Slick moves: New lube room tools and tips

Sheila Kennedy says keep it clean, folks: How to help prevent lubrication contamination.

By Sheila Kennedy

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Lubricant contamination is a hazard to the lifecycle of lubricated parts. Improper handling and storage can introduce contaminants to the lubricant before it ever reaches the equipment. The lube room itself may be the source of such problems. A variety of tools and techniques are available to mitigate this issue, and continuing education is required to stay on top of the options.

Build and maintain expertise

Those responsible for lube room decisions first need a solid background in the latest tools and best practices. Regular lubrication training and certification is the best way to stay current on lubricant reliability and contamination control topics. Companies such as Lubrication Engineers offer public and private training options.

“Personnel responsible for the lubrication of plant assets need a basic understanding of the detrimental effect dirty oil can have on the operating life of those assets,” says Paul Llewellyn, asset reliability education manager at Lubrication Engineers. “Often times, the imminent failure of an asset starts in the same area where the so-called new oil is kept. Build a reliable lube room, and you will increase the life and performance of the lubricant and equipment exponentially.”

Advanced Machine Reliability Resources Inc. (AMRRI) offers certification and reliability-focused instruction in classroom settings, self-paced online courses, and live web-based training. “There is a strong trend toward improving the protection of stored lubricants and the cleanliness of lubricants during the handling and application process. It reflects the growing awareness of what machine owners need to do to protect the productive capacity of their machines,” says Mike Johnson, president of AMRRI.

“Manufacturers are getting better at understanding the degrees of lubricant contamination and how it impacts them negatively and (are) moving toward prefiltering and proper storage of lubricants to avoid corrupting the new lubricant from the point in time that it’s delivered, through when it goes into the machine,” adds Johnson.

Implement the right tools

Integrated storage systems facilitate the storage and dispensing of clean and dry oil. The Polytank Lubricant Storage System (POD) from Lubrigard takes a multipronged approach. PODs use desiccant breathers to protect oil tanks from particulates and moisture in the surrounding air, and also provide filtration during storage.

“Oils are filtered at the transfer, oils in the tanks are then circulated and filtered, and oils are also filtered at the dispensing stage of operation,” says Paul Dumont, vice president at Lubrigard. The POD is also designed to fit in tight spaces. Customers are able to reduce the amount of floor space needed to store oils thanks to the stackability of the tank system layout.

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