Lubricants 101: What needs to be lubricated? – Part 2

In the second and final part of our primer on industrial lubricants, we look at what are the various elements that require lubrication.

Regardless if you’re a seasoned pro or a new aspiring talent in this industry, this article will help you understand their significance when choosing the right lubes with the right characteristics for various industrial activities.

Last week, we discussed why we need to lubricate and the various properties of industrial lubricating oils, from viscosity to pour point to demulsibility.

This week, we continue the discussion on industrial lubricants by exploring what needs to be lubricated, which can be broken down into three specific components – bearings, gears and cylinders.

  1. Bearings

Bearings carry loads, extend shafts, as well as hold them in position. Bearings which require lubrication are either plain or anti-friction bearings; we take a closer look at these two type of bearings:

Plain Bearings

Anti-Friction Bearings

Can be used for low to high loads

Can be used for slow to high speeds

Low strength-to-size ratio

High strength-to-size ratio

Poor precision and shaft movement

Good precision and shaft movement

Lower in cost than anti-friction bearings

Higher in cost than plain bearings

Require full film (hydrodynamic) lubrication to support loads


Meanwhile, anti-friction bearings come in four variations:

Ball bearings


Straight roller bearings

Tapered roller bearings


Needle bearings

  1. Gears

Gears transmit motion and power from one turning shaft to another. We typically lubricate the following types of gears:

Spur gears

Bevel/spiral bevel gears

Herringbone gears

Helical gears

Worm gears

Hypoid gears


  1. Cylinders

Lastly, there are cylinders which create or transmit power. The two types of cylinders that need to be lubricated are:

We hope you enjoyed this tip series. If you have any questions at all, please leave a comment in the section below. Otherwise, hit ‘Like’ on the toolbar to the right if you found this article useful!