All types of machinery with moving parts require lubrication to ensure smooth operation and prevent wearing of moving components due to friction. Grease guns are the easiest devices to use for equipment and machinery lubrication, and they can apply grease and other types of lubrication even to the hard-to-reach parts of machinery. To use a grease gun, you have to load it correctly. The process looks easy to most people, but if done incorrectly, locked air can prevent grease from being dispensed, and this can be quite frustrating.
Types of grease guns
It is essential to understand that there are different types of grease guns. They are loaded in the same way, but the mode of dispensing lubrication is different. There are manual, pistol, handgrip, and air-powered grease guns.
- Manual guns: Also known as lever grease guns, these are by far the most commonly used ones. They have a lever that's manually operated using both hands to dispense the grease.
- Pistol guns: These have a trigger which allows one hand operation when pumping out the grease.
- Handgrip guns: in handgrip grease guns, you have to use your hands to pump the grease manually out through the nozzle. Operator fatigue is common, especially when you need large amounts of grease.
- Air-powered guns: these are pneumatic grease guns which are quite powerful and should only be used by experienced individuals. They are not suitable for DIY lubrication and are usually for commercial purposes.
Once you identify the ideal grease gun for your needs, it is essential to load it correctly for efficiency. Here are some tips you can follow.
- Pack the grease gun head
Fill the grease gun with grease before replacing the cartridge to prevent air locks in the cartridge. To do this, pull back the plunger on the gun and secure it using the latch. With a screwdriver, unscrew the gun head and pack it with grease. If there is any old grease remaining in the cartridge, scoop it and pack it on the gun head.
- Replace the grease cartridge
After this, insert a new cartridge into the barrel and ensure that it is properly seated on the head. Back the cartridge off a little and release the spring tension to let out any air locks. Once you are satisfied that no air is trapped in the barrel assembly, screw in the gun head.
- Release the plunger
After the gun is loaded, unlatch and release the plunger. This will pressurize the grease tube so that when the level, grip, or trigger is operated, depending on the type of gun, the grease will flow smoothly. It's okay to have a little grease leak when replacing the plunger.
Always use a new grease cartridge when loading your gun to avoid contamination of the grease from metal slivers in used cartridges.