of those points is grease compatibility.
At a recent class, our students mentioned they only used two kinds of grease. When we asked what they were, they didn’t remember the name. So, one of the mechanics went to their supply room, and picked up one tube each of their two types of greases.
See anything wrong with this picture?
- The tubes look identical-almost.
- One is a Polyurea base, the other is a Lithium Complex base.
Would it be easy to mix these up, especially when you’re in a hurry, the grease gun runs out, and you quickly go grab another tube?
There is another concern.
According to most grease compatibility charts, Polyurea and Lithium Complex greases are incompatible. They are also probably some of the most common industrial greases.
Would it be easy to get them confused? Probably.
Has it happened in this facility? Probably.
Even with the best of intentions, labeling, and color-coding, mistakes can happen. So it’s best to KNOW:
- what grease is in your grease gun.
- the proper grease application for specific machines.
- your greases are not mixed.