New study finds incorrect lubrication cost manufacturers $250,000

A new study by Shell Lubricants estimates that 70% of unplanned downtime over the last three years was caused by wrong lubricant choice or insufficient lubrication management. For 20 percent of companies, this can lead to downtime costs in excess of $250,000. The report estimates that North American manufacturers could save over $38 million through better lubrication practices.

The study was carried out by Edelman Intelligence, a research firm. It surveyed 493 staff from the manufacturing industry about what influenced their purchase and use of lubricants and greases. Participants were sourced from Germany, Brazil, China, Canada, Russia, India, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

The study found an apparent gap in lubrication expertise, yet only 34% of businesses took advantage of regular visits by experts from their supplier. For example, lubricant suppliers like Mobil, whose products can be sourced through Mobil UK stockists, typically offer additional services from field-based lubrication engineers, who can often provide guidance on better lubrication selection and management, as well as equipment troubleshooting.

In addition, only 42% of companies said they had everything in place for effective lubrication management, while 63% admitted their lubrication training could be better.

Speaking about the report, Shell’s global sector manager for general manufacturing, Yin Jie, said:

“A high-quality lubricant that keeps equipment clean of deposits and effectively protects against wear can help extend equipment life and reduce frequency of breakdowns. This could help manufacturing companies significantly decrease spend on spare parts and maintenance.”