Best Practices for Lubricant Storage and Handling Prevent Deterioration

You are paying top dollar for the best possible lubricants and are confident they will provide great protection for your industrial machinery. They probably will—provided you follow best practices for lubricant storage.

                TestOil Lubrication Field Engineer Dwon Ruffin explains that there are several areas of lubricant storage that can lead to degradation. “The first and most common aspect would be contamination.  This can consist of things such as water, dirt, metals, process contaminants, salts, acids, and anything else present in the air in the immediate environment. Reducing exposure to these contaminants during storage is the key to protecting stored lubricants from degradation.”  

                Dwon adds that, while there are many variables such as the facility layout, processes and environmental factors that are often overlooked, there are three primary areas of concern:

                1.  The storage environment

                2.  The type of containers and sealing mechanisms  

                3.  The type of fluid transfer devices, support equipment, and associated practices

                While all three of the above areas are important, the one that is most frequently overlooked is the third. “The cause is often prehistoric practices that lead to not only degradation but bacteria issues and particulate and cross contamination problems,” Dwon advises. “When you consider that cross contamination can also lead to lubricant degradation, a $25, 2-minute fix, can prevent an expense of $250,000 or more.”

                Contamination during storage at the customer’s facility is compounded when it arrives from the distributor contaminated (this is very often the case). Because of this, Dwon says he would almost always recommend testing prior to use. “Sometimes, oil will sit for so long that the formulation has been changed and new information may be available that wasn’t prior to storage. However, in some cases, the amount or volume of oil coming in and going out may require random spot checks as opposed to testing every type and every batch.”

                Dwon’s final bit of advice is that every site should have at least one onsite lubrication program audit performed by an expert every other year or so. He concludes, “It is unbelievable how often, during a Root Cause Analysis, many of these neglected simple best practices have been contributors to a failure. These things add up over time with several small issues leading to one big event.”

                For more information on working with TestOil for oil analysis and onsite visit options, visit www.testoil.com. Contact: 216-251-2510; [email protected].                 With more than 30 years of experience in the oil analysis industry, TestOil focuses exclusively on assisting industrial facilities with reducing maintenance costs and avoiding unexpected downtime through oil analysis program implementation. As industry experts in diagnosing oil-related issues in equipment such as turbines, hydraulics, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and diesel generators, TestOil provides customers with a guarantee of same-day turnaround on all routine testing. TestOil PRO certified lubrication professionals educate the industry on oil analysis through public and private onsite training. These highly experienced professionals provide a variety of onsite services; from collecting oil samples to conducting failure analyses to writing work orders. For more information on partnering with TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit https://testoil.com. Contact: Michael Barrett 216-251-2510; [email protected]

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