When you think of lubrication excellence what comes to mind? If it’s just about a random application of oil, grease or lubricants to your equipment in order to keep it functioning then that’s not lubrication excellence. Lubrication excellence has to do with deliberately developing a sound lubrication programme for your plant or equipment in order to ensure itsreliability and long life. This would usually require a proper evaluation and analysis of your plant or equipment, its geometry and dimensions, which then provides adequate information of the ideal amount of lubrication required per time.
“The days of lubrication by just everyone and anyone are gone.”
Lubrication of machines or equipment in the industry are often taken for granted or mostly viewed as a simple maintenance task and so usually delegated to our least skilled technicians. Contrary to the impression that it’s simple, lubricating industrial equipment is actually highly detailed and complex and therefore demands excellence. People simply do not understand the fact that the people who lubricate your equipment need to be trained and certified to perform that task. The days of hiring someone off the street with no technical skills to perform lubrication tasks are gone. The days of lubrication by just everyone and anyone are gone. Failure on
Failure on an individuals part to put lubrication excellence into proper consideration would lead to a quick wearing out and ultimate failure of equipment and machines in the industry leading to a downtime in the industry and capital losses in business. Lubrication ensures that wear and tear is controlled hence prolonging service life. Each time controllable wear goes uncontrolled, an opportunity is lost to prolong service life and increase reliability hence shorting equipment life and costing your company huge cash due to downtime.
To achieve lubrication excellence, one must implement healthy lubrication practices.
SOME TIPS FOR ACHIEVING LUBRICATION EXCELLENCE:
Start with Education / Training:
If you run a company of your own or are involved in the maintenance and functioning of plants and industry equipment which requires lubrication, I encourage that you start with training. Train your Operations and Maintenance team with modern lubrication skill standards and ensure they have certified competencies. Lubrication excellence requires collaborative efforts, so training and retraining staff on the best lubrication practices would go a long way to increasing operations uptime and machines long life.
Test New Lubricant Deliveries:
Some machines and equipment are sensitive to variations in the quality of lubricant used. Variations in the quality of lubricants used can lead to disastrous consequences. When reliability is a concern, then one must be careful the quality of new lubricants used. Do not say “after all oil is oil and grease is grease”, No! Stick to one or a particular set of lubricants and be bent on quality. Having a team that runs series of tests to ascertain the quality of lubricant supplied is in your best interest. Where necessary, utilize Lube Identification Tags.
Set alarm limits:
One can put an alarm in place which would indicate that there is a shortage of lubricant. This would prevent lubricant level from dropping to a dangerous level that could lead to an ultimate malfunctioning of the machine. The alarm is such that it ensures that the oil level doesn’t go below certain limits. This would help prevent lubricant starvation. Machines don’t just need some lubricant or any lubricant. Rather, they need a sustained and adequate supply of the right lubricant. Lubricant starvation is an almost silent destroyer.
Develop an Effective Lubrication Procedure:
very few plants have lubrication procedures in place. Lubrication is not just about adding or changing oil. If one intends to extend the life of equipment then certain lubrication procedures must be developed and strictly adhered to. By following procedures, you get the right lubricant in the right place in the right amount at the right time using the right procedure. Strategy, purpose and procedure and key elements to consider when drawing out an effective lubrication procedure.
Achieve and Sustain Dry Oil:
It is necessary to have an oil room to avoid oil getting mixed up with anything else, especially water. Water destroys lubrication properties. If you want to lubricate your equipment properly, you will need a lubrication storage room that ensures all of the oil and lubricant installed in your equipment meets the SAE standards for cleanliness. Today’s lubrication room provides labelled containers for each type of oil used at your facility. There must be a filtration system that filters oil from your new drums into the containers to ensure that the oil meets cleanliness standards before it is added to your machines. Also one needs to clamp down ingression points through tight and well-managed ingression control.
Change Filters on Time:
Changing a filter too late puts the oil and machine at risk. Filters have two primary roles they perform: remove particles at the same rate that they arrive into the oil and protect sensitive machine components from contaminant invasion. As they get old, worn out or blocked by particles, it is necessary to change the filters on time.
Be careful not to over grease:
Over greasing can result in a bearing failure and high grease-consumption costs. In as much as under greasing is not good, over greasing must also be avoided. If you must use an automatic grease system proper calibration, maintenance and interval calculations must be done.