Oil Mist Lubrication: What, Where, and Why?

Many times I’ve taken for granted that people know what I’m talking about. Recently I was chatting with someone and brought up what I do for work and our product, Oil Mist Lubrication. I was going on and on about the subject until the listener said, oil mist for machining parts? This got me wondering, how many people understand what I am talking about when discussing Oil Mist Lubrication? What’s my elevator speech on the what, where, and why of Oil Mist Lubrication?

What is oil mist? Simply put, oil mist is a mixture of air and oil. It looks just like cigarette smoke. However, this cool, dry contaminant-free mist is just what a bearing needs to have the all the “Rights” of lubrication; type, quantity, quality, location, and time—making for the perfect environment for prolonged bearing life.

The centrally located generator combines the oil and air producing micron size particles. Oil mist at this size can be conveyed long distances, usually 600 feet in any direction. However, this mist cannot lubricate. At the point of lubrication, the oil mist passes through a reclassifier (orifice) that meters the right amount of oil mist to the bearing and causes turbulence/a colliding of particles that now easily wets out on the bearing surface.

Where do you lubricate with oil mist? The oil mist now enters the bearing housing, passing thru the bearing. There is no longer a need for an oil sump or an Opto-Matic Oiler and the slinger ring; this is called “Pure Mist” and the oil mist is the sole source of lubrication in the bearing. However, some bearings such as journals (metal to metal) or the gearing in gearboxes still require an oil sump. The oil mist application for this equipment is called “Purge Mist.”

For electric motors, the grease fitting is removed along with the grease, oil mist is applied, and other equipment can be “purge misted,” such as cooling tower gearboxes.

Why is the beauty of oil mist, and why 100’s of thousands of pumps and motors worldwide are oil mist lubricated:

  • Up to a 90% reduction in lubricated-related bearing failures
  • Equipment purged with oil mist is reported by users to see a 40% reduction in failures
  • Significant reduction in seal failures
  • Reduction in oil usage.
  • Storage preservation; New and stand-by equipment is continually purged by oil mist
  • Fast return on investment

And there is more; however, I failed to keep my elevator speech at the required 150 words or less, but this is the best I could do and do Oil Mist Lubrication technology justice.

Please let me know if I can provide you with more info and share my experiences on how Oil Mist Lubrication can work for you and your facility.

About the Author

Keith Macaluso

Keith Macaluso

In his current role with T.F. Hudgins, an Allied Reliability brand, Keith works with clients globally to implement solutions so that their factories run smoothly.

Keith has over 40 years of experience in oil & gas and other heavy industries with expertise in oil mist and compressor lubrication systems, oil analysis, oil purification, and ultrasound technologies. Keith is a Certified Reliability Leader (CRL) and holds certification for Ultrasound Level 1.

Connect with Keith on LinkedIn.


Allied Reliability provides asset management consulting and predictive maintenance solutions across the lifecycle of your production assets to deliver required throughput at lowest operating cost while managing asset risk. We do this by partnering with our clients, applying our proven asset management methodology, and leveraging decades of practitioner experience across more verticals than any other provider. Our asset management solutions include Consulting & Training, Condition-based Maintenance, Industrial Staffing, Electrical Services, and Machine Reliability.

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