Today’s high-demand production environment can sometimes mean getting product out the door at any cost. But doing so means keeping your fluids and equipment running properly.
Some of you have machinery running 16, 18 or even 24 hours a day. Others have lifts you rely on to take care of important customers. Still others operate sumps and other equipment that need regular cleaning and maintenance. No matter the case, you need to have the operators running the line, peak performance from your machinery and reduce downtime (and downtime costs).
One solution is to outsource some of the maintenance tasks. When doing so, you’ll want an organization that utilizes a computerized maintenance management software (CMMS). These systems can centralize, track and control lubrication-related tasks for your machinery. CMMS benefits include:
- Consolidation of knowledge
- Reallocation of labor to higher value work
- Tracking fluid consumption, and
- Driving continuous improvement
As the Midwest’s leading lubricant and chemical supplier, Lube-Tech provides solutions to maximize productivity and minimize equipment downtime and maintenance costs. Using CMMS, our Maintenance 360™ offers reliability services that increase productivity and allows your people to focus on doing their work and not on maintaining equipment. “The idea behind Maintenance 360®,” stated Rich Wertenberger, Lube-Tech Business Development Manager, “is to partner with our customers to provide full-service support. We want to be able to provide their fluids but also deliver the services to make them more efficient and productive.” We’re here to help in three core areas – Preventative Maintenance, Fluid Reconditioning, and Industrial Cleaning.
Although sometimes overlooked, a preventative maintenance plan is the best way to ensure your equipment is running safely and efficiently. However, having your higher-paid qualified laborers perform time-consuming tasks such as cleaning or fluid evaluations or, worse, do repairs when the Maintenance department is too busy is probably not the best use of their time. You want your staff to focus on the job they’re trained to do. Outsourcing these tasks can help you assess your machinery, determine if any upkeep is required and enable you to stay ahead of any coolant or machine failure before it happens.
Emergency repairs are costly. Sudden, or unplanned, downtime means you’re not getting things done and your employees aren’t able to properly do their jobs. And, with the supply chain issues so many of us are facing, who knows how long it may take to get the parts needed to get the machine going again. But, by regularly having equipment inspected and evaluated, you can reduce the likelihood of emergency repairs.
All of us want increased Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF). Better MTBF means your production resources stay focused on making product, your maintenance resources stay focused on the critical work that drives productivity gains, and machinery in general runs longer.
Additionally, if you have a sump, you know how difficult it can be to properly manage it. But managing the sump is exactly what is needed to identify any potential coolant issues and eliminating downtime. Lube-Tech technicians will check and adjust coolant concentration to ensure longer tool life, improve performance and keep parts working properly. Plus, it removes that burden from the operator and allows them to do the job they were trained to do.
Lastly, a key part of a reactive maintenance program is keeping machines clean. By removing chips and contaminants on a regular schedule, the coolant in your sump can optimally machine parts. This, in turn, helps the coolant maintain lubricity and heat transfer protocols. Just as importantly, cleaning reduces odor from bacteria and fungus and reduces dermatitis and other health-related concerns.
Lube-Tech’s preventative maintenance program also features our Uptime Clean approach. This new method allows technicians to remove chips from the coolant while the machine is running, dramatically reducing air entrapment and particles in the cut zone while maximizing machine uptime.
As Mike Jordan, Lube-Tech Sales Manager, said, “The idea that machines can be cleaned while running is such a game-changer. Cleaning is so important to prevent bacterial and fungus growth, eliminating foaming and making the coolant last longer. But to be able to do it without shutting down equipment lets us do a much more complete job in removing dirt that can impact machine performance. It’s this type of preventative maintenance plan that sets us apart.”
Contaminants in oil, such as water and particles, are destructive. Fluid, component and bearing life are all reduced by dirt and other harmful contaminants. Reconditioning fluids extends the life of the fluid and better protects critical parts.
Vacuum dehydration is specifically designed to remove dissolved or emulsified water from the oil. It heats the oil while drawing a vacuum that causes the water to steam so it can be drawn out of the oil but doesn’t heat the oil so much that it breaks down.
Likewise, oil filtration removes small particles to prolong the life of the oil and keep equipment protected.
Thirdly, centrifugation works by using high gravity to force out water and large particles. The centrifuge rotates at a rapid speed and separates particles and water from the oil.
By reconditioning fluids, you can continue to re-use oil and save on both replacing the old oil and disposal costs.
Clean equipment runs better, looks better, and lasts longer. The challenge in most industrial facilities is the time and people to do the job without sacrificing production time. Lube-Tech has a team of trained personnel to disassemble, clean, and reassemble complex equipment.
Our industrial cleaning services team can perform labor-intensive cleaning work, such as removing contaminants from tanks and other specialty cleaning to minimize machine downtime, keep your equipment running better, and save you labor costs.
We’ve seen substantial success from companies who’ve outsourced lubrication services. For example, after switching to an outsourced program, a paper mill in Wisconsin saw incredible gains in productivity and significant reductions in fluid usage. By tracking and consolidating fuel use and setting up an effective preventative maintenance program, their weekly completion rate jumped 75% over a nine-month period and fuel consumption dropped from 46,000 gallons per year to 22,000 gallons per year over a four-year span.
This article originally appeared in the July/August Journal of the Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association, Precision Manufacturing.