Oils and lubricants are among the most common substances that can be found in any workshop or garage. Knowing and understanding the different types available and, more importantly, which is right for your applications is key to getting the job done right.
Keep reading to find out what the different types of oils and lubricants are, and how to use them in your workplace.
What is the purpose of oils and lubricants?
The oils and lubricants for industrial use that you’ll find in workshops and garages are usually petroleum-based and are used for minimising friction between moving engine or component parts. This extends the longevity and durability of the equipment we use.
Oil provides lubrication to the many moving parts of an engine, minimising friction to avoid damage and keep your engine running smoothly.
Types of oils and lubricants
- Motor oil is a lubricant used in internal combustion engines, which power cars, motorcycles, lawnmowers, engine generators and many other machines.
- Cutting oil is used primarily on chainsaws and other mechanical tools and lubricates the chain while protecting it from premature or excessive wear.
- Wood oil limits dryness and protects against moisture, which makes it ideal for use on hardwood floors and woodwork in a workshop.
Lubricants also reduce the friction between two adjacent moving parts. Beyond friction reduction, lubricants can also provide heat protection.
The heat created by friction is absorbed and transferred by the flowing lubricant. Lubricants can also be used to create a seal between a machine’s internal components and the external environment to prevent any contamination from occurring. Different types of lubricants include:
- Silicone lubricant protects metals from rust and plastics from drying out. It does not attract residue, dust or debris.
- Graphite lubricant has a very high penetration rate and is great for helping to loosen assembly parts such as bolts and screws.
- Teflon lubricant protects against moisture and rust, softens rubber and can be used universally from bicycle chains to unscrewing a tough fitting.
How to choose the best lubricant or oil for the job
While all production facilities depend on lubricants to continue operating, remember that not all lubricants are created equal. Choosing the wrong type can lead to faults and breakdowns within your machines, which can have a snowball effect and be very expensive to fix.
When choosing the best type of lubricant or oil for your application, consider these factors:
- What does the lubricant do? – you should choose lubricants and oils that are clearly labelled to indicate how they are designed to perform and under what circumstances.
- Ease of use – the method of application will depend on what the lubricant or oil will be used for. For maintenance and small mechanical tasks an aerosol is very convenient, and for larger mechanisms an automatic dispenser may be the best choice.
- Cost – all oils and lubricants have an optimal lifespan, and once the end date passes they need to be replaced. If you have a machine that requires lubrication all the time, you should consider its price and how cost-effective that type will be effective in the long run.