A key component to optimizing the life of your equipment is the lubricant you use. Whether you have large hydraulics, fixed rotating equipment or a fleet of construction machinery with engines and hydraulics; your business runs on a thin film of oil. The oil you use can mean the difference of years of operational bliss or frustrating downtime. While the oil viscosity and type is critical, the cleanliness of your lubricant is also essential and often overlooked as a part of your preventative maintenance program.
Clean oil is an absolute must if you are trying to get the maximum life out of your equipment. One thing to consider and understand is that new oil is rarely clean. Oil coming out of the typical drum is usually 3-4 times more contaminated than OEM specifications for hydraulics or bearings. When you consider the path that oil follows to get to your equipment, it makes sense. Starting at the refinery, through the blend facility and into packaging, a drum is then stored and shipped to a warehouse where it breathes in the ambient air and humidity all through the process. Once it reaches your site it may be stored inside or outside and is subjected to your plant or construction site environment. The process of oil going from refinery to the distributor or the shelf you buy from can increase the contaminants in your oil exponentially.
Understanding the potential for new oil to already be more contaminated than your OEM recommends is important because over 50% of all component failures are the direct result of fluid contamination from dirt and foreign particles.
As a rule of thumb, when you are investing in oil, you should also invest in good storage and handling practices including filtration, dedicated hoses and pumps and further reliability services focused on keeping contaminants out or removing them once they are found in your bulk storage or operating equipment. Oil testing and filtration is as important as the oil itself. One without the other dooms your equipment for premature failure, even if you are using premium quality oils.
Not sure if oil filtration is really worth it? OEMs and Major lubricant manufacturers are working now more than ever to educate their end users about the impact of cleanliness on their equipment and are stepping up programs around warranty claims and pre-filtered lubricants to optimize their products to their customers and minimize unwanted repairs and downtime.
The benefits of oil filtration are numerous. The removal of dirt, debris and wear particulate increases the purity of the oil and in turn slows the rate of mechanical wear and increases the life of the oil. With tighter tolerances and more demand on every piece of equipment you own, oil quality and cleanliness will be of paramount importance to keep your business running and profitable.
Who provides these services?
Typically there is a choice to make when it comes to improving your lubricant storage and handling and that is going with a Do It Yourself (DIY) program or outsourcing it to a company that will provide full service and support. Like most things, a combination of both of these will provide you the best results with buy in from your maintenance team and access to knowledgeable experts in the field. Several products companies provide storage and handling systems that can be designed for your specific application that include filtration, tanks, transfer pumps and contamination control products. There are a smaller number of lubricant providers that can deliver oil that already meets your OEM cleanliness targets. There are also Service companies that will bundle these offerings and work with you to provide a turn key option for setting up a lubricants program.
When looking at your business, you will want to look at the criticality of your equipment and gain an understanding of where you are today. Determining if the oil in your operating systems and reservoirs are currently meeting the OEM cleanliness specification will help guide your decision on where to focus on improvements.
NEW doesn’t mean CLEAN and CLEAN is CRITICAL. If you are looking for a way to impact the life of your equipment a focus on meeting your OEM cleanliness specifications can have a lasting impact on your overall business profitability.
RelaDyne is the Nation leading distributor of premium lubricants and industrial and automotive products and provider of a full range of Reliability Services. RelaDyne’s PetroClean program encompasses oil filtration and our PetroClean Lubricants – pre-filtered oil delivered to your facility or reservoirs – are just a few of the many services we offer our customers for their benefit.
Interested in how RelaDyne can help you extend your equipment life through reliability services? Contact us today for a Cleanliness Evaluation on your existing bulk tanks and operating reservoirs.