7 Tips for Rock Crusher Lubricant System Maintenance

Jul. 15, 2020

 Are you maintaining your rock crusher’s lubrication system correctly?

Oil keeps crushers running – and contaminated oil kills crushers. Yet, too often, lubricant systems aren’t maintained as well as they should be.

Let’s change that. Here are seven tips toward maximizing the effectiveness of your rock crusher lube system.

1. Clean lubricant systems regularly.

The first tip is simple: keep your lubricant system clean.

It shouldn’t be this way, but lube systems often suffer from poor housekeeping practices. They aren’t cleaned regularly themselves, and the area around them isn’t cleared regularly, either. Partly, this is due to the fact that lubrication systems tend to be in locations that are difficult to keep clean; many live under rock crushers in areas that get, quite literally, buried with material. 

Partly, though, this is just a matter of focus. Teams like to focus on the components of a rock crushing plant that directly impact its production. That’s all well and good, but if you don’t focus on maintenance, too, production will break down quickly.

Keep the system clean. And keep the area around the system clean, so that you can quickly identify if oil is escaping.

2. Add and change the oil according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Second, it’s critical to use oil in the system according to manufacturer recommendations. This will mean, first, using the right type of oil, and, second, changing the oil on time. 

1,000 hours is a standard useful lifespan for oil, but make sure you’re adhering to the specs for the type of oil you’re using and considering the factors in play at your plant.

3. Maintain breather filters.

Next, make sure to maintain breather filters properly.

Breather filters allow oil flow back into the tank (so that the oil can “breathe”). If they aren’t functioning effectively due to contamination, higher amounts of dust can be pulled through the seal, damaging the oil and, ultimately, the rock crusher.

They can be cleaned on a daily basis; in fact, doing this extends oil life. Generally, after 1,000 hours of use, breather filters should be changed (but, in keeping with what will become a recurring theme, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations). 

4. Maintain the lubrication filter.

Similarly, the lubrication filter itself must be maintained. Like breather filters, lubrication filters often have 1,000 hours of useful life – but it’s not uncommon to see filters with 500 hours, depending on the application. You should change your filter accordingly.

Here, too, it’s critical to follow manufacturer’s recommendations. 

5. Do the necessary daily checks.

The most routinized parts of maintaining a rock crusher lubrication system are the daily checks to monitor performance.

These include:

Daily visual check of the return screen.

The mesh screen where oil comes back to the crusher can catch dirt, dust, and rocks so that material isn’t running right through the pump. If the screen is dirty, clean it; a dirty screen will cause the quality of your oil to suffer. 

If your screen requires frequent cleaning, though, you have a problem. You might have failed seals, high wear on a surface, or (hopefully not) general machine failure. We once saw a machine that appeared to be running normally start showing abnormal amounts of material on the return screen. When the eccentric was lifted, it revealed that the mainframe bushing had been broken entirely to pieces. The return screen was the first sign of the issue.

Differential temperature checks.

It’s also important to perform daily temperature checks to show differential temperature between inflowing and outflowing oil. If oil is picking up an abnormal amount of heat in the rock crusher, then something’s wrong.

Oil pressure checks.

Finally, you should check oil pressures on a daily basis as well. Your ideal pressure will vary depending on your crusher, but, in general, low pressure can signal a leak, while high pressure can signal blockages. Typically, in HP rock crushers, pressure should be between 35 and 50 psi depending on size. In older crusher models, like Symons, pressure can be much lower. Again, check your manufacturer recommendations.

Diligently performing and recording daily checks will help you to quickly identify issues and keep your lubrication system running effectively.

6. Consider using synthetic oil.

This is related to using the right oil for your crusher: you may want to (or even need to) use synthetic oil instead of conventional oil.

Synthetic oils are typically better but more expensive. They often last longer. Notably, their viscosity isn’t impacted by thermal temperatures; conventional oils, on the other hand, may not perform at their stated viscosity in abnormally hot or cold weather, leading to faster wear. Accordingly, synthetic oils are better for machines with tighter tolerances.

(Again, check your manufacturer’s recommendations to make sure that you select the right oil.)

7. Consider adding an offline filtration system.

Finally, you may also want to consider adding an offline filtration system to increase the useful life of your oil. 

These systems – offered by Metso – are extremely fine filters that can strain out materials down to one micron in size. This greatly extends oil life; essentially, it doubles it, so if your oil was set to last 1,000 hours, it can last up to 2,000. 

These filtration systems can be retroactively fitted to your machine and can play a big role in maintaining proper lubrication. If you’d like to learn whether an offline filtration system may be right for you, get in touch with us today. 

Want more guidance in maintaining rock crusher lubrication systems?

We hope this information has been helpful as you consider how to optimize your rock crusher’s lubrication system. 

If you’d like more insight into rock crushing maintenance, let’s talk. At Mellott Company, we have experience in equipping and servicing a broad range of rock crushing needs, including lubrication systems. 

We’re experts at navigating all of the different components of rock crusher part selection, setup, and maintenance.

If you're looking for guidance into keeping your rock crushing plant operating at maximum efficiency – or want help in ensuring your lubrication system is functioning at its best – get in touch with us today online or at 800.634.5634.

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