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    10 Strategies for Enhancing the Lubricant Storage and Management

    Lubrication Program

    Strategies for Lubricants Storage and Management

    To maximize the value of a lubrication program, all aspects of it must be taken into account, starting from the acquisition of the lubricants to their eventual deployment.

    A professionally designed lubrication program has the potential to enhance equipment productivity and dependability and to get maximum benefits from the investment. One of the most significant and costly overlooked chances is proper lubricant storage and handling.

    Various locations are not cognizant of the risks of incorrect lubricant storage and management practices, and what eventual consequences it might have for the equipment’s reliability and lifespan. Not only is it important to have the correct amount of lubricant at the correct place and time, but it is also essential to maintain the lubricants in a clean, cool condition and correctly labeled.

    These suggestions can be used to create an outline of the most effective methods for the storage and management of lubricants:

    Design and Specifications for Lube Room Facilities

    The design of a lube room should be suitable for its purpose, secure and able to be extended, while also providing enough storage and handling facilities. The capacity of the lube room should be maximized, but with a limit on the amount of bulk oil and grease that can be stored; this will help ensure that the oils are used in a timely fashion.

    It is important to have a restricted access door to keep track of those entering and leaving the room. Additionally, there should be a visible area for incoming lubricants and a log of their deliveries. Filtration of stored lubricants should be simple, as well as the inclusion of proper safety precautions.

    Sufficient floor space should be allocated for fireproof storage cabinets for top-up containers, grease guns, etc. Furthermore, there should be a desk and computer to monitor inventory, sampling, filtration, etc. To complete the setup, there should be a separate area for bulk totes, drums, buckets, etc.

    Bulk Lubricant Storage

    Bulk Lubricants storage is the initial area to consider. This could entail anything from 10,000-gallon tanks to 55-gallon drums. It is critical to ensure that lubricants are not polluted or have additives separate to keep them in ideal form. Therefore, one must determine the amount of lubricant to store at any given time.

    In order to facilitate this procedure, some steps may be utilized, such as:

    • Estimate the rate of lubricant consumption. This could differ significantly depending on the industry and type of machinery. In order to guarantee the right amount of lubricant is kept on site, it is essential to identify the rate of consumption. A variety of elements contribute to the usage, varying from leakage to frequent drain and fill operations.
    • Estimate the Lubricants storage capacity. The number of lubricants to be stored is based on usage, but often the amount is either too small or too large. It is important to balance shelf life and have an appropriate number of critical lubricants for emergency purposes.
    • Calculate the response time of your lubricant supplier. This should be taken into account when deciding how much lubricant to keep in storage. If deliveries come frequently, it is possible to keep less in reserve, but if the time between deliveries is extended, it is important to have more lubricants on hand.

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    To decide what type of lubricant storage containers to use, one must consider the consumption rate and storage capacity. When the consumption rate is large, a bulk lubricants storage tank can be the best option. Meanwhile, if the consumption rate is low, then a rack mounted storage system or 55-gallon drums can be the most suitable.

    Lubricant storage in Drum may be the most appropriate choice for establishments with a low level of consumption.

    Accepting of Fresh Oil

    It is important to have well-defined receiving procedures to guarantee a consistent and clean environment, as incorrect methods can invite contamination and the possibility of lubricants mixing.

    It is essential to have proper filtration when receiving new oils. In many cases, these incoming oils may be more contaminated than the target cleanliness level you have set. It is a waste of resources, such as time, money, and manpower, to have achieved that standard, only to then have it contaminated by the “dirty” new oils.

    Ensuring Excellence With QC

    Quality control is essential for ensuring excellence in any endeavor. To guarantee the highest standards, it is important to consistently monitor the process and make adjustments as needed.

    To guarantee that the right lubricant is being delivered and that it is within the desired particle and moisture cleanliness levels, it is necessary to evaluate the quality control of lubricants supplied from lube suppliers.

    Oil analysis can be an effective way to examine lubricants and determine if they are complying with standards. It can provide insight into:

    • Grade of the base oils
    • Purity and amount of additives
    • Capabilities of lubricants
    • Performance of thickeners (for grease)

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    Detection of Mixed or Polluted Lubricating Fluids.

    Accurate records of oil analysis results along with any other quality assurance issues, such as damaged or rusted containers, should be thoroughly documented and organized.

    In the documentation phase, it’s important to keep the following in mind:

    • Timetable for when the oil was delivered and taken for sampling.
    • Examination of the receptacles used for lubricant storage.
    • Labels reflecting the results of the oil examination.
    • Itemized list for the sampling examination
    • Regular decontamination with filtration

    When selecting a lubricant storage vessel, it is recommended to filter the new oil while pouring it in. This will diminish the amount of contamination the oil contains, though regular filtering and stirring should be done to maintain the ISO cleanliness standards and prevent the additives from sinking.

    To guarantee that only clean, fresh oil is used for top-ups, drain and fills, it is recommended to employ periodic filtration. Two main ways for bulk stored oil filtration exist: a hard plumbed filtration system or a filter cart. This hard-plumbed system works best when paired with a rack mounted system.

    To guarantee the efficiency of the lubricants and the accuracy of the dispensed product, each container should be supplied with a breather, a sight glass, a filter, a sign indicating the lubricant type, quick connect fittings, and a dedicated dispensing line.

    To keep drum storage clean and its lubricant of good quality, a filter cart should be used with quick couplers attached to the drums. This periodic filtration is an essential step, no matter the size of the lubricant storage containers.

    Providing Alternatives for Stored Oils

    The most efficient way to filter oil when transferring it from the bulk lubricant storage system to the top-up container is to install a hard plumbed filtration system and a rack mounted storage system with dedicated dispensing nozzles. An alternative for 55-gallon drums is to attach quick connect fittings, a hand pump, an inline filter manifold breather, and a sight glass for the same purpose.

    One of the primary causes of self-induced contamination is the incorrect pouring of new oils into top-up containers. To ensure that your new, filtered oil is transferred with the least amount of contact with the atmosphere, proper techniques and tools must be used. Neglecting to do so can be a setback for the filtration processes, storage, and the cleanliness of the lubricant in service.

    Refilling and Draining with Exactness

    When the bulk storage system is put in place, the next step should be to figure out the optimal way of transferring the oil and filling machines. An ideal solution is a top-up container, a closed container that comes with a spout, a hand pump, and other features.

    If the proper protocol is not followed, all of the labor and design that went into the bulk storage system, as well as the filtration of the oil, will be nullified. It’s not uncommon for oil to be severely contaminated when poured into the top-up container and then put into the machine.

    Re-using top-up containers that are not sealable may introduce a lot of impurities to the system, potentially nullifying any attempts to keep out contaminants and potentially leading to cross-contamination with lubricants. The advantage of using washable and re-usable containers is that they are easy to clean and maintain.

    For refilling of large fluid sumps, like big gearboxes or circulating systems, the most suitable method of transferring the lubricant oil from the storage vessel to the system is through the use of filter carts.

    Storing the Right Grease Gun and Top-Up Container

    It is important to properly store the top-up container and the grease gun to ensure that they are kept in good condition.

    Organizing and properly storing items like top-up containers, grease guns, and rags is an essential measure to guarantee that the lubricants will not become contaminated from inadequate maintenance. A fireproof cabinet should be used to keep these tools in a convenient place where they can all be found quickly.

    The storage of grease is simpler than oil but should not be disregarded. Unclosed grease tubes and barrels are prone to collecting dust and lint from the air. The best practice, then, is to store used grease tubes in airtight, washable containers that can hold one tube. Used drums of grease, however, are especially vulnerable to contamination.

    Using drums of grease to fill grease guns that are opened and employed for a long period may cause contaminants to enter. To prevent this, it is best to use Velcro-style covers or snap-on caps, thus keeping the grease cleaner and making it last longer.

    Grease guns should be kept in a clean, dry and controlled atmosphere. These are precision instruments which need to be taken care of in order to ensure the highest possible level of precision and dependability. Grease guns should be routinely cleaned and inspected for proper operation, and an annual calibration should be conducted.

    To guarantee a uniform quantity of grease is being distributed with one squeeze of the gun, calibration is necessary. A postal scale is the ideal tool to measure the amount of grease released with each pump of the gun for calibration.

    The Shelf Life of Lubricants in Relation to their Lifecycles

    Staying cognizant of the shelf life of oil and grease is a must, as going beyond the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) timeline can cause the product to be ineffective or have a negative impact on its functioning. To avoid this, the FIFO (First-In, First-Out) method is highly recommended.

    The maintenance professional ought to utilize the oldest lubricants in the storage system first and the most recent lubricants last. This will make sure that the shelf life of the lubricants is not exceeded accidentally.

    It is important to take into account OEM storage limits when it comes to stocking greases and oils. The maximum lubricant storage limits for different grease types and oils can be seen in Table 1.

    The National Lubricating Grease Institute suggests that the following measures be taken for the optimum storage of grease:

    • Keep the grease in a room inside the house where there is not much dust in the air.
    • Start with the oldest container first when using it.
    • Ensure that the container lids are firmly shut.
    • Give the edges of the container a quick rub-down before opening it to make sure no dirt gets inside.
    • Prior to being utilized, lubricant should be heated until it reaches an appropriate temperature for dispensing.
    • Sanitize instruments used to manage grease (e.g. spatulas, drum pumps, etc.).
    • When a vessel that has been partially emptied doesn’t need to be used right away, any space that is not filled with grease inside the container should be filled, and the top should be leveled and made even.
    • Per NLGI guidelines, grease cartridges should be stored in a vertical position with the detachable lid facing upwards.

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    Assigning Designations and Recognition

    The tenth step involves the application of tags and labels to items, as well as the identification of them.

    The importance of correctly labeling lubricants is often overlooked when it comes to lubricant storage and handling. It is just as essential as periodic filtration, and, if not done properly, can easily lead to cross-contamination of lubricants. This kind of mixing of two different lubricants can have disastrous consequences, especially when taking place in dispensing equipment, rather than bulk lubricant storage containers.

    Labels from Oil Safe can be used to determine what is inside of a container by assigning different colors to signify the contents and adding any additional information that may be necessary.

    Implementing and maintaining a labeling system, even though the concept may be straightforward, can be challenging. It is important to decide how to mark each lubricant from bulk lubricant storage to its respective equipment, whether it be a color-coded system, an alphanumeric code system that provides performance data, or a combination of both.

    For an effective system of identification, it is important to guarantee the proper lubricant is employed in the proper place and that there will be no cross contamination. To make this possible, the labeling system must be sustained and kept up to date with all lubricants that are presently being utilized and stored.

    Noria’s LIS system is an illustration of a technical suggestion that designates the principal performance characteristics of a lubricant and assembles them into an alpha-numeric code. Each performance quality is assigned a separate section of the code. After these alpha-numeric codes are established, they can be printed and utilized in a labeling process. Due to the numerous potential alpha-numeric codes, a system that can be easily interpreted and kept up to date is suggested.

    Labeling should be a priority when it comes to appropriately storing lubricants for machines. We need to be able to recognize them in storage and also when they are in use. It is necessary to attach labels to containers, barrels, and other vessels in order to guarantee the right product is given to the right application.

    The importance of proofreading cannot be overstated; it is essential to ensure that all written work is accurate and error-free. Taking the time to go through your work and make any necessary corrections is vital for producing quality work. Careful proofreading of your writing is an effective way to ensure that you are conveying the message you want to convey.

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