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Changing lubricant brands: What you should know

You may be aware that it is not advisable to alternate lubricants indiscriminately, even in cases when the lubricant you are planning to switch to is in the same product class. This is even truer when it comes to industrial lubricants, as they are much tougher to change, with few exceptions. In fact, we would go so far as to say that one of the most common causes of an unexpected machine failure is the changing of lubricant brands.

Of course, that’s not to say that you should never change lubricants as doing so can be a good thing when you consider that brands like Fuchs and Q8 are continuously innovating and improving upon existing product, but we would say that if your lubricant is performing well, there is seldom a reason to switch to a new product just for the sake of it.

Changing brands

So, what we are essentially trying to say is that you should only seek to change lubricants if the one you are presently using is not working for you. If this is the case, then it is, of course, sensible to seek a change but you should be very careful when doing so, as there are so many things that could go wrong.

With that in mind, you should consider very carefully whether you really need to make the switch. Circumstances that should compel you to do so include:

• Consolidating and reducing the number of products and brands you use

• Changing lubricant supplier on a company-wide basis

• Reducing your overheads

• Poor performance over a measurable period of time

• Your current lubricant product is being discontinued

We would suggest that these are the only real reasons to consider switching lubricants to another product.

The risks

It is a good idea to make yourself aware of the risks that come with changing lubricant brands before you do so, as the more you understand, the better able you will be to changeover successfully.

Most of the problems you are likely to experience stem from the following:

• Your new lubricant is not compatible with the internal sludge, sediment or varnish of your equipment

• Your new lubricant is incompatible with the old lubricant, some of which it is guaranteed to mix with, and this has caused defects in the performance of your equipment

• Your machine’s internal surfaces are not compatible with the new lubricants, causing additives to leech

• Your new lubricant was not suitable for the conditions to which it was exposed

• Your new lubricant has weak characteristics that your old lubricant did not suffer from

By being aware of these factors, you should be able to choose a new lubricant more wisely.

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