US-based lubricant manufacturer Lubricant Engineers’ Pyroshield open gear lubricant, which is distributed locally by wear control specialist Filter Focus, reduces friction, vibration and noise levels.
“Higher vibration means higher friction, which results in higher electricity consumption. Increased vibration also makes equipment wear faster and reduces component life,” says Filter Focus COO Craig FitzGerald.
In South Africa, refineries are obligated to limit contamination in lubricants to 125 mg of dirt for every 1 000 kg of lubricant by weight. Contamination in any form is detrimental to the performance and component life of equipment.
Pyroshield is manufactured in a contamination-free environment, states Filter Focus.
FitzGerald says there is value in using Pyroshield, as the quality of the lubricant is directly proportional to its operational cost. “Lubrication Engineers is focused on developing the best quality lubrication available world-wide and product performance is the key driving factor, not price. The truth is that high-quality lubrication saves significant costs for companies”
“The local market has not been extremely receptive to using Pyroshield, but this is owing to a lack of knowledge and understanding of the quality versus the quantity of lubrication,” he notes. Pyroshield has, however, been successfully used by over 140 mining operations worldwide over the last decade.
FitzGerald mentions that companies still opt for cheaper lubricants, sold in bulk and, therefore, forfeit the quality and improved lubrication benefits that could make their equipment last longer and perform better.
He says another challenge is that many customers are bound by lubricant contracts and are skeptical of damaging the relationship they have already established with these companies, despite the inefficiency of the lubricants they use.
“Also, the pricing of lubricants becomes a challenge, which is unfortunate because these companies are losing a lot of money as a result of not implementing quality over quantity, as their equipment break down a lot sooner and downtime eats away company profits.”
Nevertheless, FitzGerald believes companies are increasingly starting to take notice of the benefits that improved lubrication qualities provide.
A well-known engineering and minerals processing company was having significant problems on a mill installed for a Zimbabwean customer, as the mill had regular gear failures, high vibration levels and regular tripping out owing to elevated gear operating temperatures.
“The client was looking for solutions to solve the problem and approached us for the trial use of Pyroshield. Since then, the mill has been performing flawlessly.
Filter Focus has previously also distributed Pyroshield open gear lubricant to platinum miner Lonmin’s Limpopo mine in 2008, where it was applied to the mine’s ball mill, reducing vibration by 15%.
“This also led to a 12% reduction in electricity consumption and a higher recovery rate of platinum group metals between 0.75% to 1%,” says FitzGerald.