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Automatic lubrication slashes oil consumption

01 June, 2005

Automatic lubrication slashes oil consumption

SKF has developed a technology for lubricating the bearings of machine tool spindles automatically. Special sensors that detect the presence of oil, ensure that the bearings are supplied continuously with minimal quantities of lubricant, thus cutting consumption and costs. Other benefits are claimed to include improved reliability, better machining performance, and higher productivity.

The lubrication system, developed by SKF`s Willy Vogel subsidiary which it bought last year, is mounted next to the spindle, with lubrication lines going directly to the bearings.

An air current in a narrow tube pulls each drop of oil apart into streaks which are transported to the lubrication point. The control system delivers the right amount of lubricant, depending on the type of lubricant, and on the type, size and operating speed of the bearing. The system is said to use much less oil than oil-mist lubrication systems.

Special sensors at the end of the lubrication lines, before the bearing`s oil inlet, monitor the whole line. If the sensor detects that there is no oil, the spindle is shut down automatically, and an alarm is raised.

A sealing air system protects the bearings from external contamination.

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