A system that continually supplies a regulated amount of lubricant (either grease or oil) to several areas on a machine while running is referred to as an Automatic Lubrication System (ALS), also known as a centralized lubrication system. This method is more exact and eliminates the cycle of over-lubricating and under-lubricating bearings, which leads to bearing failure.
In this article, you will discover the definition of an automated or centralized lubrication system, its functions, diagram, component kinds, modes of operation, advantages, and drawbacks.
What is meant by the term “automatic lubrication system”?
An Automatic Lubrication System distributes precisely measured amounts of lubricant to various locations on the machine (ALS) while a machine is in operation. Even though it is generally entirely automated, a system is still considered a centralized lubrication system if it has a pump or button that needs to be operated manually. The system may be broken down into two categories, each containing many of the same parts and pieces.
Automated lubrication systems that can be controlled from a central location are effective machines to increase the availability of machines while also reducing their need for human labor. These systems ensure that the appropriate quantity of lubricant is applied appropriately, reducing friction and wear on bearings and machines and increasing their useful lives.
Automatic lubrication system, meant to lubricate individual machines or entire plants, supply proper and exact lubricant replenishment to all vital areas, enabling several benefits. These systems are designed to lubricate individual machines or entire plants.
Whether the machinery is stationary, such as in a manufacturing facility, or mobile, such as trucks, mining, or construction equipment, the most effective method of lubricant application is often to apply it in measured amounts of tiny amounts spread out over short intervals of time frequently. However, this kind of lubrication is usually impracticable because of time and human resource limits, as well as the geographical location or type of equipment involved. Because of this, the intervals at which machinery is greased are defined by production cycles, machine availability, and labor availability, which is not ideal for the point that requires lubrication. The solution to this problem is installing centralized lubrication systems on machinery.
Examples of when an autonomous lubrication system may be useful
The following is a list of the applications that can benefit from automated or centralized lubrication systems:
- Manufacturing equipment
- On-road and Off-road Vehicles
- Equipment used in the building industry, agriculture, and forestry
- Applications in the food and beverage, mining, cement, steel, and railroad industries
- Food and beverage applications
- Steel sector
- Pulp and paper
- Wind energy and more
The following is a list of the most important parts that make up an automatic lubrication system:
- Controller or stopwatch: It activates the system responsible for lubrication delivery and can be connected to a point-of-sale system.
- Pump with reservoir: A pump with a reservoir is used to store the lubricant and distribute it throughout the system.
- Injectors and metering valves: This component ensures that the appropriate amount of lubricant is delivered to the appropriate locations.
- Supply lines: this part of the system uses a pipeline to link the pump to the metering valves or injectors. It is through these valves or injectors that the lubricant is poured into the system.
- Feed lines: A feed line is a pipe that connects metering valves or injectors to application locations. Feed lines are sometimes referred to as supply lines.
A schematic representation of a centralized lubrication system is as follows:
A variety of automated lubrication systems are available.
The following is a list of the many different kinds of automatic lubrication systems:
Single line parallel:
A single-line parallel system can service a single machine, various zones on a single machine, or even several machines independent of one another when the volume of a lubricant varies from one spot to the next. Within this architecture, a centralized pump station is responsible for the automated distribution of lubricant to several injector branches connected to a single supply line. Each injector is assigned to a specific lubrication site, functions autonomously, and may be customized to deliver the necessary lubricant.
- It is simple to design.
- It is simple and cost-effective to install.
- It includes injectors that can be adjusted on an individual basis.
- It has a dependable design.
- It is possible that it is not appropriate for use with heavy lubricants, low temperatures, and long supply line lengths between pumps and injectors.
Dual-line parallel system:
A dual-line parallel system is analogous to a system that only contains a single parallel line because it consists of two parallel lines. For it to function properly, it uses hydraulic pressure to cycle moveable valves, which then distribute measured injections of lubricant. It comes with two major supply lines that may be used for pressure or venting, depending on the situation. A two-line system can handle hundreds of lubrication sites from a distance of several thousand feet while utilizing considerably smaller tubing or pipe than a single-line system. This is made possible by the system’s ability to manage multiple lines.
- It can accept extended supply line lengths between the pump and the metering devices.
- It can readily handle particularly dense (heavy) greases.
- It may not be the most cost-effective option for smaller systems;
- It also requires using two supply lines (another cost).
Single-Line Progressive System:
In a single-line progressive system, the individual metering valves and valve assemblies are cycled by utilizing the flow of lubricant. Dispensing pistons are designed to reciprocate in a predetermined bore to control the valves. Each subsequent piston depends on the flow from the one that came before it to move and replace the lubricant. If even one of the pistons does not move, then none of the others will move either. The valve does not have an adjustment for its output. The operation will commence as soon as the controller or timer delivers a signal to the pump instructing it to initiate the lubrication event.
The piston cycle switch will then monitor how much time has passed since the last time the pump pumped lubricant into the supply line, which is connected to the primary metering valve. This may be a certain period, or it could be a specific number of times. Lubricant is delivered to each lubrication point one at a time via feed lines and secondary progressive metering valves specifically designed for each series of lubrication points.
- It allows for a diverse selection of control and monitoring options for the system.
- Monitoring a single location allows it to determine if there is a blockage.
- Large systems may require more complicated plumbing and tubing runs.
- A single blockage might render the entire system inoperable.
This is another fundamental technique that enables reduced oil use and bearing functioning at a cool temperature. Mist is produced in the pipe by heat and air currents, carried to the lubricating point by low-pressure air blown through the pipe. After that, it is reduced to the appropriate droplet size before sending it to the bearing. Closed-loop systems are safer for the environment than open-loop systems since the mist is recycled back into the generator.
Positive pressure helps keep impurities out of bearings, while low pressure helps decrease pipe material prices. Lubricates and cools bearings. Low pressure helps keep pipe material costs down.
- Environmental and health problems of “stray mist,” particularly with open-loop systems
- It handles oil exclusively • It is very sensitive to flow, viscosity, and pressure factors.
- It has an additional pipe expense for closed-loop systems.
When the pump’s controller or an external controller engages the drive motor, a series of cams will spin and engage distinct injectors and dr pump sections so that a predetermined quantity of lubricant will be dispensed to each lubrication point. This is what is known as multi-port direct lubrication. Systems are easy to put up, have a pump that can go directly to the lubrication point without needing extra attachments, and are straightforward to diagnose when there is a problem.
Principle of Operation
The operation of an automated lubrication system is not nearly as complicated and can be comprehended with relative ease. Even though the operation is different depending on the kind, the workings of a single-line parallel automated lubrication system are covered in this article.
The operation will commence as soon as the controller or timer delivers a signal to the pump instructing it to begin the lubrication cycle. The pump starts pumping lubricant to raise the pressure in the supply line connected to the injectors from the pump. Once the necessary pressure has been established, the lube injectors will distribute a certain amount of lubricant through the feed lines to the spots where the lubrication occurs. When the system achieves the requisite pressure, a pressure switch will send a signal to the controller to indicate that grease has been circulated through all distribution points. It has been decided to switch off the pump. After the pressure in the system has been reduced to its usual level, the grease in the line will be sent back to the pump reservoir. This process will continue until the pressure in the system has returned to its normal level.
Have a look at the video that follows to have a better understanding of how a centralized or autonomous lubrication system operates:
For a dual-line parallel system, The process will commence as soon as the controller or timer sends a signal to the pump instructing the pump to begin the lubricating cycle/. The pump starts pumping lubricant to generate pressure in the first (pressure) supply line while simultaneously venting the second (vent) return line. This process continues until the desired pressure is reached. As soon as the necessary pressure is reached, the metering devices distribute a predetermined quantity of lubricant through the feed lines to fifty percent of the lubrication areas.
The benefits of using an automatic lubrication system
The following are some of the advantages an automatic lubrication system offers in the many applications it may be used for.
- All significant parts and pieces are oiled, regardless of their location or ability to reach.
- The lubrication process takes place while the machine is operating, which ensures that the oil is distributed uniformly throughout the bearing and boosts the availability of the machine.
- The proper lubrication of the machine’s most important parts guarantees the device will operate without incident.
- There is a reduction in component wear, resulting in longer component life, fewer breakdowns, less downtime, reduced replacement charges, and lower maintenance costs.
- Because the exact quantity of lubricant is given, no lubricant is thrown away.
- The level of safety is increased since there is no need to crawl over machinery or reach areas that are difficult to reach (gases, exhaust, restricted spaces, etc.).
- The reduced friction results in a lower overall energy need.
- It raises total productivity by enhancing the availability of the equipment and lowering the amount of downtime that occurs due to failures or normal maintenance.
An automated lubrication system is built to provide a certain quantity of lubricant to a given application. It is also known as a centralized lubrication system, which continually supplies a regulated amount of lubricant (either grease or oil) to various areas of a machine while running. The lubricant might be either grease or oil. The definition, functions, diagram, components, kinds, working, benefits, and disadvantages of automated lubrication systems (ALS) have been examined in this article, and this marks the end of the discussion of those topics.
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