01 May 2024

App Aims To Diagnose Grease Degradation

NSK IS DEVELOPING WHAT IT CLAIMS is a highly-accurate way of rapidly diagnosing the remaining life of lubricant grease.

The company will provide the solution as a mobile app, enabling users to analyse lubricant condition on-site in bearings and linear motion systems. The company says this capability will reduce the need for grease inspection and replenishment costs, and will help companies implement condition-based maintenance strategies.

The company is currently seeking customer input and feedback ahead of launching the new app.

Existing high-accuracy diagnosis methods of grease inspection rely on laboratory analysis, but this comes at a high cost, a lack of suitability for on-site use, and a long wait for results. Visual observation or densitometer methods are more common, but suffer from low accuracy. As a consequence, many companies replenish lubricant unnecessarily early to ensure stable operation, resulting in wasteful grease usage.

It was with these thoughts in mind that NSK decided to develop a far more convenient, cost-effective, fast, and accurate method of grease degradation diagnosis. Importantly, the new NSK app can analyse the level of lubricant degradation using just a small sample of grease. Chemical changes to the base oil and additives of the grease occur due to heat from operation and oxidation with the passage of time. These chemical changes cause the molecular structure of the lubricant to change and absorb more shortwavelength light, affecting its colour. Grease itself starts off white when new, turning yellow or orange with use and eventually becoming black, which indicates zero remaining life. The NSK app quantifies grease by its colour to calculate its remaining life.

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