If someone gives you an option between two products: one standard option and one customized option, it’s only natural that our instincts tell us the custom option costs more. From customized license plates to custom suits, and just about every custom project in the manufacturing industry, we’ve gotten used to paying extra for something that’s tailored to meet our specific needs. Even when it comes to lubrication, plant managers have to choose between standard, off-the-shelf fluid options and custom-blended fluids, and in many instances, don’t even consider the custom choice.
While some customized products these days offer no added benefits other than style, custom blended fluids aren’t one of those products. Though they usually come with a higher upfront price (but not always), custom blended fluids aren’t necessarily more expensive than off-the-shelf products when you consider the long-term cost savings. Because custom blended fluids are designed for your specific needs, in many cases, they actually save your company money by improving your efficiency and decreasing wear on your machines.
Before you rule out custom fluids for being too expensive, consider these 5 potential ways that a custom blended fluid can help save you money:
1) Lower Waste Rates
Though custom blended fluids often have a higher sticker price than their off-the-shelf counterparts, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, custom fluids are actually less expensive upfront when off-the-shelf products provide more than what you need. For example, a chemical manufacturing client of ours was using light duty hydraulic oil in vacuum pumps. Due to the nature of this manufacturing process, this resulted in a lot of chemical vapors, which degrade the oil and force the manufacturer to dump their vacuum pump oil every 45 minutes to two days. To help reduce the cost of the oil, because the vapors are bound to ruin it anyways, we simplified the fluid by removing all the components they didn’t need, which resulted in savings of $15,000 per year.
2) Fewer Disposal Costs
Because oils can be so damaging to the environment, there are strict laws and regulations for disposing your oil, and costly fees to ensure that it’s safely and properly disposed of. By using an oil that’s specifically formulated to work in your machine, however, you can maximize the longevity of the oil’s useful life, meaning less fluid for you to dispose of. For instance, a common issue for some plants is short coolant life due to the presence of tramp oil in the fluid. To solve this problem, look for MRO fluids that more readily separate from your coolant, and do so more quickly. Follow this with the implementation of proper equipment (such as skimmers and coalescers) to remove the tramp oil, and you can extend coolant life and thereby reduce waste and disposal costs.
3) Fewer Varieties to Stock in Inventory
In some instances, custom blended fluids provide you the opportunity to consolidate several fluids with different functions into one, multi-purpose fluid. Not only does this help reduce your spending on lubricants, but it also creates more storage space, makes the ordering process easier, and helps prevent fluid mix ups during the refill process. Why keep three fluids on hand when one could do the same job?
4) Reduced Maintenance Costs
Because custom blended fluids are formulated to work their best under your machines’ typical operating conditions, that means they’ll prevent wear and downtime better than an off-the-shelf fluid. Less wear and strain on your machine means lower maintenance, labor, and replacement part costs, which can really add up over time. Though an off-the-shelf product might be enough to “get by,” a custom blended fluid truly prevents damage from happening, and you’ll notice the difference in your bottom line.
5) Improved Operational Efficiency
Just as custom fluids are specially formulated to work at their best under your machines’ typical operating conditions, your machines are designed to be most efficient when they’re operating with the ideal oil in their system. More reliable machines and less machine downtime means your machines can get more done—helping increase productivity and improve your plant’s efficiency.
As you can see, there are many reasons why you shouldn’t ignore custom-blended fluid solutions, despite what previous misconceptions you might’ve had. If you’re looking to learn more about the different ways a custom fluid could help your plant save money and increase efficiency, look no further than U.S. Lubricants! As a full-service supplier, we offer the technical support & agility that large manufacturers simply don’t have—allowing us to create and reformulate fluids quickly when needed. In addition, there is no cost for creating a custom blend or testing the fluid with us; you only pay for the fluid itself, and none of the development. Whether you need 100 gallons a year to 100,000, we’ll make sure we work within your parameters, even if it’s a small quantity.
To learn more about how U.S. Lubricants can provide a custom blended fluid for your applications contact Tony Springer at TSpringer@uslube.com or by phone at (800) 490-4900 ext. 8823.