Boost agricultural equipment reliability with smart lubrication management solutions from SKF

SKF offers holistic lubrication solutions for enhanced agricultural equipment reliability

With the technological advancement of agricultural equipment to meet the increasing demand for higher efficiencies, performance and reliability as well as reduced emissions, tolerances are becoming finer and finer. This can lead to increased component wear so maintaining a proper lubricant film is essential to reliability. SKF has developed a sophisticated range of lubricants and application systems that address these requirements by delivering maximum machine and equipment life cycle and reduced cost of operation.

Agricultural machines and equipment are subjected to extremely stringent conditions, working in an environment where the ingress of dust, dirt, stones, mud, plant material and water cause excessive wear and tear on critical components. This can potentially lead to equipment failure. Farmers have a very limited window for planting and harvesting, and unexpected breakdowns in the field can result in reduced or poor yields.

“Taking into account that 56% of bearing failures are caused by contamination and inadequate lubrication, the importance of farm machinery lubrication must never be underestimated,” says Charl Engelbrecht, Key Accounts Manager – Agriculture. “Add to this the fact that, while lubricants amount to between 2 and 3% of running costs in agricultural machines, 40 to 60% of maintenance costs are as a result of poor lubrication!”

A proactive maintenance strategy executed correctly can help prevent breakdowns, reduce downtime, optimise performance, reliability and efficiencies, extend equipment lifecycle, lower maintenance costs, enhance safety and meet environmental compliance. It involves the systematic application and control of lubricants to reduce friction, heat and wear between moving parts, ultimately reducing the risk of failures and subsequent costly downtime.

SKF offers holistic lubrication solutions for tractors, implements, trailers, combine harvesters, special harvesting machines, balers, sprayers, slurry tankers, etc. The product range includes lubrication delivery products and systems as well as a selection of high quality lubricants.

“It starts with the correct choice of lubricant because this carries as much importance as applying the correct lubrication methods,” stresses Engelbrecht. With years of experience with bearings, lubricants and applications as well as through continuous research, field-testing and validation, SKF has developed the right lubricants specifically suited for agri equipment. The special formulation of SKF LGGB 2 biodegradable, low toxicity, synthetic ester oil based grease, using a lithium-calcium thickener, makes it most suitable for agri applications where environmental contamination is commonplace. “Our LFFM 100 high-performance synthetic chain oil is specially formulated for the lubrication of chains operating in agriculture industries,” adds Engelbrecht.

SKF offers manual, semi- and fully automated lubrication delivery systems that assist farmers with correct and accurate lubrication. Products include compact electric cartridge pumps, grease nipples, grease guns, lubricant hoses, progressive metering devices as well as a range of accessories. Engelbrecht explains that proper manual lubrication usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes per machine and maintenance cycle. “Failure to properly lubricate each lubrication point on every machine can negatively impact schedules, maintenance costs and running time performance. For this reason we do recommend automatic lubrication of agri equipment as farmers will benefit from increased equipment availability and improved uptime.”

Adding further value to its lubrication portfolio, SKF has developed two apps: SKF LubeSelect accesses a knowledge base to assist farmers with selecting an appropriate lubricant for a particular application. SKF eLube enables users to determine lubricant levels and pump functions remotely. SKF’s lubrication solutions are bolstered by professional service and after-sales support delivered by a team of highly trained product specialists. SKF builds long-term partnerships, engaging with farmers to determine the best, tailored lubrication solution for each agri application.

“Smart lubrication management that incorporates SKF products, systems and lubricants, is an essential part of agri equipment operation and maintenance and can make a significant contribution to farming sustainability and profitability,” concludes Engelbrecht.