Does The Squeaky Wheel Get The Grease?

Case Study written by: Gary Latham, Senior Technical Specialist,
Algoma Steel Inc.

Many incorrect assumptions exist with regards to greasing of bearings. It wasn’t until the Ultra-Lube concept that a whole new approach emerged to the age-old problem of over and under-greasing. The Ultra-Lube takes the guesswork out of greasing. By incorporating this new technology and following a few important guidelines, equipment breakdowns can be significantly reduced or eliminated. Heightened awareness on the importance of proper greasing procedures could be the simplest vehicle for creating a positive impact on your company’s bottom line! To maximize it’s effectiveness; consistent maintenance methods should be implemented as detailed below.


This is essential!! In many instances greasing is given a low priority to breakdowns and often performed by improperly trained or inexperienced technicians. To assume that anyone can instinctively grease equipment is a recipe for disaster. The primary concern of every supervisor should be to ensure that greasing is given top priority and carried out at the first indication of a problem. Greasing can be simple, but consistency can only be achieved through proper training. The introduction of the Ultra-Lube creates the opportunity to even "teach the old dogs new tricks". With this new tool, it is possible to catch every technician’s attention and not insult them when they are taught the basics required.


Prior to any greasing application, analyze the requirements:

1. Viscosity – Know the viscosity of each grease and the machine requirements

2. Grease base – Which greases are compatible with bearing requirements

3. Is heat a problem – Grease life is halved for every 15 degrees C over 70 deg. C

4. Question the grease supplied in new equipment – Standardize with existing equipment

5. Location of fittings – Center of pillow block for a W33 style bearing

6. Grease path – Does the housing design allow grease to even get to the bearing


To avoid unnecessary errors, all grease guns should be clearly marked as to the grease it contains – and personnel trained as to the proper use of each one. Likewise, all bearings should be tagged with the type of grease required.

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