Automatic greasing system keeps jack-ups on the go, safely, sustainably & with minimal waste
Successful lubrication demands precision. Too little and you run the risk of excessive wear & tear or, worse, parts failure. Either way you could be looking at unscheduled downtime.
Too much lubrication and, at best, you’ll be wasting expensive lubricant. In the worst case, the excess lubricant will be caught on the wind or spill on deck and run into the water – undesirable at any time, but unthinkable on an environmentally conscious offshore renewables project.
When it comes to jack-ups, one solution for precision is an automatic rack and pinion lubrication system. A system that takes into account the individual requirements of each and every lubrication point. TrustLube, a specialist in the design, production, and installation of automated lubrication solutions for the maritime, mining, food, and heavy industries, has developed just such a system, explains the company’s CEO, Chiel van Daelen.
The TrustLube Lubrication System for Jack-ups is a modular system, fully scalable and customisable to meet specific requirements.
It features four dedicated pump skids – only one per leg – each operating independently. Pumps and control cabinets are installed below deck in a conditioned room, while field components are installed outside and/or in the jacking system itself.
Keeping you on the move
Designed to sustain operations in the harsh offshore conditions experienced by a jack-up, it is fabricated from robust materials such as stainless steel 316 and completely sealed to prevent dirt, water, or sand from entering.
As you may expect from a solution designed to keep equipment moving, the system requires little downtime.
“Aside from changing a filter once a year, all you need to do is carry out a visual inspection every now and then to make sure that the tubing is in good condition,” says Chiel.
A visual inspection is also all that is required to check that sufficient lubrication is in place, thanks to TrustLube’s cream-coloured Xtreme Rack & Pinion grease. The grease is specially developed to stick to steel, even under water, ensuring equipment is continually protected.
‘TrustLube is constantly innovating. That’s precisely how we intend to keep your world in motion’
Greasing the wheels
The system features a series of sprocket wheels, located on top of the jacking case. Thanks to the geometry of the teeth and the strategic placing of the grease outlets, lubricant is always evenly distributed to the teeth, providing outstanding protection against heavy loads and wear and tear.
A further key element in achieving precision lubrication is TrustLube’s in-house developed encoder. This measures the exact movements of the jacking system and enables application of the right amount of lubrication, at the right place, at the right time independent of jacking speed.
Further steps towards precision come courtesy of TrustLube’s greasejet nozzles. With these, the system can access even the most difficult to reach places.
Plus, jet nozzles avoid many of the pitfalls of a conventional spray-based system.
“If the nozzle on a conventional system becomes blocked, they either cannot spray or they spray in the wrong direction. Then, you end up with lubricant in the water or on deck. This kind of imprecision can lead to negative environmental impact and financial penalties.”
With lubricant precisely measured and accurately applied, the TrustLube system offers a significant reduction in waste. The company has compared the amount of lubrication with a conventional system.
“The results were quite surprising,” Chiel explains. “We were confident that there would a reduction in waste but were not prepared for how much. The automatic system lowers use of lubricant by well over 70% compared to a conventional system.”
A further advantage of the automatic nature of the system is that is does not require people to place themselves in harm’s way to carry out their work. A typical jacking operation requires at least three people per leg to perform manual lubrication.
“This involves working close to a series of moving parts, with obvious safety implications. Plus, there is always the possibility that grease can end up on the floor, which can then become slippery. With an automatic system, these dangers are removed from the equation altogether.”
The TrustLube system is the product of evolutionary development. It has developed over successive generations.
“The system started out with just the sprocket wheel. After a while, based on experience in the field, we added the jet nozzles.”
The evolution does not end there, however. TrustLube recently developed the ECO Applicator. This dual-purpose innovation simultaneously greases and cleans teeth tips and sides, further enhancing the lubrication system’s performance. “As with all our products, we will continue to develop this,” concludes Chiel. “TrustLube is constantly innovating. That’s precisely how we intend to keep your world in motion.”
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