"Our plant will be buying new grease guns soon. What should we consider before purchasing?"

When choosing a grease gun, there are several things you should consider, including how much grease will be applied and what type of machinery will be lubricated. The most popular grease guns are the manually operated, pneumatic and battery-powered styles.

Manual grease guns (lever and pistol-grip types) are the preferred choice for low-volume greasing. They are also suitable in ultrasonic greasing programs which convert vibrations into audible frequencies to alert the technician when the right amount of lubrication has been achieved. The lever style generally will expel more grease per stroke but requires two hands, whereas the pistol-grip style can be used with only one hand.

Manual grease guns will allow you to dispense grease at slower speeds, offering more control over the amount of lubricant applied. In addition, they typically are lighter and smaller, which enables them to get into tight spaces easier.

Battery-operated and pneumatic style grease guns can prevent operator fatigue and work well where large volumes of grease are required. However, there are some drawbacks to using these types of applicators. For instance, they are not the best option for ultrasonic greasing because the control of expelled grease is limited by the machine instead of the operator. Also, if using a pneumatic style grease gun, it is not always convenient to drag an air hose around the plant.  

The important things to remember when using grease guns is to label them correctly with the type of lubricant they contain and to know the amount of lubricant they dispense per stroke. There are a variety of ways to label your applicators. Color-coded applicators use the body color to denote the type of lubricant in the grease gun. This style should also have a tag with the lubricant name inside the gun. A clear body style allows the operator to read the tube's label inside the grease gun.

To determine the amount of grease per stroke, you can pump a small volume of grease onto a scale and divide the weight by the number of strokes. You then will have an average of the amount of grease per stroke. This can also be achieved by adding a meter to the end of your applicator. With this method, you should get a more precise amount.