Sufficient lubricant is necessary for a machine to work properly. A film of lubricant protects surfaces from direct contact with each other. If a machine lacks lubricant, the surfaces can touch each other, producing fiction, heat, and potential machinery failure. The machine can fail under lubricant starvation when surfaces under friction and extreme heat weld themselves together, then break apart as the machine continues working, spreading the debris through the machine and causing damage.
Changes in workload, temperature, and moisture can lead to lubricant starvation. If any of these changes occur around a machine, the machine should be monitored frequently for the following indicators: unusual odors, smoke from the machinery, and heat. Before heat, the first indicator of lubricant starvation, is produced, vibration analysis is the only way to detect lubrication starvation. Awareness of the machine and its environment along with regular monitoring can prevent lubricant starvation and damage to expensive machinery.
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Signs of Lubricant Starvation