• It's Time to Add Grease Analysis to the Reliability Toolbox
    Grease Thief Kickstarter Package:
    A special offer good through the end of the year. For only $100, get a mini sampling kit with everything you need to take up to four grease samples and submit to MRG Labs for our streamlined Grease Analysis Screening Test.
    This offer only applies to new customers
    Grease Thief Kickstarter Includes
    Four Pillow Block sleeves
    Our most versatile sampling tool
    Instruction cards for all our sampling kits
    A thumbdrive with videos, procedures and
    helpful documents
    A data input sheet to accompany your
    returned samples
    Current Grease Thief Customers
    Follow the link below to get $100 off your next Grease Thief purchase
    $100 Off Coupon
    White Papers
    MRG is a leader in the development of sampling and analytical techniques for in-service lubricants, as well development of maintenance monitoring strategies. Click the links below to read the abstracts of our work.
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    Grease Sampling and Analysis for Wind Turbines and other Bearing and Gear Applications
    Grease Sampling and Analysis for Wind Turbines and other Bearing and Gear Applications
    Wurzbach, R., MRG Labs, York, PA Williams, L., MRG Labs, York, PA Bupp, E., MRG Labs, York, PA
    Summary
    Oil analysis is well established as a routine tool to optimize maintenance activities, improve reliability and equipment life and prevent component failures. As part of a comprehensive Condition Based Maintenance program, lubricant analysis is an effective complement to other diagnostic technologies such as vibration analysis, infrared thermography, ultrasonic detection and motor circuit evaluation. However, when the equipment is grease lubricated rather than oil lubricated, the important lubricant analysis piece is often left out of the mix. The reasons for this include challenges in obtaining samples that can be trended, as well as the large sample volumes required for most current standardized tests for greases. Unlike oil, grease does not typically flow uniformly or circulate in the machine, so particulate and contaminants are present in varying concentrations in the grease. When a grease sample is obtained, it cannot be simply agitated to suspend and distribute particulate, as is the case with oil. These fundamental differences present barriers to acceptance of grease analysis as a routine aspect of diagnostic monitoring programs.
    New tools have been developed for improved sampling techniques and grease analysis tests have been added to address concerns of sample trending as well as accommodating small sample sizes. These include rheometry of greases, for which DIN standards exist and ASTM standards are under development. Other new tests are emerging, including die extrusion, to efficiently prepare samples for analysis. Novel sampling aids are being introduced to permit consistent extraction of samples from locations that improve the representative nature of the sample.
    This paper will discuss how these new technologies can produce improvements in reliability and reductions in lubrication costs through condition-based greasing and trending of wear levels, with samples as small as 1 gram. Advantages of preparing substrates with a thin-film grease deposition are discussed for purposes of more streamlined and uniform sample preparation for subsequent analysis. A colorimetric method for evaluating characteristics of new greases, and chemometric methods for evaluating contaminant levels for in-service greases are also discussed. Wind turbines, motors, motor operated valve gearboxes, and robotic assembly examples will be given for these cost-benefits, and case studies will be shared that demonstrate the return on investment in routine grease sampling and used grease analysis technology.
    Establishing a Condition-Based Maintenance Program for Buildings and Facilities
    Establishing a Condition-Based Maintenance Program for Buildings and Facilities
    Richard N. Wurzbach Donna Phillips
    Ken Gilliam
    Summary
    The facility of interest in this report is a focal point for medical research in the United States. On the main campus, thousands of doctors, researchers, and scientists work in over 60 buildings to advance the state of medical knowledge and research.
    The maintenance program at the facility includes comprehensive operation and maintenance support for the care of all campus buildings. This includes routine and emergency maintenance on electrical, mechanical, structural including utilities and a vast distribution system for steam, chilled water and compressed air from a main plant on campus. Critical environments include Bio-hazard Level 3 and 4 facilities, animal facilities, and patient care units. Over the last 6 years, maintenance strategies have been updated to include diagnostic technologies and expertise to transition from a reactive maintenance environment to a strategic Condition-Based Maintenance (CBM) program.
    Efforts to date include vibration analysis, infrared thermography, lubricant analysis, motor circuit analysis, ultrasonic leak detection, and electrical testing. Training has also been a significant aspect of the program, providing level-of-awareness classes for the diagnostic technologies and maintenance strategies, and targeted pro-active maintenance workshops in the use of maintenance tools such as laser alignment and steam trap leak detection.
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    Methods for Trending Wear Levels in Grease Lubricated Equipment
    Methods for Trending Wear Levels in Grease Lubricated Equipment
    Richard N. Wurzbach Lisa A. Williams
    William Doherty
    Summary
    Oil analysis is well established as a routine tool to optimize maintenance activities, improve reliability and equipment life and prevent component failures. As part of a comprehensive Predictive or Condition Based Maintenance program, lubricant analysis is an effective complement to other diagnostic technologies such as vibration analysis, infrared thermography, ultrasonic detection and motor circuit evaluation. However, when the equipment is grease lubricated rather than oil lubricated, the important lubricant analysis piece is usually left out of the mix. However, new tools have been developed for improved sampling techniques and grease analysis tests to allow the inclusion of lubricant analysis for grease lubricated equipment. This paper will discuss the challenges and options to obtain representative and consistent grease samples from motors, motor operated valves, and other critical equipment, and the use of a hall-effect sensor device for reliably and repeatably determining changes in wear levels for samples of grease as small as 1 gram.
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    New Techniques in Grease Sampling and Analysis to Complement CBM Programs
    New Techniques in Grease Sampling and Analysis to Complement Condition Based Maintenance Programs
    Wurzbach, R., MRG Labs, York, PA Williams, L., MRG Labs, York, PA Bupp, E., MRG Labs, York, PA
    Summary
    Oil analysis is well established as a routine tool to optimize maintenance activities, improve reliability and equipment life and prevent component failures. As part of a comprehensive Condition Based Maintenance program, lubricant analysis is an effective complement to other diagnostic technologies such as vibration analysis, infrared thermography, ultrasonic detection and motor circuit evaluation. However, when the equipment is grease lubricated rather than oil lubricated, the important lubricant analysis piece is often left out of the mix. The reasons for this include challenges in obtaining samples that can be trended, as well as the large sample volumes required for most current standardized tests for greases. Unlike oil, grease does not typically flow uniformly or circulate in the machine, so particulate and contaminants are present in varying concentrations in the grease. When a grease sample is obtained, it cannot be simply agitated to suspend and distribute particulate, as is the case with oil. These fundamental differences present barriers to acceptance of grease analysis as a routine aspect of diagnostic monitoring programs.
    New tools have been developed for improved sampling techniques and grease analysis tests have been added to address concerns of sample trending as well as accommodating small sample sizes. These include rheometry, or the flow characteristics of greases. Other new tests are emerging, including die extrusion, to efficiently prepare samples for analysis. Novel sampling aids have been introduced to permit consistent extraction of samples from locations that improve the representative nature of the sample, some of which have been incorporated into ASTM standards. Infrared thermographic monitoring of the flows of greases has provided insight into in-situ grease flow behavior, and has validated these sampling methods and improved understanding of good practices to obtain representative samples.
    This paper details infrared studies of grease flow and the use of this information to ensure good sampling practice. Application of this understanding illustrates how new sampling and analysis technologies can produce improvements in reliability and reductions in lubrication costs through condition-based greasing and trending of wear levels, with samples as small as 1 gram. Advantages of preparing substrates with a thin-film grease deposition are discussed for purposes of more streamlined and uniform sample preparation for subsequent analysis. A colorimetric method for evaluating characteristics of new greases, and chemometric methods for evaluating contaminant levels for in-service greases are also discussed. Wind turbines, motors, motor operated valve gearboxes, and robotic assembly examples are given for these cost-benefits, and case studies are shared that demonstrate the return on investment in routine grease sampling and used grease analysis technology.
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    The Basics of Lubricating Grease and In-Use Testing
    The Basics of Lubricating Grease and In-Use Testing
    Amy Rishell John Sander
    Summary
    Lubricants are applied to moving equipment for several reasons, including friction reduction, heat removal, corrosion prevention and contaminant removal. The most commonly understood reason lubricants are employed is to reduce friction, thereby minimizing wear between moving parts.
    The three major categories of lubricants are fluids, semisolids and solids. In most cases, fluid lubricants are the most efficient, as they have the best flow properties. This strength can also be a fluid lubricant’s weakness. In some types of moving equipment, it is impossible to contain the lubricant. In other words, it can easily leak out.
    A lubricant cannot perform when it will not stay in the area where it is needed. In these cases, a solid lubricant that can be applied to a surface and not flow would be advantageous. Unfortunately, this creates a new performance challenge. In some cases, solid lubricants can be easily scraped away from moving surfaces. In such cases, a lubricant that possesses properties somewhere between a solid and liquid is needed. This semi-solid lubricant is called grease.
    While many end users have just chosen to put lubricant into the equipment and let it run, many have learned that analysis of lubricants while in-service can provide useful information about the condition of the lubricant and the equipment in which it is installed. This condition monitoring of used fluid samples has been performed for many years and has become very mainstream. Due to the nature of solid lubricants, sampling and analysis often provides little to no sample and is often found to be of little use. Semisolid grease sample testing is, however, becoming more and more common, due to new sampling and testing procedures being developed within the industry. At this pint, more useful information can be gained from in-service sampling of greases than of solid lubricants, but not quite as much as can be gained from fluids.
    It is the goal of this paper to provide background and insight on grease and grease testing to help end users who are seeking to improve their lubrication reliability program through condition monitoring.
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