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As a machinist or maintenance technician, you are responsible for keeping your machine tools in optimal working condition. One key component of any machine tool is its lubrication system. Without proper lubrication, your machines can suffer from reduced accuracy, increased wear and tear, and even breakdowns.

If you are reading this blog, it’s probably because your machine’s warranty has run out and your lubrication system has already failed. The good news is you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will break down the different types of lubrication pumps available, as well as key factors to consider when selecting the right one for your machine. For immediate assistance, scroll to the bottom for our handy Lube Pump Replacement Wizard.


1. Type of Lubrication System

Before considering which type of lubrication pump to choose, it's important to first determine which type of lubrication system your machine currently uses. You can probably narrow down your options down to three option: SLR, PDI, or progressive block.

Single line resistance lubrication involves a pump that delivers a fixed quantity of lubricant to a single point in a machine. This method is typically used in small, simple machines or in applications where only one point needs lubrication. The pump is powered by compressed air or electricity, and the amount of lubricant delivered is controlled by an orifice in the pump. Single line resistance lubrication is easy to install and maintain, making it a popular choice for many applications.

On the other hand, positive displacement injector lubrication involves a pump that delivers a precise amount of lubricant to each lubrication point in a machine. This method is typically used in larger, more complex machines with multiple lubrication points. The pump is powered by an electric motor, and the amount of lubricant delivered is controlled by a metering piston. Positive displacement injector lubrication can be more complex to install and maintain but offers higher accuracy and better control over the amount of lubricant delivered.

Lastly, there’s progressive block lubrication pumps which work by cyclic process. Each cycle, a small amount of lubricant is delivered to a specific area of the machine. The pumps are designed with multiple metering valves, each of which corresponds to a specific lubrication point. When the pump cycles, the lubricant passes through each metering valve in turn, delivering just the right amount of lubrication to each point. The process can repeat as often as necessary, providing ongoing lubrication to the machine.

2. Pump Output and Capacity

When selecting a lubrication pump, it's important to consider multiple factors, namely flow (output), pressure, voltage, tank size (capacity), and accessories needed. Output, is usually the starting point; referring to the amount of lubricant the pump dispenses. You'll also need to carefully consider the capacity of lubricant that the pump can hold. These factors will depend on the size of your machine and the frequency of lubrication needed. A pump that is too small or has insufficient capacity can lead to machine failure, while a pump that is too large or has excessive capacity can lead to wasted lubricant and higher costs. 

Make sure to note other important factors that may dictate the correct replacement. You'll want make note of the voltage of the existing pump and if the tank is made of metal or plastic. Also be sure to consider factors like hose length, the number of lubrication points, and if a float switch is necessary when determining your pump's needs.

3. Type of Lubricant

Different types of lubricants require different types of pumps. For example, a grease lubrication system requires a different pump than an oil lubrication system. It's important to choose a pump that is specifically designed to handle the type of lubricant you will be using in your machine. Using the wrong pump can lead to inadequate lubrication, which can cause damage to your machine and reduce its lifespan.

It’s also worth noting that single line resistance lubrication is typically used with oil, while positive displacement injector lubrication and progressive block can be used with both oil and grease. This may be a consideration if your application requires a specific type of lubricant.

PRO TIP: Never mix lubricants types or brands. Mixing can cause chemical reactions between the two lubricants, causing changes or breakdowns of the lubricant. Always check the compatibility of the lubrication with your system and make sure to purge and clean the entire system before utilizing a new lubricant.

Choosing the right lubrication pump for your machine tool requires careful consideration of several factors, including the type of lubrication system, pump output and capacity, type of lubricant, pump reliability and maintenance, and cost. And remember- when it comes to lubrication pumps, quality matters. Look for a reputable manufacturer with a strong track record of producing reliable and durable pumps. All World stocks and sources a wide variety of lubrication pumps, backed by quality brands such as Lube USA, Showa, Graco, Daikin, Lincoln, Daido, SKF, Vogel, TACO, Aryung, Hansung and Bijur Delimon. We can also install lubrication systems at your facility.


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