Lubricant cleanliness can be increased through the improvement of your storage and handling program. By doing this, you can eliminate the ingression of contaminants into new lubricants and therefore eliminate ingression of contaminants into a component through new lubricant additions.
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You Should Always Filter New Oil
When we hear “new,” we think of products that are crisp and fresh—like a car just off the lot or a laptop computer still in the box. But that’s not what your new oil or machines are like. One of the most common misconceptions in maintenance and reliability is that the new oil we buy is clean enough for immediate use. New oil from drums or bulk deliveries usually contains anywhere from 2 to 20 times the amount of particles that is acceptable for most lubricated equipment.
From the point of delivery to each subsequent lubricant transfer, the ISO code potentially increases by at least one grade — the equivalent to doubling, and in some cases tripling, the amount of contaminant in the oil.
Store Your Oil in the Right Place
Once your oil is filtered to the correct level, the battle to keep it that way begins immediately. One overlooked source of contamination is storing oil in the wrong place. Space inside a facility is often at a premium, but when you store oil outside, changes in surrounding temperature cause air to enter and exit the drum—and with it, moisture. If the drum is uncovered, dirt can settle on it, and small particles can enter the drum along with the air. Move oil storage to a custom designed Lubrication Storage & Handling Room, the lubricant’s sanctuary from a harsh plant environment. The “Lube Room” provides a dedicated storage area where lubricants can be adequately prepared and maintained for service. This includes a place to pre-filter, store, and kit for routine preventive maintenance tasks. It also provides a method for usage control.
Case Study: Basic American Foods
Basic American Foods recognized that their Blackfoot plant was in need of a dedicated lubricant storage and handling process and products to support their reliability program goals. At a high level, the 70-year-old facility was losing money with monthly shutdowns and annual equipment rebuilds. Their goal? “To make it all last longer, and reduce overall costs.”