Industrial

Tribology is found in almost all industrial applications from 360 tonne trucks carrying 500 tonnes of mining waste, to small dexterous robots picking and placing microchips. Understanding this tribology is vital for keeping industry moving.

From wind turbines to milling machines and from assembly robots to mining dump trucks, there are countless varied applications for tribological knowledge in industrial sectors. Tribology research has been used to make processes and machines in these fields more reliable, efficient and profitable.

In heavy industry applications the forces on components such as bearings, gears and shafts can be huge. Therefore, making sure a good lubricating film can be maintained is integral to keeping heavy machinery running. PCS’ range of instruments, particularly the ETM and MPR are often used to study these applications and inform the design of everything from components through to the lubricant itself. The ETM is used for its ability to reach the high pressures seen in the applications and the MPR for its speed of testing, taking minimal time to reach high numbers of contact cycles. Together these instruments can help inform decisions and keep industry moving smoothly.

In lighter industrial applications, the forces seen are often much smaller but the importance of a good lubricating film is not diminished. Often moving at high speed or with tighter tolerances, the design of components and lubricants in these sectors is crucial in keeping machines moving as expected. Instruments such as the MTM and EHD are often used for these applications. Together they, and the other instruments from PCS, can be used to get a clear picture of how parts and lubricants will work together and how to design systems that are both efiicient and reliable.

Industrial research areas include:

  • Metal working fluids
  • Extreme pressure additives for high load mining applications
  • Anti-corrosion additives for offshore wind turbines
  • Viscosity index improvers for machine operation in extreme conditions
  • Lubricants for high speed robotics applications

Industrial Industry includes the following:

Agriculture

Agriculture

Agricultural vehicles must deal with high-stress forces and, be very reliable to prevent down time. One way this reliability is improved is through optimisation of tribological contacts.

Hydraulics

Hydraulics

From the development of high efficiency environmentally friendly hydraulic fluids to more efficient hydraulic pumps, tribology is an intrinsic part of the hydraulics industry.

Machinery

Machinery

The requirements on machinery components are as varied as the jobs performed by the machines. Every one of them will need lubricating, and choosing the right lubricant comes down to knowing the tribology of the contacts involved.

Mining

Mining

With high loads, harsh and dirty environments and huge costs associated with downtime, mining vehicles have to be reliable even in adverse conditions. Tribology helps ensure this is the case.

Seals

Seals

Seals are found in countless products over a multitude of industries. How they interact with moving parts is an area of tribology work that is constantly developing.

Wind Turbines

Wind Turbines

Wind power remains one of the most rapidly growing renewable power sources, so tribological problems found in the gearbox, bearings and generator are the focus of significant research.

Instruments for the Industrial Industry

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Industrial Industry Articles & Papers

Paper

Rheological and Wetting Properties of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) for Application in Stern Tube Seals

The use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) for stern tube lubrication is increasing. Although the machine components of a sailing …

The use of Environmentally Acceptable Lubricants (EALs) for stern tube lubrication is increasing. Although the machine components of a sailing vessel are designed to operate together with mineral oil-based lubricants, these are being replaced by the less environmentally harmful EALs. Little is known about the rheological performance of EALs in particular at the high shear rates that occur in stern tube seals. In this study, the viscosity and wetting properties of a set of different EALs is analysed and compared to traditional mineral oil-based lubricants using a set of experimental techniques. Some of the EALs present Newtonian behavior whereas other show shear thinning. No significant difference in surface tension was observed between the different lubricants.

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Paper

In-situ Observations of the Effect of the ZDDP Tribofilm Growth on Micropitting

The ongoing trend for using ever lower viscosities of lubricating oils, with the aim of improving the efficiency of mechanical …

The ongoing trend for using ever lower viscosities of lubricating oils, with the aim of improving the efficiency of mechanical systems, means that machine components are required to operate for longer periods under thin film, mixed lubrication conditions where the risk of surface damage is increased. For this reason, the role of zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) antiwear lubricant additive has become increasingly important in order to provide adequate surface protection. It is known that due to its exceptional effectiveness in reducing surface wear, ZDDP may promote micropitting by preventing adequate running-in of the contacting surfaces. However, the relationship between ZDDP tribofilm growth rate and the evolution of micropitting has not been directly demonstrated. To address this, we report the development of a novel technique using MTM-SLIM to obtain micropitting and observe ZDDP tribofilm growth in parallel throughout a test. This is then applied to investigate the effect of ZDDP concentration and type on micropitting. It is found that oils with higher ZDDP concentrations produce more micropitting but less surface wear and that, at a given concentration, a mixed primary-secondary ZDDP results in more severe micropitting than a primary ZDDP. Too rapid formation of a thick antiwear tribofilm early in the test serves to prevent adequate running-in of sliding parts, which subsequently leads to higher asperity stresses and more asperity stress cycles and consequently more micropitting. Therefore, any adverse effects of ZDDP on micropitting and surface fatigue in general are mechanical in nature and can be accounted for through ZDDP's influence on running-in and resulting asperity stress history. The observed correlation between antiwear film formation rate and micropitting should help in the design of oil formulations that extend component lifetime by controlling both wear and micropitting damage.

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