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Changing lube suppliers? Here’s what you must do

Changing from one lube supplier to another can be a daunting task because you quite simply do not know what you are going to get or how things are going to pan out. It is for that reason that so many people put off making a change, but it really can pay to bite the bullet in terms of improved lubricant quality and better prices.

Ensuring a happy outcome

If you want to transition to a new lube supplier, perhaps to take advantage of lower prices for Shell, Fuchs and Exxon products, you will want to do all you can to make the move a success, and this means that you have to be proactive.

One of the most important things you will have to do is establish the lube requirement for every piece of equipment you use, taking into account the following:

• Speed
• Load
• Machine design
• Operating environment

We know that it is not always easy to obtain this information, but it really is important to have an accurate picture, rather than a best guess because this is what will enable you to get your machinery running at its optimum best.

When determining lube requirements, you must remember to take into account any service modifications that have been made to the equipment over the years.

Reviewing brands and supplier

Once you know your lubricant requirements, you should certainly take some time to reacquaint yourself with lube brands and suppliers, so you know what is available and what is affordable. It is a good idea to bring in a professional tribologist to help you determine which lubes and suppliers would be the best fit for you and your equipment, so that you have no problem purchasing lubricants that have the exact properties required for all of your machinery.

Migrating

Once you have chosen and established a new supplier and new lubricant products, you will need to think about a migration plan. This must be tightly managed and transparently documented so that the right lube is allocated to the right application, based on technical requirements.

At least some of your machinery will need to be drained before it can be refilled with new lubricant, and some will need to be drained and flushed before being refilled, whereas some can simply be added to with new lube as and when needed. You will need to determine what course of action is most appropriate for each piece of equipment and clearly label each machine so that mistakes are not made.

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