Your work never stops, so your vehicles and machinery can’t stop either.
Grease: Nothing moves without it
How to choose the best grease for every application
From axles to bearings, grease keeps your equipment’s moving parts running smoothly. Grease, unlike oil, is a semi-solid and viscous lubricant that stays in place. It is used in machinery applications when you need not only a lubricant, but a seal to keep out dust, dirt, water, and other contaminants.
Selecting the correct grease will optimize friction and wear resistance, leading to longer component life, reduced downtime, and lower operating costs. Many factors go into the selection of an appropriate grease, such as operating loads, temperature, speed, and environmental conditions.
When selecting a grease, you must consider the application and operating conditions in which the grease will function. For a better understanding of what goes into a good grease, concentrate on its three components: base oil type, thickener type, and performance additives.
The base oil used to formulate greases is usually mineral oil, synthetic, or a combination of the two. Grease base oil viscosity is important to know as it determines the combination of speed and load the grease can handle in the application. The base oil type and viscosity also influence the temperature range of the grease and its ability to meet special demands, such as biodegradability and food grade requirements.
Thickeners form the “body” or “backbone” of the grease by providing a fibrous, sponge-like structure that holds the other components in place, giving the grease consistency and the ability to stay put. The properties of the thickener influence several important performance aspects of the grease, including thermal and shear stability, resistance to contaminants, flow behavior, and load-carrying capacity.
This means that when selecting grease for any application, careful consideration to thickener technology is needed, in addition to selection of base oil type and additive content.
Many different types of additives are used in greases to impart specific properties to the finished product. Additives help limit the effects of adverse conditions such as heavy shock loads, wear, rust and corrosion, and oxidation.
With so many factors to take into consideration and different types of greases to choose from, selecting the right one for your application can be confusing. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting a grease for each application.
High temperatures can cause grease to soften and flow away from bearing surfaces, resulting in oxidation or carbonization. A grease combining complex thickeners and synthetic oils is best for hot applications.
Resistance to water and contamination
Grease protects from corrosives. However, if the grease is not adequate, surfaces can corrode, contaminating the grease and leading to reduced lubrication capability. The treat rate and type of thickener determine a grease’s ability to act as a barrier to fluids and contaminants.
Applying shear forces to a grease over time usually reduces a grease’s consistency. Typically, high-speed bearings have low loads and require low viscosity. Excessive viscosity will lead to internal heat generation and increased energy consumption.
The ability for grease to flow under pressure through the lines, nozzles, and fittings of the grease dispensing system is important for cold temperature applications and centralized grease systems.
Bearings operating under high load need a grease with an adequate protective film layer that supports the load and minimizes wear. Typically, low-speed, high-load applications require a higher viscosity base oil.
Over time, the base oils and additives in grease become depleted, causing increased wear of bearing surfaces. As a result, regular maintenance is required to replenish the grease.
Food- or pharmaceutical-grade greases must satisfy requirements imposed by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies.
Types and classifications of greases
Greases are most often classified by the three primary types of thickeners:
Simple soaps (e.g. lithium-12 hydroxystearate)
Complex soaps (e.g. lithium complex, aluminium complex, calcium-sulfonate complex)
Non-soap thickeners (clay and polyurea)
Other classifications may include base oil type, industry, environment, or inclusion of additives.
Lithium grease is the most widely used multi-purpose grease. It is commonly used in automotive wheel bearings and chassis applications. It also has many industrial applications such as bearings in compressors, fans and pumps, and home electric products. It is typically used where operating temperatures and loads are moderate.
All of the Phillips 66 lithium greases have a solid foundation of corrosion inhibition, extreme Pressure, and anti-wear performance, with different options available in base oil viscosity and consistency, to meet variations in application speed and grease distribution methods.
Lithium complex soap greases
Lithium complex thickened greases were developed to meet the increasing demands on lubricants required by machines and vehicles operating under the most severe conditions. Lithium complex greases have improved properties compared to lithium greases, including excellent pumpability over a wide range of temperatures, as well as improved thermal stability and load carrying capacity.
Typical applications include a wide range of plain and roller bearings, wheel bearings, electric motor bearings and fan bearings. It has become the most widely used grease in the U.S.
All of the Phillips 66 lithium complex greases have a solid foundation of corrosion inhibition, extreme pressure performance and anti-wear protection, with different options available in base oil viscosity and consistency, to meet variations in application speed and grease distribution methods. Greases based on synthetic base oils offer a very wide temperature range and high thermal stability.
Molybdenum (moly) grease
Moly grease contains molybdenum disulfide as an additive and is used for industrial and specialty applications that require a grease suitable for oscillating movements and frequent starting and stopping. Typical applications include pins, bushings, turntables, and slow-moving bearings.
All of the Phillips 66 moly-containing lithium complex greases have a solid foundation of corrosion inhibition, extreme pressure performance and anti-wear protection, with different options available in base oil viscosity and consistency, to meet variations in application speed and grease distribution methods.
Calcium sulfonate soap grease
This grease has excellent thermal stability, water resistance, and load carrying capabilities. It offers extraordinary corrosion protection for use around fresh or saltwater. It is commonly used in automotive, agricultural, food, mining, and steel mill applications. This grease is typically an upgrade to other multi-purpose greases such as lithium and lithium complex greases.
These greases’ functional structure and performance attributes provide a single multi-functional platform which can replace multiple greases and thus decrease complexity, avoid compatibility issues, and reduce cost.
Polyurea thickeners are polymer based and can be tailored in many ways to meet specific demands. For example, these polyurea greases can be tailored to meet specific shear stability or flow behavior requirements. They are commonly ash-less and exhibit inherent oxidation-resistant properties, allowing them to handle high temperatures and high speeds over long time periods. Typical applications include sealed-for-life wheel bearings, electric motor bearings, and fan bearings.
All of the Phillips 66 polyurea greases have a solid foundation of corrosion inhibition and anti-wear performance, with options available for extreme pressure and lower consistency, to meet variations in application load and grease distribution methods. These greases target high-speed applications.
Aluminum complex soap greases
These greases have excellent oxidation resistance and good water resistance, but relatively
low thermal resistance. These greases are typically used for food-grade applications.
Our premium quality aluminum complex grease was developed for use as a lubricant in applications where there is the potential for incidental food contact. It is recommended for use in food plants, bottling and packaging equipment, and other industrial applications requiring a non-staining, EP white grease.
Bentonite clay-thickened grease
The addition of bentonite clay creates a non-soap grease that does not lose its structure even at extremely high temperatures. However, its applications are limited because it offers poor corrosion resistance and have poor high-speed performance.
Our water-resistant, adhesive, clay-thickened EP grease is ideal for use in kilns, dryer ovens, cement plants, steel mills, and other heavy-duty industrial machinery operating at very high temperatures.
Scheduled Maintenance Tips for Heavy Equipment
Well-maintained equipment has less downtime and improves productivity
If a heavy piece of equipment has an unexpected breakdown, it can quickly become a major problem for your budget. Poor equipment productivity caused by downtime and maintenance issues is a leading contributor to increased and unexpected project costs.
A contractor can expect about 800 to 900 productive hours annually from a typical piece of equipment. Based on a 40-hour work week that translates, at best, to a productivity rate of only 62 percent. That means most pieces of heavy equipment have a productivity rate improvement window of nearly 40 percent, which can have a big impact on your bottom line.
One of the easiest and most impactful ways to improve heavy equipment productivity, reduce downtime, and increase revenue is to implement and adhere to a preventative maintenance schedule for each piece of machinery.
Preventative maintenance occurs on a pre-determined schedule, regardless of whether the equipment shows problems operating or not. It allows you to identify and address any defects before they can evolve into more expensive and large-scale issues.
The exact maintenance tasks you’ll need to perform will vary according to the vehicle and the original equipment manufacturer’s recommendations. However, most pieces of heavy equipment have engines that need similar checks performed on them, including:
Use top quality engine oil and other lubricants. Although engine oil represents just a small fraction of your total maintenance costs, it can have a big impact on your bottom line. Skimping on quality or selecting the wrong type of engine oil can lead to more serious issues and costly repairs, along with more downtime and lower productivity later on. Find the right high-quality oil for your vehicles and keep your equipment running smoothly.
Check the coolant, transmission, brake, fuel, and other fluid levels. Frequent drops in fluids indicate a leak that must be identified and repaired. As with engine oil, make sure you are using correct type of high-quality fluids to prevent costly repairs.
Do all of the machinery’s parts move as smoothly as they should? Do the controls respond appropriately? Problems with these elements could indicate issues with the accessory operators on the equipment.
Cleaning the equipment and performing a visual inspection to look for anything that appears out of place can make finding problems easier.
Maintaining your equipment is critical for avoiding downtime and job interruptions caused by equipment failure. Most – 80 percent – of equipment failures happen randomly, outside of the break-in and wear-out periods. Implementing a preventative maintenance schedule can minimize these breakdowns.
Regularly inspecting your vehicles and performing routine maintenance helps ensure that a piece of machinery will not have to have an issue or breakdown before it receives attention. While scheduled preventative maintenance won’t stop all breakdowns from occurring, it can significantly reduce their number. With so many factors that can cause lost time on projects being outside your control, such as inclement weather, maintaining your fleet is a proactive approach you can take to reduce equipment downtime and improve productivity.
You’ve heard the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The same idea holds true for heavy equipment maintenance and repair, and it’s called the 1-10-100 rule. According to this rule, if preventative maintenance costs you $1, on-time defect correction will cost 10x that, and a total equipment failure would cost 100x that.
While some people still consider preventative maintenance for heavy equipment to be a burdensome expenditure of time, money, and resources, that’s the wrong perspective to take. On the contrary, neglected, poorly maintained equipment will have more breakdowns, more downtime, and more safety issues, along with a shorter lifespan.
It’s true that preventative maintenance will take a vehicle out of operation for a short time. But scheduling maintenance ahead of time allows you to control when each vehicle is serviced based on project needs, ensuring that each vehicle is ready to work exactly when it’s needed.
When you consider these factors, it’s easy to see that preventive maintenance is really an investment in safety, efficiency, cost-efficiency, and productivity that delivers a measurable return on your investment.
Here are some benefits you can expect from preventative maintenance:
Studies show that equipment maintenance can save up to 40% of cost overrun on construction projects with reduced downtime and improved productivity. Also, a properly maintained engine has better fuel efficiency, leading to lower fuel costs.
A safer worksite
Regular maintenance keeps equipment and safety mechanisms working correctly, protecting workers from getting hurt on the job.
Stopping work to make repairs or to fix a breakdown uses precious project hours, increasing the total time to complete the job and reducing efficiency.
Preservation of warranty
For some warranties, neglecting basic service tasks could void the protection of the policy.
Insurance coverage protection
Depending on the details of your fleet’s insurance policy, damage caused by neglecting maintenance may not be covered.
5 Tips for Extending the Life of Your Heavy Equipment
Protect your investment with these preventative measures
Heavy equipment is probably your company’s largest investment and the backbone of your business. Proper and regular maintenance is imperative for extending the life of that equipment and getting the most return on your investment.
Whether you’re in the mining, farming, construction, or aviation industry, unplanned downtime or replacement expenses can lead to enormous financial loss and even affect your competitive edge. In times of economic uncertainty, proper maintenance of your heavy equipment takes on even more importance to avoid the high cost of replacement.
Here are five simple but impactful preventative measures you can take to maintain your heavy equipment and extend its longevity.
Because heavy equipment can have many different operators, it’s important that everyone knows and understands proper operation procedures. Untrained operators run the risk of putting excess strain on equipment, accelerating equipment wear, and suffering a workplace injury. Incorrect operations can also lead to parts failures and loss of productivity.
The best way to avoid these situations is to regularly train your operators. Training should include Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for operating heavy machinery, as well as equipment- and manufacturer-specific training. Ensuring that your equipment is being operated correctly and safely can help reduce breakdowns and equipment malfunctions.
Replacing heavy equipment parts isn’t cheap. It may be tempting to try and save money on parts replacement by exceeding the manufacturer-recommended lifetime or usage limits. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, the long-term effects would likely negate any short-term savings.
Old, worn out parts can lead to reduced efficiency, cause damage to other parts, and become a safety hazard. Instead of being reactive to broken machinery, be proactive with regular inspections, scheduled maintenance, and on-time parts replacements.
Heavy equipment is built to last through arduous tasks performed for long hours in the harshest of climates, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be damaged by pushing the machine’s limits or using it for the wrong type of work.
All heavy machinery has performance limitations and specifications that can be found in the owner’s manual. Since a particular piece of machinery can be used in a variety of settings, it’s crucial to understand and abide by the specifications, such as weight limits and the correct power mode, for each task.
Dirty equipment not only looks bad and can be seen as unprofessional, but excessive dirt and grime can damage parts, cause corrosion, and hide issues that need to be addressed. Cleaning your equipment is an easy way to keep it in good shape, as well as providing an opportunity to inspect for any needed repairs or maintenance.
Check and change filters often, inspect seals and electronics, and clean the cab. When not in use, store heavy equipment in a clean environment, preferably in a sheltered area away from the elements to avoid rust and rot.
Adhering to the preventative maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer is the best way to extend the life of your heavy equipment and machinery. Regularly inspecting and changing the oil and other lubricants is the most important part of preventative maintenance.
The demands placed upon a lubricant and the operating conditions vary greatly with different components. To protect the equipment and address the demands placed upon the oil, lubricants have significantly different physical and chemical characteristics. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) stipulate the specifications for the lubricant, which are needed to minimize wear, maximize performance, and ensure the safe operation of the equipment. This information is normally found in the service manual.
It is also important to consistently use the correct oil to maximize the life and performance of equipment. Don’t top off with an incorrect oil for convenience.
Using the right amount of lubricant matters too. Too little lubricant can increase the risk of friction and equipment wear, while on the other hand, too much lubricant can build up and cause performance issues. Also, check for leaks and repair them right away to avoid bigger problems down the road.
With hundreds of formulations for thousands of applications, we have a premium quality lubricant to protect your heavy equipment investment.
Lubricating greases from Phillips 66 offer superior performance in applications in all major industrial segments. The selection of the best combinations of thickeners, base oil blends, and additive packages have ensured that our products meet the combined challenges of harsh operating environments and challenging running conditions.
From our high-end synthetic fluids to environmentally-sensitive, specialty, mainline conventional and high-efficiency oils, Phillips 66 has the high quality hydraulic oils you need across various conditions, applications, and viscosities.
The 4 Most Common Equipment Failures and how to prevent them
Avoid the high cost of breakdowns with these solutions
In an ideal world, 100 percent of your equipment would operate 100 percent of the time at 100 percent capacity. But in the real world, equipment failure happens. The business impact of these failures can range from minimal and easily fixed to catastrophic, depending on the situation.
A catastrophic failure is usually a sudden failure of a piece of equipment that causes it to cease operation. Catastrophic failures can cause damage not just to the specific piece of equipment but also collateral damage.
During a functional failure, the equipment is still operating but cannot function according to the required design specifications and likely needs to be shut down to correct the problem. For example, a pump designed to pump at 1,000 gallons per minute that can only pump at 800 gallons per minute is considered to have functionally failed.
There are several common reasons equipment can break down. Understanding these reasons and what you can do to prevent them from occurring is your first line of defense against the consequences of unexpected equipment downtime.
According to Machinery Lubrication, surface degradation of machine parts results in equipment failure in the vast majority of cases – 70 percent. Surface degradation is comprised mainly of corrosion and mechanical wear.
Cause #1: Corrosion
Corrosion is caused when water or other contaminants create an acidic environment that eats away at metal components. It is particularly problematic in equipment that is operated in harsh climates or conditions where moisture, dirt, or salt can contaminate vital components. As well as forming rust on the interior and exterior of the machine, water increases the speed at which oil oxidizes, which ultimately leads to the part operating within an acidic environment.
Corrosion of vital industrial parts, such as Tschan couplings and worm gearboxes, is one of the most common causes of equipment failure.
Cause #2: Mechanical Wear
Mechanical wear happens when machine surfaces mechanically rub against each other and falls into two categories: abrasive wear or adhesive wear.
Abrasive wear occurs when particle contaminants, such as dirt or wear debris, cause metal surfaces to become pitted and scored.
Adhesive wear occurs when two surfaces come into direct contact with each other and transfer material from one surface to the other.
Cause #3: Metal Fatigue
Metal fatigue is similar to what happens when you try to cut wire without any tools. As you bend the wire back and forth, the metal begins to fatigue, and finally becomes brittle and breaks.
This same process occurs in machines. For example, a particle contaminant can cause a stress riser on the inner face of a rolling-element bearing. Over time and with constant flexing, the metal begins to fatigue and, if not stopped, will eventually fail.
To help prevent machinery failure caused by surface degradation, it is important to keep machinery and internal parts well lubricated and sealed against the ingress of particle contaminants. Make sure equipment is well maintained and has parts regularly replaced. Also, keep it clean and stored in an appropriate place, and only allow it to be operated by those trained to do so.
Cause #4: Improper Lubrication
Proper lubrication – using the correct type and amount of oil, grease, and fluids – is integral to avoiding equipment failures and to keeping your business running smoothly. Lubrication is one of the best ways to prevent corrosion and wear. It also protects against heat and contamination and decreases noise in bearings. When equipment is properly and regularly lubricated, it has the highest chance of maximum service life.
Conversely, improper lubrication can lead to a multitude of equipment problems, such as particle contamination, leakages, higher maintenance costs, and equipment failure.
Here are the most common reasons for improper lubrication:
Lack of proper procedures – Without the right technician for the job or the correct procedure, improper lubrication may occur.
Over-greasing – This is a common mistake that leads to higher operating temperatures and aggressive contamination.
Poor labelling system – Labelling decreases the risk of cross-contamination and resolves confusions regarding which lubricants to use.
Under-lubrication – Inadequate amounts of lubricant or long lubrication intervals can be highly damaging to your machinery. Under-lubrication often causes noise, but in a loud facility it can go unnoticed.
Wrong lubricant – Using the wrong lubricant can cause component failures and it also voids an equipment’s warranty.
Mixing lubricants – This leads to component failures, increasing spending as parts have to be replaced.
Improper handling and storage – Maintenance personnel need training on the correct ways of handling and installing bearings and using lubricants. Even the most minute particles can enter a small dent and cause contamination.
Implementing and adhering to documented lubrication procedures – and making sure every technician is properly trained on them – is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your equipment is properly lubricated at all times.
In addition, integrating a labelling system and determining the output of grease guns while calculating the regrease requirements for all bearings to avoid both over- and under-lubrication is a good place to start.
Finally, check the owner’s manual to ensure that you are using the OEM-recommended lubricant for each piece of machinery. Using the correct, high-quality lubricant is the most important thing you can do to avoid costly equipment failures and to keep your equipment and your business running smoothly.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ENGINE OIL FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT
Keep your equipment running smoothly with the best engine oil for the job
Heavy equipment engines are similar to those used in passenger cars and trucks, but they operate in much more demanding environments. Choosing the right engine oil for your heavy equipment — whether you’re operating a single skid, running a farm, or managing a fleet of construction equipment — is critical to keeping your business running smoothly. After all, if your heavy equipment gas or diesel engine is down, your business is down too.
Choosing the correct engine oil for your heavy equipment can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The best place to start is with your owner’s manual. Choose a lubricant with the viscosity grade recommended by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for the life of the engine, and especially during its warranty period.
What’s the difference between a 5W-20, 10W-30, or SAE 40 engine oil? Viscosity grades for engine oils are primarily recommended according to the expected temperature that the equipment will be operated at, especially the starting temperature.
In reality, an engine oil’s operating temperature does not change significantly even in different ambient temperatures (like winter and summer), so the OEM-recommended viscosity is quite consistent for various applications. Therefore, you can select the lightest oil your manufacturer recommends for your climate and usage scenario.
The main difference is the viscosity grade “W”, which relates to the starting temperature, as this will determine the lubricant viscosity, its pumpability, and readiness to lubricate the engine. Lighter oils flow better when cold, reducing startup wear. They also improve fuel economy and engine cooling.
For example, a 5W viscosity grade requires the lubricant to flow properly at lower temperatures than a 15W viscosity grade, so it is expected to be used at lower starting temperatures. In tropical weather, most OEMs still recommend multi-grade products, such as SAE 15W-40, because the lubricant flows faster through the engine than a pure SAE 40 even at higher ambient temperatures.
Choosing a high-quality oil is another important consideration when selecting an engine oil for your heavy equipment. In the U.S., engine oil quality certification or performance level is determined by the American Petroleum Institute (API).
Pay close attention to what your engine requires, based on OEM recommendations. Currently, there are four API diesel engine oil classifications. API CH-4 was introduced in 1998, replacing CD, CE, CF-4, and CG-4 oils. API CI-4, CJ-4, and CK-4 were introduced in 2002, 2010, and 2017, respectively. If your engine calls for API CJ-4, you can safely use a CK-4 oil, but not a CI-4 engine oil, for example. Additionally, the latest API FA-4 engine oil is completely incompatible with all API Cx classifications.
Some OEM recommendations exceed the generalized API classifications. Engines using EGR and ACERT emissions-reduction technology are more prone to acid and soot production, for which some OEMs have implemented their own oil classifications. Your oil selection should meet or exceed these specifications, but no manufacturer can require you to purchase a certain brand to maintain the warranty.
Just like engine oils for cars and trucks, heavy equipment diesel engine oils are either conventional mineral oil-based, synthetic, or a blend of conventional and synthetic. Synthetic engine oils for heavy equipment contain more highly refined base oils than those used in conventional mineral oils, which offer added protection and performance.
All engine oils are made from crude oil. However, synthetic engine oil is made from more advanced refining processes and is higher in purity and quality than conventional mineral oils. The refining processes not only remove more impurities from the crude oil but also enable individual molecules in the oil to be tailored to the demands of modern engines. These customized molecules provide higher levels of protection and performance.
Synthetic or synthetic-blended oils are formulated with additives that can extend oil change intervals and promote longer engine life. A 5W-40 weight synthetic oil is usually capable of providing protection in harsh conditions as cold as minus 40 degrees F and as hot as 120 degrees F.
Two identical pieces of equipment won’t always need oil changes at the same time. The first could work for 500 hours without an oil change, while the second could need an oil change after 200 hours. This difference in performance usually results from three issues:
Frequent use of the engine and operating the equipment non-stop can cause stress and reduce oil efficiency.
Rough handling by the operator or using equipment in dusty or extreme environmental conditions can impact oil change intervals.
Poor-quality oil won’t last as long as high-quality oil and can damage your equipment’s engine.
Premium engine oils, which are typically synthetic, enhance the fuel economy, engine purity, ignition ability, and driving performance of a vehicle. Premium engine oils may not be the most inexpensive option, but they offer savings that add up over time from longer maintenance periods
You can choose an inexpensive product for shorter oil and maintenance intervals, or a higher–priced product for longer intervals.
Maximum loads. Long hours. Punishing environments. They can all extract a toll on your heavy-duty equipment. And as if that wasn’t enough, environmental regulations only increase the challenges. That’s where Phillips 66 comes in. Our premium products don’t just meet these extreme demands. They exceed them and protect your equipment.
Phillips 66 Lubricants has refreshed our modern heavy duty engine oil line so that more of our best products are united under the most trusted and recognized name in our portfolio: Guardol®. From the premium protection and fuel efficiency of full synthetic to the reliability of conventional, you can count on Guardol to supply the right oil for every machine in your fleet. All your heavy duty needs are covered by the new lineup.Learn more about Phillips 66 heavy duty diesel engine oils.
THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A GEAR OIL
Keep your equipment protected and find the gear oil best-suited for your applications
The main purpose of gear oil is to protect the gears of your machinery. Today’s gearboxes are smaller and made of lighter weight material but are pushed to produce more power in increasingly harsh industrial environments.
Gear oil plays a critical role in removing contaminants such as dirt, water, wear particles, and other foreign matter that can damage gears and bearings and impact efficient, smooth running of the gears.
Even with regular lubricant maintenance, heat, higher loads and pressures, and contaminants such as water can compromise a gear system. The results can be expensive downtime, repair, or replacement costs. That’s why choosing the best gear oil for each application, while challenging, is important.
Viscosity – Often referred to as the most important property of a lubricating oil.
Additives – The additives used in each gear oil will determine the lubricant’s general category and affect various key performance properties under operating conditions.
Base oil type – The type of base oil used should be determined by the operating conditions, gear type, and other factors.
Choosing an appropriate viscosity grade is usually as simple as finding the recommendation in the owner’s manual. Sometimes, however, the equipment operates outside the conditions for which the OEM’s recommendations were made.
Constant gear rolling and sliding produces friction and heat. The heavier operating loads common in today’s industrial settings increase metal-to-metal contact or boundary lubrication, producing even more heat and pressure. On top of that, to meet longer drain intervals for environmental and cost reasons, the fluid stays in the system longer. Therefore, fluid cleanliness and performance retention are critical.
High-viscosity gear oils generate heat from internal fluid friction and also may consume more power to turn the gears. The rate of oxidation in the fluid can increase, which decreases the fluid’s effectiveness and life. In addition, higher operating temperatures increase sludge and varnish formation, which can damage equipment by forming deposits that can block filters, oil passageways, and valves.
On the other hand, lower viscosity gear oils generate less heat and, thereby, lessen the chance of exceeding recommended operating temperatures or damaging equipment.
Gear oil viscosity is primarily chosen to provide a desired film thickness between interacting surfaces at a given speed and load. Because it is difficult to determine the load for most viscosity selection methods, the load is assumed, and the determining factor becomes speed.
One of the most common methods for determining viscosity is the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and AGMA (American Gear Manufacturers Association) standard ANSI/AGMA 9005-E02.
After selecting the viscosity grade, the basic type of lubricant must be chosen. The type of gear oil for any given application will be determined by the operating conditions.
Gear oils are generally placed into three categories:
Rust and oxidation inhibited (R&O) gear oils do not contain anti-scuff additives or lubricity agents. R&O gear oils generally perform well in chemical stability, demulsibility, corrosion prevention, and foam suppression. These gear oils were designed for use in gears operating under high speeds, low loads, and with uniform loading (no shock loading).
R&O gear oils are the best choice for applications where all surface contacts operate under hydrodynamic or elastohydrodynamic lubrication conditions. They do not perform well or prevent wear under boundary lubrication conditions.
Antiscuff or extreme pressure (EP) gear oils have some performance capabilities that exceed those for R&O oils. In addition to the properties listed for R&O gear oils, anti-scuff/EP gear oils contain special additives that enhance their film strength or load-carrying ability.
The most common EP additive is sulfur phosphorous, which is a chemically active compound that alters the chemistry of machine surfaces to prevent adhesive wear under boundary lubrication conditions.
Machine conditions that generally require anti-scuff/EP gear oils include heavy loads, slow speeds, and shock loading.
In addition to sulfur phosphorous and zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) anti-wear additives, several common solid materials are considered anti-scuff/EP additives, including molybdenum-disulfide (moly), graphite, and borates.
One benefit of these additives is they do not depend on temperature to become active, unlike sulfur phosphorous compounds which do not become active until a high surface temperature is achieved. Another potentially negative aspect of sulfur phosphorous EP additives is they can be corrosive to machine surfaces, especially at high temperatures.
This type of additive may also be corrosive to yellow metals and should not be used in applications with components made of these materials, such as worm gears.
The compounded oil is the third type of common gear oils. In general, a compounded gear oil is mixed with a synthetic fatty acid (sometimes referred to as fat) to increase its lubricity and film strength. The most common application for these gear lubricants is worm gear applications.
Because of sliding contact and the negative effects of EP agents, compounded lubricants are generally the best choice for these applications. Compounded oils are also referred to as cylinder oils because these lubricants were originally formulated for steam cylinder applications.
High-quality mineral base oils perform well in most applications. In fact, mineral base oils typically have higher pressure-viscosity coefficients than common synthetics, allowing for greater film thickness at given operating viscosities. There are, however, situations where synthetic base oils are preferable.
Many synthetic base oils have greater inherent resistance to oxidation and thermal degradation making them preferable for applications with high operating temperatures and, in some cases, allowing for extended service intervals. Additionally, synthetics perform better in machines subjected to low ambient temperatures due to their high viscosity index and low pour points.
The high viscosity index also makes synthetic products suitable for a wider range of ambient temperatures, eliminating the need for seasonal oil changes. Some synthetics may also offer greater lubricity which reduces friction in sliding contacts.
Our gear oils provide advanced wear protection under heavy loads and in extreme temperatures—all while
helping avoid downtime and premature wear to keep your equipment and jobs running smoothly.
Phillips 66 Keeping the world running smoothly
Our lubricants are engineered to perform at the highest levels over a wide variety of industries, applications, and conditions. We offer a wide range of turbine oils and engine oils, hydraulic fluids, gear oils and greases, and specialty lubricants. All of them are formulated to improve the performance and help extend the life of every machine and piece of equipment in your fleet. Phillips 66 has what you need to keep your job going while you get the job done.