Welcome back! In the first part of our Improving Equipment Reliability series we discussed three ways to improve your team’s overall knowledge and contribution to machine health.
This post is the second installment of our series and will cover "how-to" tips and implementation. We’ll look at removing the friction (literally and figuratively) from your operations by focusing on the fluids that keep production moving along.
Focus on lubrication cleanliness and contamination control
Friction is productivity’s enemy. There are two ways to deal with contamination: prevent it or remove it. While in most cases it may be important to do both, and of course to also have in place a comprehensive oil sampling and analysis program to monitor the lubricants’ condition and overall machine health, there’s no doubt that removing contaminants is significantly more costly than preventing them from the outset.
As nearly all gearboxes, reservoirs and storage tanks are designed to breathe, allowing only clean, dry air to enter the system is one of the best ways to prevent contamination.
Simply replacing standard breather/filler caps with a desiccant breather immediately prevents moisture and moves particle filtration from 40 micron to 2 micron.
U.S. Lubricants has assembled a comprehensive range of solutions to help you prevent oil contamination, and to remove it. We can also assist you in developing and implementing a Comprehensive Precision Lubrication™ program – we can also manage it on site. We can provide you the tools to monitor oil quality and help you design and implement a proper oil sampling process. U.S. Lubricants' OilChek® oil analysis services can provide you with ongoing analyses and an early warning mechanism that could help you avoid costly equipment failures and downtime, and help you extend the life of your machinery.
Commit to timely, accurate oil analysis procedures
A comprehensive and well-managed oil sampling process will provide the correct samples of lubricants to analyze while taking a bad sample can have disastrous consequences.
Used oil analysis is a scientific method for determining the condition of an oil and the condition of the system in which the oil was used. To put it another way, proper oil analysis allows you to gauge both your lubricant health and your machine health. It is very similar to the analysis of blood in humans. Certain conditions present in oil can be directly traced to abnormalities in the lubrication system, just as blood tests detect physical illness. This science can be applied to any system that uses oil as a lubricant. Problems with engine, hydraulic, gear case, and compressor systems can all be diagnosed through oil analysis.
Oil analysis allows maintenance managers to track the condition of components by trending particle counts, wear metals, or element levels in the sample and tracking the rates-of-wear of critical components. Tracking the rate-of-wear of pumps, motors, bearings, and valves allows maintenance managers to predict when a component would likely fail and schedule equipment repairs before the component actually fails. Scheduling equipment repairs, rather than reacting to a failure, allows a plant to have replacement equipment available or parts in stock and technicians on hand to minimize or avoid downtime.
Fluid analysis data trending also allows a plant to schedule preventive maintenance servicing on a schedule that best suits the company’s manufacturing load. And accurate fluid condition data allows maintenance managers to change oils and coolants only when a change is required, extending the time intervals between changes which in turn reduces maintenance costs, lubricant consumption and disposal costs, and increases productivity and machine uptime.
Next up is the last installment of our Improving Equipment Reliability series. We will be discussing tracking and adjusting to maximize your efficiency as you apply the ideas, programs, and processes shared in this series. See you then!
Download our Fluids 101 ebook to learn everything you need to know from selection to disposal.