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Three best practices for lubrication maintenance

Food production plants, large-scale manufacturing firms and other industrial enterprises often require a diverse range of lubricants to be stored and used on site. Different equipment typically requires a specific oil or grease to operate at optimum.

If lubrication maintenance is not conducted efficiently, accidents and incident can easily occur. This can lead to unplanned stoppages and other operational disruptions, along with the associated costs of such circumstances.

To reduce these risks and reinforce onsite preventative maintenance, the following are some key protocols worth putting in place when it comes to keeping and using the lubricants required by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for all applications present.

Keep the right item in its correct place

Whether you’re handling lubrication products or storing them, focusing on keeping them in good order is a golden rule that must be adhered to. The lubricants that are required to keep equipment protected and running properly must always have an allocated place onsite and be easy to access.

For this system to work, a dedicated store for lubricants must be established on site. Within this area, all oils, greases, fluids and other lubricants must be labelled correctly and stacked in their groups. Colour coding products can be useful, but make certain that there is a chart in kept in clear sight for employee reference, displaying the meaning of each colour used.

In addition, ensure each kind of grease has its own dedicated sprayer, and that every oil type has a designated can. It’s vital that every refill container is kept well sealed to ensure it doesn’t get contaminated by dirt, dust and other debris. This will ensure optimum performance from lubricants stored in them, and it reduces the chance of harmful matter contaminating machinery.

Keep it clean

Always clean up routinely and reactively. A clean and sanitised storage area reduces the threat of unwanted errors and contains no lubricants that are contaminated. This will avoid increased wear occurring, which can lead to equipment disruptions.

Use professional spill kits, oil collectors and absorption materials to stop spillages and deal with accidents efficiently. Always thoroughly clean the oil store and around lubrication points on equipment.

Stick to a regimented cleaning schedule. Tidy and clean a little each day, but conduct a comprehensive clean once per week. Always ensure that a cleaning standard is firmly established and make sure there is a dedicated checklist.

Additional support procedures

It’s also important to standardise procedures and protocols so that employees understand when and how work should be carried out. Document all routines so a historical record is kept of what work has been performed. This approach makes it easier to understand situations when a problem occurs but can also inform continuing improvements.

Always have to-do lists to support continuity, listing oil changes, cleaning, machine care and lubricant analyses. Establish control procedures for labelling, cleaning and organisation of stock areas. Finally, all lubrication maintenance procedures should be kept online, where they can be easily updated and readily accessed by all.

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