How you store oil, greases and other lubricants can have a significant impact on their longevity. This makes identifying the best storage solutions absolutely essential for any enterprise operating mechanical equipment.
While the storage of lubricants may fall far down the list of most companies’ priorities, making savings on stock that lasts longer can result in long-term financial benefits. Industrial lubrication from leading manufacturers like Shell and Mobil typically comes with detailed instructions of how it should best be stored, but it’s up to individual firms to adapt this guidance to the storage they have available.
In the following passages, we’ll look at a number of ways lubricants can be stored on site safely and efficiently.
Labelling your lubricants
An easy but essential part of retaining accurate lists of all the lubricants you use is to clearly mark all of them. Accurate tagging is a vital step, as many greases and oils appear entirely similar to one another. This can be a critical factor when a lubricant may be hazardous to skin or eye contact, or if it is extremely flammable when exposed to certain temperature conditions.
Furthermore, these stored materials may be kept for long periods of time. The staff who first record the arrival of lubricant stock may have moved on by the time it is used, and therefore will not be available to offer information on request. To ensure anyone on site can identify stock, having legible, accessible and comprehensive records of all lubricants on site is essential, which will also avoid mishaps and keep workflow moving efficiently.
Keeping track of expiry dates is also critical, as stock can be retained for too long and degrade naturally over time. Correct labelling will make sure your stock of lubricants turns over effectively, so you get the most from your bulk purchases.
Using a colour coding system
Differentiating your onsite lubricants shouldn’t be complex. A simple but effective system, using colour-coded containers can be a cost-efficient method of organising the variety of lubricants you use on premises. For example, any oils that have the potential to be hazardous could be kept in red containers, so staff know careful handling is essential. Don’t simply rely on colour – add clear to read distinguishing marks as well to mitigate mistakes made by colour blindness and container colours fading over time.
Select your lubricant storage options with care
As a rule, large drums of lubricant should be kept indoors in an environment that is dry, stable and has a moderate temperature. Unfortunately, indoor storage is not always available for operation, and enterprises turn to outdoor solutions instead. Oils kept outside will be more at risk from the elements, particularly fluctuations in temperature or exposure to contaminants that can lead lubricants to degrade in quality. If outdoor storage is the only option available, work hard to ensure your lubricants are given appropriate shelter, and leave hardier solutions outside and less durable options in your indoor warehouse space.
Wherever you store your lubrication solutions, make sure the area is kept clean at all times and any spills are attended to immediately.