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Bel-Ray Specialty Lubricants: Tech Notes, Vol 2, Issue 8

August, 2011


Distributor’s Success Story Makes Dollars & Sense!

A Bel-Ray distributor in Norway visited a small fishing industry customer and noticed there was a competitor’s lubricant being used. The initial visit was used as an information gathering session. The distributor spoke with the mechanic who informed him that he had no difficulties using their current lubricant. The distributor decided to take this opportunity to challenge by offering him the opportunity to conduct his own competitive testing of his current lubricant against Bel-Ray Termalene EP Grease 2. The distributor convinced him that this was the only way to accurately compare the two products. “Just see for yourself,” the distributor told the customer.

Two weeks later, after passing a few smaller tests with flying colors, the distributor found a real challenge. At this point, the distributor felt it was important to keep in mind that this is a very small customer. The customer explained that every Friday he spent 51/2 hours re-lubricating and changing bearings on his 11 BT hand pallet trucks. The distributor asked him why he felt it so important to re-lubricate the hand pallet trucks every Friday. He replied that salt water conditions exist all day long and affect the performance of the equipment. The distributor asked him why he chose to use cheap, ineffective grease that was supposed to be water resistant but apparently was not. The customer explained that re-lubrication occurred so often and he felt that by using the cheaper grease, he was keeping costs down. But the question is, did it really keep cost down?

Today the story is much different. The same mechanic now relubricates his 11 hand pallet trucks once every 3 months, using half the amount of grease he had previously used weekly. Since he began using Bel-Ray Termalene EP Grease 2 he has not had the need to change any bearings at all! A true testament to what proven value actually is to a customer’s bottom line—money in his pocket. In manpower costs alone, the company was able to save $15,000 annually by using Bel-Ray lubricants. This mechanic is completely sold and now all lubricants used throughout the company are the far superior Bel-Ray lubricants.


Get Optimal Life Out of Mobile Equipment Components

Is my machine lubricated correctly? How do I know if I am applying the correct amount of lubricant to my equipment? If a little grease is good then more will be better, right?

You have made a huge investment in mining equipment. Let Bel-Ray Company representatives assist you with getting the most out of that equipment for the lowest operating cost. Bel-Ray representatives are able to assist with proper lubrication of draglines, electric shovels, hydraulic shovels, excavators, loaders, haul trucks and any of your mobile equipment. They can conduct a survey on the lubrication of your mobile mining equipment and then provide a written report documenting the findings and recommendations to get optimal life out of your mobile equipment components.

The Bel-Ray Equipment Surveys will focus on the lubricated components of your mobile equipment to ensure the components are properly lubricated. If there are components that are not properly lubricated, the Bel-Ray representative will investigate the system to determine the cause for under- or over-lubrication. This trouble-shooting will determine if there is a problem that needs to be corrected in the lubrication system or if a simple adjustment of an injector or timer will solve the problem.

Many people think that “if some grease is good, then more should be better”. That is not usually the case and in some cases will actually cause damage to equipment. A premium grease that is properly selected based on the application and operating environment will perform best with the correct application amount. Many open gear and roller applications can be inspected to determine if the correct amount of lubricant is being applied based on the load, speed, temperature and operating environment. The proper amount and timing of re-application of lubricant for some applications, such as anti-friction bearings, will need to be calculated to get maximum equipment life.

Once the equipment is properly lubricated, Bel-Ray representatives can then calculate the lubricant consumption for mobile equipment. The consumption of lubricant may be tracked by measuring the lubricant added to a central lubrication system. Additionally, the consumption may be calculated by completing an inventory of the type and setting of injectors on a machine and then calculating the volume of lubricant per operating hour. Tracking the lubricant consumption per operating hour is a very helpful tool to optimize equipment performance and reliability.

To schedule a lubrication survey of your equipment, please contact your Bel-Ray representative.


What’s the Difference Between 2-stroke & 4-stroke Engines?

To understand the mechanical differences between a 2-stroke and 4-stroke engine let’s first consider how each engine works. A “stroke” refers to the movement of the piston in the engine.

4-stroke Engine

A 4-stroke engine has four strokes, which are:

Intake Stroke: The piston travels down the cylinder while the intake valve is opened to allow a mixture of fuel and air to enter the combustion chamber.

Compression Stroke: The intake valve is closed and the piston travels back up the cylinder thereby compressing the gases.

Combustion Stroke: The spark plug ignites the compressed gas causing it to explode, which forces the piston down.

Exhaust Stroke: The piston rises up the cylinder as the exhaust valve is opened, allowing the piston to clear the chamber to start the process over.

Each time the piston rises and falls it turns the crankshaft that is responsible for turning the wheels. This is how fuel is converted into forward motion.

The spark plug only fires once every other revolution, and there is a sophisticated set of mechanisms working in synchronization to create the four strokes. A camshaft must alternately tip a rocker arm attached either to the intake or exhaust valve. The rocker arm returns to its closed position via a spring. The valves must be seated properly in the cylinder head to avoid compression leaks.

2-stroke Engine

In the 2-stroke engine, all four events are integrated into one simple downward stroke and one upward stroke, hence, two strokes. The intake and exhaust are both integrated into the compression and combustion movement of the piston, eliminating the need for valves. This is accomplished by an inlet and exhaust port in the wall of the combustion chamber itself. As the piston travels downward from combustion, the exhaust port is exposed allowing the spent gases to rush out of the chamber. The downward stroke also creates suction that draws in new air and fuel through an inlet located lower in the chamber. As the piston rises again, it blocks off the inlet and port, compressing the gases at the top of the chamber. The spark plug fires and the process starts over again. The engine fires on every revolution, giving the 2-stroke its power advantage.

However, at the lowest point of travel of the piston when the chamber is filling with fuel and air, the exhaust port exposed above allows some fuel and gases to escape the chamber, causing pollution. This is easily seen with an outboard motorboat by the multicolored oil slick surrounding the engine. This happens with all 2-stroke engines. This, along with burning oil, creates the pollution and fuel-efficiency issues with 2-stroke engines.

For these reasons, 2-stroke engines are reserved for intermittent use, where weight-to-power ratio or orientation issues are important and where mileage isn’t the primary objective.

To further understand the difference between a 2-stroke and a 4-stroke engine let us consider some of the advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of the 2-stroke Engine:

  • A 2-stroke engine has more get-up-and-go because it fires once every revolution, giving it twice the power of a 4-stroke, which only fires once every other revolution.
  • A 2-stroke packs a higher power-to-weight ratio as the engine is much lighter.
  • Manufacture and repair of a 2-stroke is less expensive because of its simpler design.
  • A 2-stroke can be operated in any orientation because it lacks the oil sump of a 4-stroke engine, which has limited orientation as the oil needs to be retained in a sump.

These attributes make 2-stroke engines very popular for a variety of uses from dirt bikes, mopeds, jet skis and small outboard motors, to lawn and garden equipment such as mowers, leaf blowers, chain saws and hedge trimmers.

But there are other differences between the 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines that aren’t so favorable, which is why you won’t see 2-stroke engines in cars.

Disadvantages of the 2-stroke Engine:

  • A 2-stroke engine has a faster wear rate and shorter engine life than a 4-stroke due to the lack of a dedicated lubricating system.
  • A 2-stroke requires a specific mix of 2-stroke oil with every tank of fuel, adding expense and an additional amount of labor.
  • A 2-stroke heavily pollutes due to the simpler engine design and the fuel and oil mixture that is released during combustion. This also creates an unpleasant odor.
  • A 2-stroke is fuel-inefficient because of the simpler design, resulting in fewer miles per gallon than a 4-stroke engine.
  • A 2-stroke has a high-decibel whine that may exceed legal noise limits in some areas.

So Which Is Better?

At the end of the day, the winner is the engine that has had more money and technology spent on it. However, in these days of quick and cheap international production schedules you can’t take it for granted that the 4-stroke engine will be better.