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Why Automatic Lubrication for the Marine market?

Keep your marine machinery optimally lubricated

Automatic lubrication plays a key role in keeping winches, cranes and other equipment used on vessels and in ports working efficiently

Machinery used on board vessels and in seaports face a grueling combination of challenges. High mechanical loads and vibration. Temperature fluctuations, sheeting rain and strong winds. UV radiation in the Middle East. The continuous battle against the effects of salt water. The latter is a particular problem for marine machinery. Seawater is more corrosive than freshwater because of its higher conductivity and the penetrating power of the chloride ion through surface films on a metal.


Failure of equipment such as winches or cranes, or of moving parts in gearboxes, propeller shafts or steering gears can result in significant unplanned downtime, delays, lost productivity and high repair bills. Effective lubrication is the key. But effective lubrication means getting the balance exactly right between under- and over-lubrication.


“The effects of under-lubrication are wellknown: increased component wear, premature failure, higher energy usage, increased operating and maintenance costs,” says Charles Hartl, Global Product Marketing Manager Lubrication Equipment Division at Graco. “But the effects of over-lubrication can be just as harmful. It wastes lubricant, can lead to excess heat build-up, puts stress on lube points, and increases downtime. The solution is obvious: optimal lubrication.”

And that’s exactly where automatic lubrication comes in, because by providing smaller amounts of lubricant at more frequent intervals, you avoid both over- and under-lubrication.

Automatic lubrication results in extended equipment life, reduced wear and smaller maintenance bills. It can even be set up with features that detect a blocked or broken line, and then alert the operator.

Automatic lubrication on a shipyard crane

A large crane manufacturer based in Finland serves a broad range of customers, including shipyards, ports and terminals. They have been using Graco’s Trabon automatic lubrication systems for over 20 years, but more recently started using it for a ship-toshore (STS) container crane.

STS container cranes are used in shipping ports and are therefore subject to ongoing exposure to harsh outdoor weather conditions in varying temperatures and winds. Typically located on the coast, they are of course also prone to the effects of salt water. It is therefore important to have the correct delivery line sizes and feed pump, because grease pumping and metering capabilities can vary depending on weather and temperatures.

Local Graco distributor Lubritec provided the crane manufacturer with a Graco Trabon LubeMaster, a pump designed for demanding applications. The installation was complemented with MXP and MSP divider valves in their respective master and secondary configurations.

A reliable and rugged pump for moist environments

The Trabon LubeMaster is a rugged, reliable pump to lubricate all types of marine machinery. It can be driven by an electric motor or a rotating or oscillating machine motion. The output is readily adjustable.

The LubeMaster is designed to pump grease or oil efficiently at a wide range of pump cycle rates and pressures. Anti-friction drive bearings and simplified design improve pump operation and reliability. Its board output range and interchangeability of drive and mounting selections make it suitable for a wide range of marine applications. Optional high-pressure and low-level switches are available to provide protection against excessive system pressure and low reservoir lubricant levels

Five pumps per STS crane

The system implemented by Lubritec includes five LubeMaster pumps per crane. Two are mounted at the bottom of the crane – one on either side – two are mounted on top of the crane on each side, and another is mounted in the crane control room. Each pump feeds a series of divider blocks which feed the grease to the point of application. The system utilizes MSP master and secondary divider blocks on the upper part of the crane and MXP divider master and secondary valves on the bottom part of the crane.

Per crane, there are up to a total of 300 grease points. Over 100 installations on various crane models have been completed, lubricating bearings and surfaces to keep the cranes working at all costs, despite extreme conditions.

“The LubeMaster is just one example of a wide range of automatic lubrication equipment that Graco provides for marine applications, where they combat the effects of vibration, high mechanical loads, contamination and moisture,” adds Hartl. “In addition, with 3,300 Graco distributors around the world, a ship won’t be far from a port with easy access to products and spare parts.”

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Graco since 1926

Founded in 1926, Graco is a world leader in fluid handling systems and components. Graco products move, measure, control, dispense and apply a wide range of fluids and viscous materials used in vehicle lubrication, commercial and industrial settings.