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Best Practices for Using Grease for Bearing Lubrication


The best way to reduce your need for electric motor service is to protect the bearings of your electric motors, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure that the bearings for that motor are always adequately lubricated. Most electric motor bearings use grease for lubrication (although some use lubricating oil). But there are a few things you need to know about using grease for the bearing lubrication process.

Use the Correct Grease

When it comes to using grease for lubrication, one size does not fit all. Always use the grease recommended by the manufacturer of the electric motor.

Another problem is that there are many different grease formulas out there that are used by various types of equipment and some of them are not compatible with other grease formulas. For example, some electric motors use polyurea-based grease because it performs well at high speeds and high temperatures, but polyurea-based grease is incompatible with most of the other common grease formulas in use in industrial environments.

Know the Factors That Impact Grease Lubrication Intervals

Following the electric motor manufacturer’s recommendations isn’t always good enough when it comes to determining how often you should be applying grease to the bearings. Here are other factors that should be taken into consideration when determining how often you need to reapply grease:

  • Bearing Size – The bigger the bearing, the more grease that will be needed.
  • Bearing Type
    Environment – Wet, dirty operating environments tend to break down lubricants faster.
  • Hours – Electric motors that are running continuously will require re-lubrication more often than those that run intermittently.
  • Speed – Motors that run at higher RPM break down grease much faster than low RPM electric motors.
  • Temperature – Higher operating temperatures breakdown grease far faster.

Avoid Cross-Contamination of Grease

Different grease formulas also use different types of thickeners which is often the source of the incompatibility of the greases, so if you accidentally apply the wrong grease, it is almost impossible to remove or wipe away all of the existing grease. And using the wrong grease changes the whole lubrication process of the bearings, so much so that it may even cause damage to them if not addressed properly. The easiest way to avoid this problem is to never let it happen in the first place. Clearly label which greases are for which specific equipment and this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Lubricate the Motor Bearings on Scheduled, Regular Intervals

One of the most common causes of bearing damage in electric motors is failing to lubricate the bearings often enough, or not using enough lubricant when the bearings are being lubricated. However, did you know that over lubricating the bearings can also damage them by degrading the insulation surrounding the winding? So, it is best to follow a scheduled lubrication schedule as recommended by the manufacturer of the electric motor.

Engage an Electric Motor Preventive Maintenance Company

Probably the easiest way of managing the lubrication of all of your electric motor bearings is to hire an electric motor preventive maintenance company to handle everything. This takes the hassle of tracking lubrication schedules and grease compatibility out of your hands and into theirs saving you considerable time and (possibly) money.

Tekwell Services has been providing preventive maintenance services for electrical motors for well over 20 years now. Give us a call (toll-free) at 1-888-984-4668 or fill out our quick solution form to reach out to one of our preventive electrical motor service experts today.