Monday, 05 August 2019 11:26

Grease is the word

Written by  Mark Daniel

Grease keeps the wheels of agriculture turning – probably for longer than we realise.

The Egyptians used a lubricant made from limes with olive oil. In the 19th century, soap was added to oil as a thickener, effectively making grease as we know it today. And in an agricultural slant in Sweden, black slugs (Arion ater) were used as axle grease on the wooden shafts of farm carts.

Many greases today have emulsifying agents derived from soaps of different types depending on application. The nature of these soaps can be used to influence temperature resistance (relating to viscosity), water resistance and the chemical stability of the grease.

Those of a certain age will remember the days of ‘tractor oil universal’ and grease being just that, so if they did use a grease gun it was pot luck what was inside. And there were big buckets of grease for sucking up into an empty grease gun -- a third in the gun, a third on the outside and a third on your hands and overalls. 

Today the youngsters on farm have the luxury of replaceable cartridges.

The quality of grease can vary from supplier to supplier, often reflected in the cost. So it makes sense to choose grease specifically suited to the job at hand. That might be as simple as lubricating a bearing, a universal joint or a suspension unit. Or at the other end of the spectrum, the grease might be to lubricate shafts rotating at high speed or where the lubricant might encounter foodstuffs.

A recent visit to the parts department of a John Deere dealership gave an interesting snapshot of the wide array of job specific materials on offer. 

Multi-purpose grease, as the name suggests, is a good option for most situations. SD polyurea is intended for severe applications and designed to minimise wear at high speeds or under heavy loads, while also resisting heat degradation. 

Lithium complex remains stable in high temperatures applications. Multi-purpose extreme duty synthetic is designed to tolerate extremes of temperature, from as cold as - 42.7 degrees C to 232 degrees C at the other end of the scale. This product uses Teflon, contains no silicon and is food grade certified, non- toxic and odourless. It is said to suit lubrication, sealing, protecting and insulating electrical components.

Other specialised products include a corn head grease that can be used in gear cases running up to 1000rpm, where it turns to a heavy gear oil as work temperature increases, but reverts to a grease after cooling, helping to reduce leaks. 

HD lithium complex includes 3% molybdenum, making it suitable for withstanding shock loads or where sliding frictional forces may be high. But it doesn’t suit use in wheels or roller bearings. 

HD water resistant grease is especially suited to wet environments, resisting rust and corrosion, and also protecting wash-out and spray removal.

So, with the harvest season near, it might be prudent to grab a box of replacement cartridges. Hopefully the Law of Sod won’t kick in the next time you grab the grease gun, only to find it runs out after two pumps.

More like this

JD 8 Series offers greater choice

With 2020 just a few weeks away, in addition to the new 6M and 7R Series, John Deere has introduced the new Series 8 tractors lineup.

Featured

ANZCO makes a $30m profit

Meat company ANZCO Foods recorded its best-ever revenue of $1.7b and a net profit before tax of $30.6m for the year ended 31 December 2019.

 

M. bovis – we’re making headway

Ministry for Primary Industries chief science adviser, Dr John Roche on the indications New Zealand is winning the fight against Mycoplasma bovis.

Delays ruled out on water reforms

Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Dirty water

The Hound understands that Federated Farmers has been cut out of the information loop, for the past year, on the…

Who’s paying?

Your canine crusader noticed a full-page ad recently run in a farming paper calling on meat companies SFF and Alliance…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter

Popular Reads

Drop in payout looms

Dairy farmers are being told to brace for a big drop in milk payout next season.