Skip navigation

Pump ensures squeaky wheel gets the grease

Funny thing about hydraulic systems they never work alone.

Hydraulically powered grease pump taps into a system's existing hydraulic system for power and keeps bearings supplied with a steady supply of lubricant.

Funny thing about hydraulic systems — they never work alone. They're always hooked up to something else. . . and that something else usually includes journal bearings. Furthermore, most machines that use hydraulics use multiple cylinders. Therefore, they use multiple journal bearings, which need to be greased.

The challenge, then, is how to grease bearings distributed throughout a machine. One way is to have a technician climb around and a machine to service the grease ports manually. This method is not very effective at keeping the bearings greased, it takes valuable time, and it can even be unsafe.

A better way is to run grease lines from a central location to each grease port, and push the grease to each location with a compressed air-driven pump. This method provides a more consistent means of lubrication, rather than the "feast or famine" method of manual lubrication.

However, the technique requires installing an air compressor on the machine. This not only takes up valuable space, but introduces an additional maintenance burden.

The best possible solution may be that offered by Alemite Corp., Fort Mill, S.C. Alemite's new 8600 series pump is hydraulically powered. According to Alemite's Amy Ebelhack, the 8600 taps into a machine's existing hydraulic system to drive a hydraulic motor that, in turn, drives a gerotor-type grease pump. The motor actually turns a hollow shaft that drives the grease pump, which is mounted inside the bottom of the grease chamber. From the pump, grease flows into the hollow drive shaft and exits from the upper end of the shaft, where it is distributed to the various parts of a machine.

A 24-V dc solenoid valve controls flow of pressurized hydraulic fluid to the motor, so hydraulic power is used only when needed. Pressure and flow regulators help ensure that the pump delivers just the right amount of grease.

Because it is powered by hydraulics, the 8600 tolerates heavyduty use and provides years of reliable, consistent performance. It also eliminates the expense, space, weight, and required maintenance of an air compressor. The high power density of hydraulics also makes the 8600 smaller and lighter than air-or electric-driven pumps. Furthermore, it can operate at low temperatures without icing, which can occur at exhaust ports of compressed-air driven components.

Contact Alemite Corp. at (866) 425-3648, or visit

TAGS: Construction