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Lubrication Management - An Integral part of Asset Management - Part II

The Phases in establishing the Lubrication Program.

Benchmark: Understand the current lubrication system/practice before commencing the lubrication program. Define targets to be achieved and have a clear vision as to what needs to be carried out to have a successful program in place.

Design Phase: Identify the equipment, lubrication point to be lubricated and determine the actions/activities thatneed to be carried out. Action/Activitycould be designing and displaying lubrication chart, lubrication schedule, lubrication route, safety in applying the lubricant, procedure to apply oil whether it can be online or shutdown, provide the required standards for analysis of oil and train the personnel regarding proper& correct lubrication techniques (i.e., filtration, drains, oil sampling and top-ups). You also should ensure that the right lubricant is used in/for the right lubrication point. Though all these are defined it might still fail due to improper communication on the lubricants to be used.  This could only be mitigated by employing Lubrication Charts.

  • Lubrication Charts will guide the entire process and ensure a sustainable Lubrication system. These charts address key aspects, details and lubricant requirements of each part of application for the respective machines. They clearly lay the details of the points which require lubrication.  Below is the model lubrication chart.

Lub Chart.jpg

  • Lubrication coupled with Color coding has many advantages. Visual communication paired with good training will create an error free system. A technician lookingat the color coded chart and the color tag beside the machine would be able to use the specified lubricant. Color coding will also help in eliminating cross contamination of oil in machines which can compromise the effectiveness of a lubricant. Below is the sample color coded lubrication chart

Lubricant Consolidation: This is the byproduct of design phase where recommendation from OEM or lubricant consultant can be taken to use common oil wherever applicable. This is significant, as it gives a clear picture of the items that need to be procured, eliminates items from inventory that are unused or unnecessary, which in turn will reduce purchasing costs, zero the lubricant cross-contamination likelihood and will help the team (lubrication) understand which items/products are needed and why.

Storage and Handling: Proper storage and Handling lead to successful lubrication program. If proper storage isn't identified then there might be a risk of contamination and accessing the lube.  Proper labeling helps in communicating what it is all about.  Lubricant labels should be put up on lubricants (in storage area), equipment, grease guns, etc. From the lubrication chart displayed near the equipment will help the technician to have a look at the label on it, go to the lubricant room and find the appropriate matching label on the grease gun  or filter cart or top-up container. Ensuringthat their jobs become easier and safer.

Execution: Next step is to put into practice what we have developed. Overcome the hitches in practice and pave way for continual improvement.

Audit: Compare the implemented process with the initial benchmark to evaluate the outcome of lubrication program. Pave way for continuous improvement and redefine the bench mark to make it successful, this will ensure financial rewards and also re-enforce the fact that the decision to develop this lubrication program is worth the financial commitment.

Today, we have many good EAM systems/packages to capture all the types of maintenance activities and cater to most needs. Though, the industry is aware of the importance of lubrication, it still lacks at an execution level (especially lubrication), mainly due to improper planning and as a result we get to see frequent lubrication failure cases. This is only happening because lubrication does not feature as an integral part of asset management. This phenomenon can only be countered by monitoring lubrication management and building it as an integral part of Asset Management.

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