The Down and Dirty:
Heavy-Duty Grease

How heavy-duty greases are built tough to increase machine performance and protect against the unrelenting elements and threat of contamination

Heavy-Duty greases have a big job to do. They have to excel at lubricating under extreme conditions so construction, agriculture, transportation, and mining equipment operators can get the most out of their machinery.

So, what are the considerations when creating a grease that can perform better with heavy-duty and high-load carrying equipment? This month’s blog does the heavy lifting on heavy-duty greases, detailing what you need to know to protect your equipment and maximize service life.

What Operating Conditions Affect Heavy Equipment?

While there are many grease technologies engineered to extend machine life and decrease downtime, in the case of high-load carrying and heavy equipment, the operating conditions can cause several lubrication problems that impact performance.

While summer weather and sunlight increase heavy equipment’s need for additional lubrication, excessive heat caused by extended equipment use also presents lubrication problems. Additionally, localized heat generated by friction may produce such high temperatures that grease breaks down, leading to cold welding or galling damage.
In specific applications, such as excavation and rock crushing, the excessive force and vibration on bearings, bucket pins, and bushings may result in metal-to-metal contact and increased heat. Over time, this results in premature wear and equipment damage.
For heavy equipment, the threat of contamination is everywhere. Dust and other abrasive particles can mix with grease, grinding away metal. Cleaning solutions and acids break down grease and corroding metal. Mud, sand, steam, and water can wash away grease, leaving metal unprotected.

How Do Heavy-Duty Greases Handle These Conditions?

When it comes to optimizing equipment performance, it’s all about lubrication. And heavy equipment is no different. Greases are the key to preventing components of your machines from grinding against each other and avoiding equipment damage and contamination.
Every machine is special! Check your OEM manual for your machine’s requirements, specifications, and grease recommendations. And remember, different parts on a machine may call for different types of grease.
Pointing Fillmore

Heavy-Duty greases are specially formulated to protect equipment from wear and tear, stretch out service intervals, lower maintenance costs, and increase efficiency. Greases that get certified as HPM + HL have proof they can handle these extreme needs.

Heavy-Duty grease being applied to brake pad

A variety of factors determine the ideal heavy-duty grease for your application. Here are a few examples:

All heavy-duty greases need a measure of water resistance to stay put in humid or wet environments and still do their job. Saltwater and freshwater can also cause damage — whether from natural exposure or regular equipment washdowns.

Excessive winds mean debris, dirt, and dust can easily make their way directly onto your equipment. Heavy-Duty grease provides the proper lubrication so that these contaminants are prevented from causing major damage to internal components.

Greases not rated for certain high or low temperatures can melt or freeze, hampering equipment performance. Remember that NLGI categorizes greases by consistency into nine grades of hardness from 000 (fluid) to 6 (very hard). The most common is NLGI #2 because it can be used for a wide temperature range.

A heavy-duty grease needs to reduce friction, ensuring smooth movement of moving parts even under extreme pressure. One way to provide extra protection is to use Molybdenum Disulfide, a solid additive, also known as Moly. Similar to graphite, Moly sticks on sliding surfaces to prevent friction and coats moving parts to prevent wear. Moly particles also fill very small imperfections on a two-metal surface to protect against a welding effect during shock loads.

Viscosity determines how thick or consistent the grease is. Did you know the viscosity of grease matters in different seasons? When it’s hot in summer, grease tends to become thinner, so it’s important to use a thicker grease that has a high viscosity and can better stay in place. The opposite is true for cold winter months when it’s better to choose a low viscosity grease that can be pumped and can flow into machinery joints more easily.

Viscosity also contributes to how easy a grease is to apply. A low viscosity grease can be too thin to lubricate well and be difficult to apply, while a high viscosity grease can be hard to use and later remove. A good heavy equipment grease should be a consistency that’s easy to apply with a grease gun or directly.
From water to wind to dust to dirt, heavy equipment needs to perform at the highest levels. And heavy-duty grease plays an essential role in safeguarding machinery to get the job done. If you have questions about heavy-duty grease, our Pack Logix team is here to help. With over 70 years of expertise, we encourage you to let our experience work for you.


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