The following are things are aspects that can be used to define an application. The more accurate information that is available, the better the odds are of providing a working solution.
Not only is it important to know the highest and lowest expected or design required temperatures, the normal operating temperature is important for estimating the service life of possible lubrication solutions.
Residence Time and Life
The demands of lubrication for life applications are more challenging than applications where re-lubrication is possible. Applications with temperatures that exceed the limits of a lubricant can be used if the residence time in the application is brief enough to satisfy the demands of that application. It is generally preferable to use a lubricant that has a much longer life, even if it is more expensive, to reduce the total cost, risk, and down time.
Type of Application
The type of application impacts many aspects of lubrication. It is also useful in choosing a lubricant based upon the lubrication engineer’s application experience. Knowledge from a similar application can be applicable making performance predictions more accurate.
The materials that the lubricant will be in contact with and could be in contact with should be considered. The lubricant should be chosen to be compatible with the materials over the expected operating temperature conditions.
A tribocontact is a point where two materials meet that either slide or roll against one another. The materials that are in contact, temperature, load, speed, and duty cycle should be considered when choosing a lubricant.
The requirements of any specification(s) that are in place must be considered. If a lubricant meets all of the functional requirements but does not match the characteristics in the lubricant specification, will it be possible to change the specification to include a new solution?
Health and Safety
In the United States, there are three categories for food grade lubricant that affect the lubricant components that can be used. Some components have hazards associated with them. Some components can become hazardous in certain applications. The hazard risk, in the context of the application, to the benefit it provides must be considered.
Packaging, Labeling, and Delivery
This aspect of lubrication engineering is often overlooked until late the process. It is important to consider how the lubricant will be delivered to the customer and how the consumer will apply the lubricant from the package to the end use. The label on the container must not only identify what it contains. It must also communicate any GHS hazards along with lot trace and any other relevant information.
How much lubricant will be needed and how much time does the supplier have from the time an order is placed to the time when it is delivered? What are the expected order patterns? How much lead time will there be between the time an order is placed until the product needs to be shipped?