As many members of the Mobil SHC Club have heard us recite many times before, there are a few basic tenets that all successful equipment maintenance and lubrication programs should follow. If managed correctly, these programs can be a lever to help operators achieve their productivity, sustainability, and profitability ambitions.
That’s why Pumps & Systems magazine recently featured an article authored by Mobil expert Mike Galloway, who is an Equipment Builder engineer with more than 30 years of experience. In the article, Mike highlights three key tenets of every good program, providing valuable insight into what operators need to consider.
We wanted to share these insights with this community. To read what Mike had to say, you can check out the original article here: https://www.pumpsandsystems.com/your-guide-successful-lubrication-program
Or, for your convenience, you can also read the full text below. We look forward to hearing what you think!
Your Guide to a Successful Lubrication Program
Industrial operators must identify opportunities to enhance success and achieve longer-term ambitions, while facing one critical challenge: maintaining reliable equipment.
When equipment fails or shuts down, an operation’s productivity suffers, damaging the bottom line and hindering operators from improving their business. While there is no silver bullet to ensure reliable performance, there are key tips that operators can follow to keep equipment running at peak productivity and push performance to a new level.
The following guidelines are equally applicable, whether operating utility-scale turbines, high-volume injection molding machines or feedwater pumps for cooling towers.
Selecting the right lubricant is an important step in maintaining equipment performance. To make the best selection, decision makers should understand equipment operating conditions, such as load requirements, operating temperatures, vibration irregularities, noise anomalies and exposure to contaminants.
These operating conditions, along with the specific application, should play a major role in selecting the right lubricants. A prime example of this is the difference between mineral-based and synthetic lubricants. While mineral-based lubricants work well in many applications, equipment operating in extreme environments often requires a synthetic lubricant specifically designed to better withstand such conditions. Enhanced oxidation stability and more consistent viscosity across temperature ranges are some benefits offered by synthetic lubricants.
In some cases, switching to a new product even when equipment is running reliably can deliver additional benefits. For example, many synthetic lubricants offer long life benefits, increasing oil drain and re-greasing intervals. This change can often improve productivity, reduce maintenance and lubrication costs, and limit human-machine interface time, ultimately making an industrial plant safer.
For example, a building materials manufacturer that relies on its screw-type pneumatic pumps was experiencing excessive bearing replacements (62 over the course of 15 months). Suspecting the bearing failures were related to high temperatures, the company’s lubricant supplier recommended using a synthetic grease formulated to resist elevated temperatures. After switching, the company reduced bearing replacements by approximately 65 percent (10 replacements over 7 months). The switch ultimately resulted in $25,000 in annual savings.
By taking time to consider their lubricant selection, operators can ensure appropriate protection for equipment and potentially improve their bottom line.
Operators can find themselves in a world of hurt if they subscribe to the “set it and forget it” mentality for their lubrication program. The same way operators keep track of equipment output and operating conditions, they should also track the performance of their lubricants. To do so, they can leverage condition monitoring tools such as UOA.
UOA is a powerful tool that measures a range of critical performance characteristics, including the lubricant’s physical properties, the presence of wear metals and potential contaminants that indicate equipment health. By reviewing these results on a regular basis, operators can identify and address impending performance issues before they become a problem. In doing so, they can minimize the potential for surprises and keep equipment running.
A water treatment plant that operates 24-hour flocculation drives and vertical turbine pump motors, which are prone to oxidation and deposit formation due to elevated temperatures, partnered with a lubricant supplier to implement a new hydraulic oil and UOA program to monitor oil and equipment condition. The change resulted in saving the plant more than $13,000 per year and reducing oil consumption by 81 percent.
By taking advantage of resources like UOA to continuously measure equipment performance, owners and operators can improve equipment reliability and drive savings to the bottom line.
A lubricant is only as effective as the filtration system that keeps it clean. Proper filtration is critical to preserving equipment cleanliness and enabling lubricant peak performance.
Here are a few things to consider when searching for the right filter:
Operators can often work with their original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or lubricant supplier to help with filter selection.
Improper handling and storage of lubricants can greatly reduce the effectiveness of the product, increase the chances of misapplication, create fire or safety hazards, and turn once-safe lubricants into unusable waste. By keeping lubricants away from potential contamination and degradation, operators can better ensure optimal performance in the application and minimize equipment issues.
To achieve measureable results in productivity, safety and sustainability, operators should:
Operators should ask their lubricant supplier for help in identifying any gaps or improvement opportunities in their storage and handling procedures, and to ensure all personnel are properly trained. Proper lubrication is fundamental to equipment performance, but it is also much more.
Robust lubrication programs not only protect equipment in accordance with OEM recommendations, but also deliver benefits that help operators achieve their broader business ambitions and improve their bottom lines.
excellent article. it gives important insights.
Excelentes consejos para poder incrementar la confiabilidad en los equipos.
excellent information on the guide to have a successful, thank you so much
Excelente información sobre la guía de tener un programa de lubricacion exitoso con los equipos,con los 4 consejos que nos da para que el lubricante dure y no tengamos problemas en la producción,así como el cuidado del sistema y el lubricante,gracias.