What Is a Multi Line Lubrication System?

Multi Line Lubrication Systems are beneficial to the world of manufacturing and industry due to the many benefits it offers. But what exactly is a multi line lubrication system, and how exactly does it help those industries? Multi Line Lubrication Systems are a series of pumps that help lubricate parts in machines or on a progressive die line. These types of systems have multiple points within the line that distributes lubricant and that lubricant could be grease, oil, or a specialized mix. Grease lubrication systems also employ multi line lubrication concepts when used on a production line.

How Do Multi Line Systems Work?

A good example of a multi line lubrication system can be found in a progressive die setup. The very nature of the progressive die system, sets the wheels in motion to change flat cold-rolled steel into a finished product. There can be numerous points along that line that the product changes shape with each stroke of the press. Holes can be punched out, steel can be bent, and excessive steel can be sheared off after each stroke. Think about how many lubrication points exist along a progessive 600-ton press. You’ll see small nozzles spraying lubricant along each critical point in the progression. The lubricant prevents the steel from cracking and fraying as it completes each step in the process. The multi line lubrication system draws the lubricant from a single reservoir of fluid and disperses it along tubes to each spray point.

Benefits of a Multi Line Lubrication System

The benefits of a multi line lubrication system are numerous and can provide a huge help to production. You have precision down to the very amount of fluid that you need at each spray point. The volume of lubricant can be programmed into the unit and broken down to each individual point if you need more lubricant at one point over other points. Versatility is another benefit as you can set how much lubricant you need and select the reservoir size when setting up your system. You can have lubrication for as long as you need it and not have to rely on relays or timers to keep the pumps going. Going further on that aspect, multi line lubrication systems are built for long and heavy use which is why you see them in use in production facilities around the world working around the clock.

Dual Line Lubrication Systems

Dual Line Lubrication Systems are similar to Multi Point Lubrication Systems in certain aspects, however, dual line lubrication systems can work with up to 2,000 spray points over a football field (over 100 yards) in length. With so many lubrication points available in this system, if one or two spray points become clogged or blocked, it’s not going to affect the overall lubrication very much, if at all. There is enough lubricant going through the system and to other points along the line that there won’t be a pressure drop to any other spray points in the line.

Common Applications For Multi Line Systems

Multi Line Systems are in use in a variety of settings and applications including: slurry pumps, water pumps, rubber production machines, pumps, compressors, conveyors, cranes, crushing machinery, die presses, boring machines, mining equipment, construction machinery, machines that mix rubber with plasticizer oil, combustion engines (automobile engines, diesel engines, lawn mower engines, etc.), vacuum pumps, and other applications that require lubrication to function.

Manual vs. Automatic Lubrication

There are a couple of stark differences between manual lubrication and automatic lubrication. There are two key arbiters of determining which one to use and that’s location of lubrication point and quantity of lubricant required. We’ll look at a couple of examples below to showcase the difference between these two.

Manual Lubrication

If you’ve ever seen a metal die press up close, you’ll notice that on each corner of the press, there’s a long metal slide that facilitates the movement of the press. Die Techs usually slather on thick white grease lubricant on these slides every so often, usually weekly, to help keep the slide lubricated with Grease lubrication systems. This falls into what manual lubrication is best suited for, parts that are easily accessible and don’t need that much in the way of lubrication.

Automatic Lubrication

Automatic lubrication is prime for parts that are as easily accessed: the back of a progressive die line, places that you can’t lubricate yourself, etc. Another factor is the need for constant lubrication such as production lines and lines that are consistently used for hours at a time. The constant motion of the press and the constant punches and shearing all cause frictional heat. This heat will ultimately damage production parts if the heat is not checked beforehand. The heat is dissipated through proper and constant lubrication of contact points along the line.

How to choose a lubrication system

Choosing a lubrication system can be tricky and time-consuming as there are numerous factors to consider when choosing one. You have to factor in all the parts of the production line and what their roles are within the production process. Then you should also list these parts’ failure points or thresholds in order of importance to figure out which parts should get the most lubrication. You can easily discern between a minor fix should a part fail versus a major fix requiring days of downtime should the part fail.

After factoring where you need the most lubrication within the line, you can then devise a sound lubrication system which would work best to meet the goal of production with minimal downtime. These decisions are usually first addressed in the engineering department when devising a new line to run on the production floor. After running a few test runs at various speeds (half-speed, 75% speed, and full production run) with the lubrication system in-tow, then the new production line is officially signed off and ready to go.

Lubrication System Options To Choose From

Automatic Lubrication Systems

Automatic Lubrication Systems offer constant and controlled lubrication during production runs. These control points of lubrication are typically set up by computer before which control the amount of lubrication going to each individual spray nozzle. It’s termed “automatic” because the system puts out the lubrication on its own without user interface once set up correctly.

Dual Line Systems

Dual Line systems are similar to automatic lubrication systems and work in much the same way. The main difference with dual line is that there are two main distributor lines within the system to deliver the lubricant to the spray points along the line. These types of systems work best when two rows of spray nozzles are used to coat each side of a part for production purposes.

Single Line Progressive

Single Line Progressive systems work in conjunction with all other major lubrication systems. These types of systems can also work independently as well and are cheaper than other lubrication systems to start up and maintain. The Progressive Divider works off of the length and diameter of piston stroke to determine how much lubricant a spray point gets.

Single Point Systems

Single Point Systems were the first and oldest lubrication systems available in production lines. The systems worked off of a spring-loaded piston which provided a set amount of grease to the line during a production run.