Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication May-June 2017

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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points. Depending on the number, they may require between 70,000 to 500,000 indi- vidual lubrication tasks each year, with each task incorporating specific combina- tions of data elements. The logistical implications are over- whelming. A key reason lubrication problems remain so per vasive is that most industrial outfits attempt to manage lubrication using CMMS or enterprise asset management (EAM) solutions. Not only are these tools not designed to handle lubrication's formidable complexity, but they often involve the use of cumbersome preventive maintenance (PM) work orders that are difficult and time-consuming to create. The Serious Flaw in Lubrication Work Orders PM-based solutions are not capable of verifying that individual lube tasks are actu- ally performed. Unlike corrective work orders, which can capture task completion more granularly, most lubrication work orders generated by CMMS and EAM systems are set up on an all or nothing basis. They can't be closed until 100 percent of the tasks are completed. A typical lube work order may contain more than a hundred individual tasks. If lube techs are unable to complete a handful of work orders for whatever reason, there is no easy way to note that in the work order. Instead, the technicians have only two choices. They can choose to leave the entire work order open, even though most of the tasks have been completed, or they can check off everything as complete and hope the few missed tasks are covered next time. You can guess which option the vast majority of lube techs and maintenance managers prefer. This is how lube tasks routinely fall through the cracks. It happens far more often than most maintenance organiza- tions realize. We know this to be true by the results companies have seen when using special software designed to track lube task completion and improve the efficiency of lube sequencing routes. Plants that rely on this type of software have achieved task completion rates of 80 to 95 percent. Keep in mind that to get such results, these organizations made a concerted effort to manage lubrication properly and still failed to complete 5 to 20 percent of their lube tasks. It is anyone's guess how much higher this rate might be for facilities not currently tracking their task comple- tion. However, one thing is certain: Lube-related bearing failures continue unabated across industries. A Shift to Preventive Measures Against this backdrop of futility, a back- to-basics movement is beginning to take hold. Think of it as an old-school approach with a new technology twist. It is originating on plant floors, not in corner offices, and is driven by reliability engineers and lube techs who recognize that diagnostic systems and CMMS tools alone are not enough to make a real difference in reactive maintenance and lube-related failures. Not surprisingly, you again find the first hints of this trend in advertising. Recently, more advertisements and trade-show displays have been featuring desiccant breathers, sight glasses, contamination control solutions, ultrasonic grease guns and lube room sanitation systems. Although these are technically advanced products, they are proactive at their core. They indicate a rising demand for preventive measures. Establishing a Best-practice Lube Program Proper lubrication is 100 percent proac- tive and preventive. Organizations that have instituted a best-practice lube program significantly reduce reactive maintenance and machine failure. Following are three key steps to help create such a program in your facility: • Add lubrication-specific training to increase your staff 's knowledge and establish best practices. 10 | May - June 2017 | COVER STORY

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