When designing equipment that requires lubrication via grease fittings, it is always best to engineer it so the fittings can be accessed easily for ongoing lubrication/maintenance – grease fittings are meant to be greased after all. But not every machine, or the maintenance worker responsible for lubricating the machinery, is designed with lubrication as the top priority. Furthermore, as machinery gets upgrades or customizations over the years, the convenience of easy access to grease fittings is often sacrificed to make room for the enhancement. These are a few of the common reasons explaining the need for the grease fitting accessories shown below. In many instances, grease fitting accessories are the difference between proper lubrication of equipment and no lubrication, which can ultimately lead to mechanical failures.
Grease Fitting Adapters
Grease Fitting Extensions are used to extend the area where a fitting is being installed. Simply screw the male end of the extension into the bearing housing or whatever component the fitting is lubricating and attach the fitting to the opposite/female end. Grease fitting extensions can provide over ½ inch extra access, which is often enough to overcome any ‘flush’ mounted components that may be obstructing access to the fitting. Extensions can also be attached to other types of grease fitting adapters to improve access as needed.
Most maintenance professionals responsible for equipment lubrication at any given facility will tell you they’ve encountered situations where grease fittings needed to be replaced, but they didn’t have the right size or type on-hand for the fix……which explains why you will most likely find a grease fitting assortment kit in their toolbox……. usually several of them. Grease fitting kits are designed for convenience and in many situations such as the one described above and are a huge time-saver. And at a discounted/volume pricing, they are a money-saver as well.
It’s true, we can configure grease fitting assortment kits in an infinite number of ways (and we do customize kits upon request), but we’ve applied our 35+ years of experience in configuring the following assortments as they most often meet the needs of the lubrication specialist (or the OEM or even the home hobbyist). The fittings are packaged in a heavy-duty translucent polypropylene box which features five adjustable columns, a locking lid, and a glossy identification chart in the cover.
Remote lubrication systems are the best solution for accessing hidden or guarded grease fittings in hard to reach or dangerous areas, and they even make the job of keeping them lubricated quick and easy as well! Remote lubrication systems can be configured in almost infinite configurations, but the core equipment required includes: a Junction Block, Tube Connectors, Bulkhead Connectors, and Hose or Tubing.
Always invest in a remote lubrication system whenever you find yourself in a situation where you need to disassemble equipment or torque your body in inhumane positions to access grease fittings. First-time setup takes a little extra time, but the time spent is well worth the effort and time saved in the long run! Once the remote lube system is setup you simply dispense a few pumps of grease at the easy-to-access junction block to lubricate multiple hard-to-access grease fittings.
Quick connect grease gun couplers are ideal for applications where there is a need to regularly access multiple sizes and types of grease fittings for lubrication maintenance requirements. Any given machine can potentially have a variety of grease fitting types and sizes that require regular lubrication, so the ability to quickly interchange between couplers to match the fitting size, type, access angle, and location significantly contributes to improvements in overall maintenance efficiencies.
Quick connect grease couplers do not use threads for screw assembly to the grease gun, instead, they simply snap onto any standard coupler to make a leak-proof connection in three easy steps as shown in figure 1.
- Step 1 is to retract the sleeve of the quick connect coupler to reveal the fitting
- Step 2 is to press the coupler on your grease gun into the fitting located on the quick connect coupler
- Step 3 is to release the sleeve of the quick connect to secure the connection between the grease gun and quick connect coupler
With over 15 different styles to choose from, we are regularly asked, “Which grease gun is the best?”. The answer truly depends on your lubrication applications, pressure requirements, and durability needs, which justifies the diverse variation in grease gun types. The real question to ask is, “Which grease gun is best for me?”. Grease guns are a critical tool for anyone needing to lubricate 1 grease fitting or 1,000+ grease fittings, it’s simply the right tool for the job. The key is to select the right gun so you get the job done right. Get the wrong grease gun and you could find yourself over-spending and/or under-performing.
We decided to put together the information below as a resource to help you make the right decision when selecting the best grease gun to meet your lubrication needs.
- Lever Action Grease Guns are considered the ‘traditional grease gun’ for all intents and purposes. They have a 6,000 psi maximum pressure rating and require two hands to operate. These grease guns are best for most general lubrication requirements.
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In order to ensure quality, only grease fittings that have been certified to AS standards can be used when AS standards are specified. Vendors must provide proof of AS9100D certification and are often required to provide several documents including:
- Certificate of Conformance
- Chemical / Physical Analysis
- Heat Treating
- Dimensional Data
- Test Data
There is no difference between a “Grease Fitting” and a “Zerk” or “Zerk Fitting”, they are commonly used in place of one another. Additionally, the words “Grease Nipple”, “Grease Zerk”, and “Alemite Fitting” are also commonly used in place of the most universally accepted term of Grease Fitting.
Your selection of grease fitting couplers is dependent upon the style of grease fitting it will connect to. As discussed in a previous blog post, there are almost as many styles of grease fitting couplers as there are grease fittings. Not to worry….by following the steps below, you will get it right every time!
Selecting the correct coupling is critical to ensuring a properly lubricated system.
- First, identify the style of the grease fitting you need to connect to.
- If it’s a standard fitting then a standard hydraulic coupler will do
- If a button head grease fitting, then you must choose a button head coupler
- Next, confirm that the size of the coupler matches with the size of the grease fitting.
- Last, identify how to access the grease fitting as this can influence the selection of a nozzle vs. a coupler.
Grease gun couplers are the linking connection that secures a hydraulic grease gun hose or rigid extension to a grease fitting’s head allowing the gun to effectively dispense grease or lubricant through the grease fitting. They are a critical component to lubrication systems and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to accommodate the array of grease fitting styles they connect with. Most couplers are made from 12L14 steel with heat treated hardened steel jaws and zinc chromate plated bodies with aluminum couplers available as well.
In our last blog post we boiled grease fitting sizes down to three critical dimensions (Thread Size, Overall Height, and Hex) for the purpose of gaining a fundamental understanding of grease fitting sizes and how to determine the right size grease fitting for your application. In this post we will expand on those fundamentals and dive a little deeper into the anatomy of a grease fitting because Murphy’s law inevitably comes into place when one finds themselves working in crammed spaces and it never hurts to be prepared!
NOTE: We will once again reference the ¼”-28 Taper Thread Grease Fittings as our example because these are the most commonly used grease fittings.
A figure similar to the one below was used in our last post to help demonstrate the 3 fundamental/primary dimensions used when determining the size of grease fitting you need for your application.