Lubrication Engineers (LE) South Africa is using a simple mechanical test tool called the ‘rat trap’ to demonstrate how two supposedly similar lubricants may behave differently under pressure.
“People often think a grease is a grease is a grease,” says Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at LE South Africa. “However, greases are used for such a wide range of applications that there are specialist products for specific uses. They differ massively in viscosity and their properties
“Equipment manufacturers will typically specify the NLGI grade required on their equipment,” says Callum. “If it specifies NLGI 002 and you’re using NLGI 3, you’re going to run into problems, because the grease penetration is different.”
Importantly, and this is where the rat trap comes in, even greases with the same NLGI rating will behave differently depending on the base and additives with which they are made.
“We use the rat trap to show clients how two lubricants with the same NLGI grade react differently to the same force or pressure over time,” Callum explains. “The rat trap is a simple brute force tool that snaps a spring-loaded clapper onto two metal plates. We apply one grease to the one plate of the apparatus (normally a competitor product) and then LE’s equivalent NLGI grease to the other. We then pull back the spring-loaded clapper. When we release it, it hits both plates with the same speed and force. We then compare how the two lubricants have reacted. We can snap the device several times to simulate what would happen over time or continuous use.”
LE’s greases use a proprietary additive called Almasol, which is a solid wear-reducing additive that is able to withstand extremely heavy loads, chemical attack and temperatures up to 1 038 degrees Celsius. It is attracted to metal surfaces, forming a microscopic layer, but not building on itself or affecting clearances. Almasol minimises metal-to-metal contact and the resulting friction, heat and wear.
With two different lubricants applied to the rat-trap, a grease without Almasol inevitably disperses from the joint where it’s been applied much quicker than one that contains this additive. “The non-Almasol grease loses its tackiness and heats up far more quickly,” says Callum. “Each of our unique, proprietary additives has been designed to yield specific benefits. This is a tangible way we can show our customers exactly the difference that Almasol can make in protecting their equipment.”
LE, Callum Ford, Tel: (011) 464-1735