MicroGrade Grease Plating™ Process
MicroGrade Grease Plating is the solution to achieving low torque in precision bearings, without the problems generally associated with lubrication migration.
MicroGrade Grease Plate™, also known as MGGP™, is a proprietary process developed by AST® Bearings for those customers who require precision bearings with consistent, low-torque performance without the lubricant migration associated with oil lubrication. MGGP applies not only to maintaining low running-torque, but especially to achieving low startup-torque. In comparison, the MGGP process can yield low torque values approaching some fluid lubricants and superior to standard grease packing. The residual grease film, acts like an oil reservoir and resists migration providing much longer service life than possible with typical oil lubrication. Furthermore, the MGGP process can act both as a corrosion shield (where applicable) as well as a specialty lubricant.
The net effect of MGGP lubricated bearings is that all internal surfaces have a uniform and saturated, yet sheer, coating of grease. All of the working surfaces, such as the balls, ball separators, and raceways, are coated with the homogenous thin film of grease, which is sufficient for the corresponding life of the bearing.
Engineers and designers alike have taken advantage of specifying bearings lubricated with the MGGP process for their low-torque requirements especially in their goals of reducing energy loads and of creating ultra-precise instrumentation. Applications vary widely including optical encoders, medical devices, D.C. motors and actuators, video cameras, clutches/brakes, flow meters, as well as various military applications.
The MGGP process starts with carefully matching the candidate grease and with the appropriate volatile solvent or combination of solvents along with a prescribed quantity of the grease’s base oil (the precise amounts of each constituent in the MGGP process are closely controlled). Depending on the mixture’s final viscosity and a range of other factors, it is often air-injected into the bearing saturating all surfaces. In some instances, due to the grease/solvent combinations or the bearing configuration, total immersion techniques are used. After the specific mixture of grease and solvent(s) are applied, the volatile solvent(s) are baked off in an industrial oven in a series of controlled temperatures to ensure optimum adhesion, ultimately leaving the desired plating of the original grease. The thickness of the final plating can be very accurately controlled in the MGGP process through manipulating a variety of parameters.
With few limitations, most grease lubricants can be applied using the MGGP process when matched with the proper solvent(s). Check with AST for the appropriateness and availability for your particular application.
The MicroGrade Oil Plate Alternative
MicroGrade Oil Plate™ (also known as MGOP™) is a related AST® proprietary lubrication technique and follows a process similar to MGGP, using oil rather than grease to leave a thin film of oil on raceways, balls, and cage. The MGOP process greatly lowers torque values of oil lubricated bearings and can be specified for ultra-low torque applications.
In addition to MicroGrade Grease Plating, our New Jersey headquarters features one of the largest bearing lubrication facilities in the country including Class 10,000 clean rooms with Class 100 work stations. Also check out our white paper on bearing lubrication entitled, "Bearing Lubrication - Types, Methods, and Shelf Life"
AST engineers and lubrication specialists can help establish the lubrication method most suitable for your specific application. Contact us for more lubrication details.
MicroGrade Grease Plate™, MicroGrade Oil Plate™, MGGP™, and MGOP™ are trademarks of AST Bearings LLC.