Used practically since the birth of civilization and extended to various areas that today include industrial, automotive, technological, textile, food, biomedical, pharmaceutical and many other applications, lubricants they play a fundamental role.
Technically, these are substances that are interposed between two moving surfaces to form a protective film and thus reduce friction and wear between said surfaces.
The lubricants can be liquidoils) or solid (fats, powder, polytetrafluoroethylene tape, PTFE, used in plumbing, etc.) and typically contain 70-90% of a base oil (commonly petroleum fractions called mineral oils) and between 10 and 30% of additives. It is precisely these additives that fulfill the function of reducing friction and wear, as well as contributing with other properties, such as, among others, increasing viscosity and improving the viscosity index, resistance to corrosion and oxidation, the aging and pollution.
Large industrial production lines have a variety of equipment that require lubrication and operate in harsh dusty or wet environments. If machine designers were to meet equipment lubrication needs based strictly on a dynamic load requirement, they may need to specify a wide variety of lubricants to meet the many existing needs. Therefore, the added complexity to the system would surely increase costs and the risk of failure due to misapplication and cross-contamination.
To maximize lubricant effectiveness, reduce costs and minimize the risk of errors, lubricant manufacturers have formulated products that address a variety of applications. These lubricants cover both low and high speeds and loads and are marketed as a single product, capable of satisfying a multitude of requirements. The result is a general purpose lubricant or multipurpose lubricant.
Now what is a multipurpose lubricant?
It is a liquid or solid product that covers a wide range of requirements. It is made with a medium consistency, with a base oil of medium viscosity and with properties of medium resistance to oxidation and wear. In essence, it is a product designed to accommodate as many of the lubricated components involved in a given operation as possible.
The vast majority of multipurpose lubricants It covers, depending on its consistency, oils or fats, so we are going to detail them separately.
Multipurpose lubricating oils (liquids)
Generally, these products are called penetrating liquids and lubricants, and are intended to protect equipment and tools from deterioration caused by the penetration of water, humidity, condensation and corrosion. Being liquid, they have the advantage of being able to act even in places that are difficult to access.
The multipurpose lubricating oils They are marketed in several ways:
- in plastic containers with applicators (for example, trigger)
- in cans of variable capacity
- in drums of 200 liters or more
Depending on the manufacturer, most liquid multipurpose lubricants they fulfill at least five basic functions, although they can be more. Are basic functions are:
- dehumidifying: displace and remove moisture from electrical components.
- anticorrosive/antirust/antioxidant: penetrate through rust and prevent corrosion.
- Cleaner: They clean surfaces covered in grease, glues, adhesives, mold and residue.
- Penetrating: instantly penetrate and loosen rusted metal parts, restoring and improving their normal function. In addition, they eliminate and prevent annoying noise from chairs, windows, hardware and tools.
- Lubricant: They act on all types of surfaces to reduce friction.
The multipurpose spray oils and in small plastic containers They are composed of aliphatic and aromatic petroleum distillates, and a number of additives including: cleaners, degreasers, antioxidants, moisture displacers, and solvent blends. Aerosol cans also incorporate an environmentally friendly propellant gas.
They can be used on plastics and all metals including steel, copper, brass and aluminum alloys. The applications of these products cover a wide variety of elements, both in industry and in the home or workshop, such as stainless steel pumps, filters, valves, rollers, O-rings, chains, cables, bushings, pins, cams, gears and gearboxes, pulleys, switches, finished welds and machined surfaces, pneumatic tools, bearings, pinions, aluminum profiles, pipes, locks, hinges, fishing reels, conveyor belts, clocks, computers, general vehicles and many more .
In the following table we see an example of the benefits that the consumer can obtain from a multipurpose lubricating oil spray.
For more demanding industrial uses, the multipurpose oils in large containers, which are applied either by pouring or brushing. These uses include circulation systems, geared turbines, lightly loaded gearboxes and many other industrial applications.
Normally, multipurpose lubricating oils for industrial uses they are available in various viscosity grades, ranging from approximately IS0 32 to 460. They are formulated with high quality paraffinic base oils and selected additives to provide oxidation resistance, rust and corrosion protection, and wear protection. Additionally, they are inhibited to minimize sludge and varnish formation, resulting in long service life. They have excellent water repellency properties to minimize emulsion formation and are resistant to excessive foam build-up that can interfere with proper lubrication.
These liquid multipurpose lubricating oils for industrial use They are useful in heavy duty industrial gearboxes, rock and stone crushers and pulverizers, vibrating screen gearboxes, solids conveyors, cranes, paper cutter reducers, machining parts reducers, extruder gearboxes, fan and agitator reducers, pneumatic tools and other pneumatic equipment lubricated by compressed air in-line lubricators, centrifugal air compressors, sealed hydraulic pump casings, direct drive, steam and hydroelectric turbines, industrial gearboxes with spur gears, helical and double helical gears that do not require extreme pressure oils for gears, vacuum pumps, deep well water pumps and machine tools, among others. These products are also used in manual transmissions, differentials, and mixers in a wide range of equipment for construction, mining, freight, sawmills, weapons, agriculture, and high-end automobiles.
In a future article we will see in detail the multipurpose lubricating greases and how to make an appropriate choice when using them.