Lubrication is a fundamental aspect of machinery maintenance, ensuring that the suitable lubricant is applied in the correct quantity and at the appropriate intervals.

Unfortunately, it's not as straightforward as it may seem. Lubrication-related issues are estimated to cause 60 to 90 percent of all bearing failures. Such failures can lead to unplanned downtime, impacting production and resulting in costly repairs and replacements. This blog will explore the importance of effective lubrication practices and how ultrasound technology can be a game-changer in improving reliability and reducing downtime.


Unlocking Lubrication Success

Bearing failures are a significant headache for maintenance professionals, with lubrication being the primary culprit. Many have relied on preventive, time-based lubrication, where bearings are greased at predefined intervals, often resulting in a guessing game. While under-lubrication can be disastrous, leading to equipment failure and unplanned downtime, over-lubrication is a significant risk. Overlubricating bearings not only wastes resources but can also cause overheating and premature failure.

When combined with best practices such as removing old grease and replacing it with new, ultrasound technology offers a solution to this conundrum. It enables technicians to blend standard time-based maintenance with condition-based predictive maintenance, providing a clearer insight into machinery conditions and improving reliability.


Condition Monitoring and Ultrasound

Condition monitoring of electrical components has relied on infrared cameras, while vibration analysis has been the go-to method for monitoring rotating equipment. Combining many technologies for various inspections is recommended for a comprehensive predictive maintenance program. Like how a physician uses different tools for diagnosis, maintenance professionals should adopt a similar approach for machinery.



Ultrasound can complement other predictive maintenance technologies, providing insights into mechanical and electrical conditions. It creates an "image" that technicians can analyze to diagnose and confirm issues. This approach reduces subjectivity and enhances the reliability of maintenance practices.


How Ultrasound Enhances Lubrication Practices 

lubrication using ultrasoundGreasing using ultrasound (Source: Noria)

Ultrasound technology can remove much of the guesswork from lubrication. It allows technicians to assess each bearing, like a medical ultrasound detecting specific health issues. Ultrasound helps by establishing baseline decibel levels and sound samples for comparison. When a bearing's amplitude surpasses 8 dB without a difference in sound quality compared to the baseline, the bearing needs to be lubricated. This approach prevents both under-lubrication and over-lubrication.

Many organizations adopt a two-stage approach to condition-based lubrication. A reliability inspector uses a sophisticated ultrasound instrument to check and trend bearings, generating a report of bearings needing lubrication. A lube technician employs a specialized ultrasound instrument that signals when to stop adding grease, preventing over-lubrication.

This approach also allows technicians to record when equipment was last greased and how much grease was applied. This data can guide adjustments to the lubrication schedule, leading to cost savings using less lubricant if deemed enough.

Ultrasound technology is not limited to addressing lubrication issues; it is also proficient in identifying other potential bearing failure conditions, such as unusual grinding sounds or changes in amplitude.


Embracing the Future of Maintenance 

In conclusion, ultrasound technology emerges as a powerful tool to revolutionize lubrication practices and enhance the reliability of machinery. By embracing ultrasound-assisted lubrication, organizations can make significant strides in minimizing downtime, prolonging the life of their equipment, and optimizing their bottom line. Whether you're embarking on your journey to reliability or seeking to elevate an established program, ultrasound is a versatile and dependable solution that demands your attention.

But the journey doesn't end here. If you're ready to take the next step in your machinery diagnostics program, look no further than CRE Philippines. With our cutting-edge MachineDiagnostics™ program, you'll gain the confidence and support to start your journey through oil analysis. We provide comprehensive help every step of the way, including a Machine Wear Analysis Basic Seminar to ensure your team is well-versed in lubrication best practices. Our dedicated support team is always ready to address your concerns and provide in-depth explanations and actionable recommendations based on our reports. Plus, you'll have direct access to the wisdom of our capable and certified Lube Analysts and Machinery Lubrication Consultants whenever you need it.

Furthermore, we offer Airborne Ultrasound Training if you want to expand your knowledge and skills in ultrasound technology. Our Ultrasound Inspection I course is a Level I program designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the principles and applications of ultrasound inspection. The course includes instruction, hands-on fieldwork, and a final exam leading to Level I Airborne Structure Borne Ultrasound certification, aligned with ISO and ASTM standards. The certification test takes place on the fifth day, ensuring you're well-prepared to apply this valuable technology in your maintenance program.

To learn more about our services or to contact us for further information, feel free to reach out via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. CRE Philippines is your trusted partner in elevating maintenance and reliability practices with cutting-edge solutions. Start your journey towards enhanced machinery reliability today.



Messer, A. (2015, February). Using Ultrasound to Improve Lubrication Practices. Machinery Lubrication.

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