A stop in production can prove extremely costly. Unplanned employee and equipment interaction, increased safety risks, maintenance spending and ultimately a loss of profit. For these reasons, companies are always looking for ways to extend the life of their equipment.
Of course some are farther ahead of the curve than others...
As early as 2009, General Mills has embraced the return on investment lubrication best practices can provide. Having just completed phase one of their journey, results have already been realized. Phase one was a four-step process...
Step 1: Assessment
It is important to know where you stand before you begin. A site assessment can help companies understand where the opportunities for lubrication improvements lie and to build a business case and project plan to transform how plant personnel think, act and feel about lubrication.
Step 2: Education and Training
Technical understanding of precision lubrication is vital to successfully implementing and maintaining a precision lubrication program. Corey and his team acquired certifications in lubrication science and best practices to enlighten and empower the team.
Step 3: Lubricant Selection, Storage, Handling, and Dispensing
General Mills focused on the "Five Rights of Lubrication"
- The right type
- The right quality
- The right amount
- The right place
- The right time
Step 4: Visual Controls and Equipment Optimization
To support using the right type of lubricant in the right place, General Mills created a tagging system to designate the properties of the lubricant. This helped to prevent cross-contamination and aided the technicians when servicing the equipment.
Phase two will focus on the protection of critical assets while in service. Desiccant breathers will be installed, permanent or portable filtration solutions will be used, and condition monitoring tools will be used.