While maintenance personnel in plants across Canada top off or fill systems with new oils everyday, the objective of maintenance activities is to positively impact the life and performance of industrial equipment. Unfortunately, many maintenance technicians use chemically-depleted and contaminated lubricants. Plant managers must identify factors that cause contamination. When thoroughly analyzed, maintenance experts concluded that in-plant lubricant storage and handling is one of the leading reasons why lubricants get dirty.
Like valves, bearings and gears, Industrial lubricants are also a critical part of your equipment. Would you install a dirty or damaged bearing on one of your pieces machinery using the wrong technique or tools? Using dirty oils is as bad as using a damaged part in your machinery. This is why proper in-house lubrication handling and storage is the first step towards achieving lubrication excellence.
When it comes to establishing a healthy lubrication program, you need to do more than just finding the right oil. Establishing a lubrication program means managing lubricants from delivery and handling to storage and application.
Oils are packaged in various forms to satisfy storage facilities and a variety of consumption rates. Drums, totes, pails, and bulk tanks are commonly used for industrial lubricant packages. You must choose the right packaging that suits your application. The following factors will help you make the right choice:
- Determine average consumption rate
- Additional stock to manage delivery delays and emergency refills
- Vendor’s standard delivery time
- Your storage facility space
- The environment and condition of your storage facility
Depending on your location and lubricant type, average delivery can take from one day to a few weeks. You need to understand the typical delivery time when calculating lubricant storage volumes. You can talk to your industrial lubricant company to make accurate estimates on delivery time. The quicker the delivery, the less you will need to store. Your storage facility space is also a key factor when developing a lubricant storage strategy and determining package types. It’s an industry best practice to ensure a first-in/first-out (FIFO) inventory system to avoid issues such as expired oils.
The condition of your facility not only impacts your lubricant storage strategy, but it also determines the health of your equipment. For example, storage environment in your facility greatly affects shelf life of lubricants. Therefore, your storage room must be dry and clean with a stable, moderate temperature. Proper storage racking is also crucial when it comes to ensuring clean oil. Moist and dirty environments coupled with fluctuating temperatures seriously affect the expected shelf life of your oils.
Lubrication identification and delivery
Lubricant mismanagement leads to cross-contamination and uncertainty. To make life easier, label all drums for proper lubrication identification. Labeling methods that wear out or are not legible must be avoided. Color coding is a simple and effective labeling technique that simplifies the process and helps you avoid misapplication.
Lubrication handling and storage has a massive impact on your operational efficiency. So, make sure to consult a maintenance company to design a practical and effective lubricant handling and storage strategy. If you’re in Edmonton, feel free to contact Micro Lube, a full-service maintenance company where we provide premium lubrication solutions to a wide range of industries. Contact us for more details!