Electric motors are everywhere. In your home, that blender used for your morning smoothie, that vacuum cleaner picking up the fries and change from under your truck seat and that grinder you use to process this year’s whitetail – all have electric motors. While the motors in your home appliances typically don’t require lubrication, the motors used in your brother’s gold mining operation behind moms house do!

Industrial electric motors often have anti-friction rolling element bearings that need greased. The primary functions of electric motor grease are to:

  • Reduce Friction and wear
  • Act as a seal to prevent the introduction of contaminants
  • Protect bearings against corrosion

The base oils used in electric motor grease can be mineral based or synthetic. Typically if a motor runs at higher temperatures or the oil has longer drain intervals, a synthetic base oil is recommended – so check that manual!

When choosing an electric motor grease, three things to consider are:

*Dropping point – this is the temperature at which a grease will melt or the oil will separate from the thickener. Electric motor bearings can get rather toasty, so a grease with a high dripping point is generally desired

*Shear Stability – this is the softening of the grease as measured by a test called “Cone Penetrating of Lubricating Grease.” The main point with this hyper nerd test is to make sure the grease doesn’t soften too much and run out of the bearing. For those of you who want to geek out and learn more about this test, look up ASTM D 217….and then get a life!

*Viscosity – ill say it again and again and again….viscosity is the most important characteristic when choosing a lubricant. You need a viscosity here that is appropriate for the load and temperature the bearing will demonstrate while operating. 

Electric motors make our lives better, and they’re everywhere. You know that ceiling fan cooling your wife while she does yoga in the living room….while you sit there like a creeper…ya, electric motor.