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.
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.
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.
There are a wide variety of grease fitting sizes and styles available to choose from, but determining the correct size for your needs can be boiled down to just critical 3 dimensions. A basic understanding of the ‘anatomy’ of a grease fitting will turn a grease fitting novice into an expert in no time.
NOTE: The figure below is used for reference and show ¼”-28 Taper Thread Grease Fittings in straight, 45°, and 90° orientation, which represents the most common type, and for all intents and purposes, the foundation of all other grease fitting styles.