If you’ve recently established a lube room, or if you already have one but suspect it could be improved, here are a few tips for how you may be able to get more from it:
Determine your storage capacity
Preventing additive settling or contamination in lubricants is vital to good lubrication practices, and part of this is making sure you buy in the right amounts of lubricants, so they don’t sit too long. You need to base this on three factors:
• What is your rate of consumption? First, you need to analyse how fast you actually use lubricants. As a bonus, you may find instances of overuse that you can correct, such as by fixing leaks or preventing overly frequent drain and fills.
• How much do you need to store? Now you know your consumption rate, you can establish this. On the one hand, you’ll want to minimise stock to avoid items expiring, but on the other hand, you will want a certain percentage in reserve for emergencies.
• How frequently can your choice of Mobil stockists deliver? If it can supply you more frequently, you can justify a smaller lubrication inventory. If circumstances mean there is a considerable delay between deliveries, you need a larger inventory to get you between deliveries.
Consumption rate will also influence container sizes. For example, a low rate of consumption for a particular lubricant may indicate a preference for smaller containers in order to reduce the chance of contamination.
Rotate your lubricants
Inventory tracking in your lube room can help you to use your lubricants on a first-in, first-out basis, so the oldest stock is always used first.
Audit your lubricants
By performing a full audit of your lubrication, you may find you can consolidate some of your lubricants. For example, a mine in Decker, Montana found that it could consolidate its lubricants down to eight separate ones, which it then ordered in 65-gallon containers. It also reduced its greases to just six different types. By cooperating with your equipment providers and one of the many good Mobil stockists, you may discover opportunities to streamline your selection of lubricants.
Properly dispense new oil into transfer containers
Poorly dispensing new oils is a major cause of on-site contamination, so a rack-mounted storage system with a hard-plumbed filtration system and dedicated dispensing nozzles can be invaluable in delivering clean lubricants to the transfer containers with minimal exposure to environmental conditions.
Dispensing clean oil is one thing, but without adequate transfer containers, lubricants can become contaminated before they get to their destinations, especially if non-sealable transfer containers are used.
All transfer containers should therefore be washable and sealed from the environment with an integrated spout, hand pump, and so on. It’s also a good idea to colour code your transfer containers, so your operatives can easily identify the correct lubricant. As a bonus, this helps prevent different lubricants from being mixed when containers are reused too, and could form part of a larger labelling strategy to ensure the right lubricant can always be correctly identified.