Coating Systems: Tips for Choosing the Right Lubricant

Coating Systems and lubricant basics

Your choice of lubricant will be based on a number of considerations including surface material, performance requirements, environmental conditions and the coating system that is on your equipment or product.

Today’s state-of-the-art coating systems will make your products last, look good and perform to a high standard, but only if you are using the proper lubricants in your maintenance routines.  

Lubricant 101

A lubricant provides a film between solid surfaces on your equipment, reducing friction, heat and wear.  It also displaces moisture and protects against corrosion when your equipment is operating.

Depending upon the additives used, lubricants will vary in viscosity, which refers to the thickness and the ability to flow. The thinner the oil, the more easily and quickly it will disperse. You would use this in a situation where small metal particles need to be flushed out.

A lubricant that is thicker and heavier, such as grease, will remain in place and is usually used for equipment with intense workloads

Coating Systems: Tips for Choosing the Right Lubricant for the Job

So what’s the best product to use for each surface and condition? Here are some basic guidelines from Coating Systems, depending upon the surfaces you are lubricating.

Metal-on-Metal

Metal parts that are moving in direct contact with each other require an oil-based lubricant to ensure a friction-free environment. Oils create a uniform protection and will not easily break down under harsh working conditions.

Related Post: Molykote: The Lubricant Form for the Job

If a metal part has seized up, such as a frozen nut or bolt, you can apply a penetrant to get it moving. Penetrants have a very low viscosity and can seep into small areas to release the frozen part. If you need extra lubrication, grease can be applied.

The high viscosity of grease means it will stay in place, providing a protective coating in challenging environments. If the area you need to grease is hard to reach, there are spray products that can be used. Good places for this application are gears, sprockets, pulleys and hinges.

Metal-on-Plastic

The most appropriate lubricant to use when you have metal touching plastic is a silicone or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based product. PTFE is considered hydrophobic, which means that it has the ability to repel water. It is the best choice when your equipment is being used in damp or wet conditions and is typically used on rubber, metal, plastic and wood.

Plastic-on-Plastic

Silicone and PTFE lubricants are also the best choice for plastic on plastic lubrication. If you choose a silicone product, be advised that it tends to collect dust and dirt. The PTFE will provide a harder layer that is less likely to create this situation.

Related Post: Common FEP Uses: Cables

Metal-on-Rubber

The PTFE lubricant is your best choice for metal on rubber. Again, the hard, thin layer that it produces will best protect your equipment against a buildup of dust, dirt, and grime.

Do Your Research on the  Equipment’s Coating System and Lubrication Applications

Be sure to refer back to any maintenance or warranty information on the manufacturer’s recommendations for lubricants to reduce the risk of damage to your equipment.
Is your equipment in a moist, humid or wet environment? If so, it is susceptible to rust and extra wear and tear. There are rust removers that do not contain harsh chemicals that can be safely applied to remove rust from your equipment. Once it is clean, promptly apply the appropriate lubricant to ensure protection.

Remember the value of preventative care. It is much less costly and time-intensive to spend a little time properly maintaining your equipment than it is to have it be damaged, not function properly, or to have to spend the money to replace it.

For more detailed information on effective coating and lubrication – from spin coating to powder coating and more – contact Coating Systems today.