If you're just tuning in and didn't catch the first part of our steel mill and lube oil series, click here.
When we left off, we just determined how the high levels of emulsified water and high particulate contamination levels work together to cause bearing failure and reduce oil life. So, how do we prevent this expensive combination from happening? We're glad you asked!
ISO Cleanliness Codes and Steel Mills
Achieving and maintaining ISO cleanliness codes below recommended maximums can improve reliability, minimize damage, and extend oil life. The same can be said for controlling water contamination.
Typical ISO codes found in steel mills are usually a tad higher than normal (24/23/20 and 21/20/18). Filtration is usually done through cleanable strainer baskets that have large perforated holes unless a finer-side loop filtration is used.
The particles and free water can combine loosely to increase the amount of water in the oil that will not readily demulsify. The free water can act as a powerful solvent looking for molecular partners and can form loose bonds with the particles. The suspended particles can invite more water into the oil. And the cycle continues, over and over agian.
Although centrifuges are often used to remove free water, they do little to treat the emulsified and dissolved water that causes damage in bearings and shortens fluid life. They also require frequent maintenance, which is often neglected due to more pressing demands.
Using Vacuum Dehydration to Solve Water Contamination
Vacuum dehydration, including high-efficiency particulate filtration, must be applied to properly address the whole water issue of dissolved, emulsified and free water. Removing the water with vacuum dehydration and particulate with high-efficiency filtration will improve demulsibility and oil cleanliness; thus, improved bearing lubrication, increased bearing life and longer oil life.
Other benefits include less roll stand leakage, decreased oil consumption and you eliminate the need for decanting while reducing environmental impact. It's a win, win, win!
Tune in next week for the conclusion of our three-part steel mill and lube oil series.