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Why Is Viscosity Important For Industrial Lubricants?

Mar 27th 2020

It's no secret that metalworking fluids and industrial lubricants play a vital role in machining. A substantial flow of cutting fluids, about four to 20 liters per minute, helps to remove metal cuttings, keep machines cool, and protects against corrosion.

To keep industrial lubricants running efficiently to protect these industrial machines, it's important to make sure that the heavy duty lubricants you're using have the right viscosity. In fact, In the last three years, up to 70% of unplanned equipment shutdowns were caused by incorrect lubricant selection.

That being said, here are some of the key reasons why viscosity is so important to the maintenance and productivity of your machines.

How does viscosity impact machine function?

Viscosity is the measure of an industrial lubricant's resistance to flow. Typically, a lubricant's viscosity changes in different temperatures. Viscosity thins in higher temperatures and thickens with decreased temperatures. This is why lubricants are thinner in the summer months and thicker in winter.

The viscosity of your lubricant directly impacts the heat generation in gear, bearings, and cylinders. If the lubricant isn't working correctly, it can cause serious internal friction. This results in overheating and equipment breakdowns, which ultimately affects productivity and customer satisfaction.

How is a lubricant's viscosity measured?

Viscosity is measured by kinematic viscosity and reported in a unit known as centistoke (CST). To measure a lubricant's kinematic viscosity, the time it takes for a given volume of cutting fluid to flow through a capillary tube is measured. As mentioned above, a lubricant's viscosity may change depending on the temperature. But many lubricants are able to resist viscosity changes due to shifts in temperature.

Temperature resistance in regards to viscosity is referred to as a lubricant's viscosity index (VI). The higher a lubricant's viscosity index, the less the viscosity is impacted by high or low temperatures. Synthetic lubricants typically have higher viscosity indexes than mineral oils.

It's recommended to opt for lubricants that have a higher viscosity index, especially with summer right around the corner. Changes in viscosity due to outdoor temperatures can cause equipment to overheat because the lubricant isn't working properly.

Your lubricant oil distributor can help you choose the right industrial lubricants and industrial supplies for your machines and equipment. For more information on how to choose the right viscosity, contact Santie Oil Wholesale Company today.