Maintaining Proper Greasing of Rotary Electric Vibrators While Operating in the Field

Glen Roberts

Being involved in manufacturing either directly or indirectly for 45 years, I hopefully can relate to the uncertainty surrounding when you should grease Cleveland Vibrator’s Rotary Electric Vibrators and how much grease you should apply. Cleveland Vibrator Co. provides our customers with an easy-to-follow Installation, Operation, and Maintenance Manual, specific for each individual drive ordered and is shipped with every vibratory product order. A section of the manual addresses proper greasing of the bearings and also indicates when you should apply the grease and how much is needed. The manual explains the intervals to actual running hours ratio which tells you when greasing the units supplied with manufacturer installed grease fitting is needed. There is, in my opinion, a  “grey” area. There is an amount, measured in grams, that is needed to properly lubricate the bearings of our Rotary Electrics. How do you determine the amount of grease you are loading into the bearings when the amount of grease per pump of the grease gun handle lever is unknown?

The one method I have seen over the years is if the bearings begin to make noise, simply give each bearing five or six pumps from the grease gun and let it run for a few minutes. If this quiets the bearings after a few minutes, then we are good to go and if not repeat the process. Now, is the correct procedure recommended by Cleveland Vibrator to properly lubricate the bearing? Well, no it is not but this type of greasing exists and some swear by it. There is an old saying, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” and if it works for some folks then we would not try to change the way they do it. But, for us folks who prefer a little more straight forward approach that gives us that comfort zone we like to have, I have looked at the amount of grease that is generated by one pump of a standard manual lever operated grease gun and headed to our testing lab. 

We took our standard grease gun which uses 14.8 ounce/420 gram cartridge and weighed out how much grease was in one pump then converted it to grams. I would like to note that the grease we use is: PERMALUBE-Heavy duty NLG1 #2 Multi-Purpose Grease H2. The manufacturer is Lubemaster (1-800-527-9929). I did check to see what the standard amount of grease would be for a grease gun of this size. The amount varied from 1.25 grams per pump to 2.25 grams depending on how efficient your grease gun was. We took many circumstances into account when performing our testing of the grease gun in our lab such as:

  1. The greasing procedure is not perfect
  2. The effect of different operators
  3. Condition of the grease fittings
  4. Environmental Temperature
  5. The condition of the grease gun
  • I went with 2.0 grams per pump even with our measured weight  being closer to 1.75 per pump. You can damage the bearing and cause premature failure of RE Unit so it is important to not over-grease. It is also important to be sure we don’t under grease, so we concluded 2.0 grams per pump is a safe bet. Refer to our RE 1200 RPM Rotary Electric Motor greasing chart illustrated below: “RE 80-6 Vibrator.” The chart indicates that adding 50 grams of grease per bearing after 1600 hrs, at 2.0 grams per pump, it would be 25 pumps of the grease gun, and would add a plus or minus 10 to 20% facture to this. You should note that you can also do half life greasing which in the RE 80-6 case would be 12 or 13 pumps per bearing. Along with the 1200 RPM Vibrators, we have attached greasing charts for all the RPM noting that some models are permanently lubricated at the factory.
  • Need more information about maintenance of your vibratory equipment? We are here to help! Click here for more information.  
  • We have generated these charts at Cleveland Vibrator as a guideline to assist with in the field greasing of our Vibratory Motors.

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