The labour time spent on greasing bushings can be substantial.
Although some greasing globally is automated, much re-lubrication is performed by hand using a grease gun. This means that the time spent greasing one grease point totals between three and five minutes for the staff member involved, be they a lube technician, a maintenance engineer or the equipment operator.
This may not seem like a large amount of time, but consider that the average machine might have 20 grease points, with a typical excavator with a 1.4t bucket having 18 greasing points, a typical 213HP fly-wheel grader having 25 points, a typical 31t truck having 22 points, and a typical 7,7t bucket loader having 20 points. The time spent on greasing adds up quickly to between an hour to over an hour and a half for greasing one machine.
Still not convinced that greasing is time consuming? Consider that, while some grease points need to be greased weekly or monthly, some grease points might have to be greased once a day, seven days a week. For equipment requiring high-frequency greasing, the time commitment for lubrication could add up to seven to ten and a half hours a week.
In addition, depending on the size of the plant or the size of the fleet, total numbers of grease points may increase dramatically, adding to an already substantial lubrication labour burden.
With maintenance requirements already considerable, Vesconite Bearings technical consultant Eddie Swanepoel suggests switching to maintenance-free, oil-free, dry-running, corrosion-resistant polymer bushings, also known as plain bearings.
The time spent greasing could be more profitably used elsewhere, he argues.