Lube Room Essentials and Best Practices

Noria Corporation
Tags: lubricant storage and handling

"We are in the process of constructing a new lube room and would like to know what should be included."

Generally, a well-equipped lube room will contain the following items:

  • Drum storage racks (properly designed and built to hold several drums)
  • Oil and grease transfer pumps
  • Drum taps and faucets
  • Grease guns and oil cans
  • Portable equipment such as lubrication carts, sump drainers, air-powered grease guns, used oil-reclaiming systems and filter carts
  • Maintenance supplies such as wiping rags, grease fittings, spare filters and reservoir screens, absorbent materials to control spills and well-maintained lockers for their storage
  • When appropriate, a bulk tank or tanks for storage and delivery of primary oils or greases
  • Purification systems or reclaimers to recondition used oils, soluble oil mixing equipment and solvent tanks for cleaning parts

It seems redundant to say that oil and grease dispensing equipment must be kept spotlessly clean, but unfortunately many plant facilities and mobile equipment operators place very little, if any, emphasis on the cleanliness of stored lubricants or their dispensing equipment. These careless attitudes cost industry hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in contamination-related equipment failures.

At the very least, the following guidelines must be applied to reduce the problems associated with contamination of lubricants and dispensers during equipment servicing operations and storage.

  1. All devices used to transfer or install lubricants must be kept thoroughly clean at all times, and each device must be thoroughly wiped and inspected just prior to its use. This includes oil cans, dispensing pumps, grease guns and tools.
  2. Each container or dispensing device must be clearly identified and marked for its use, and it must only be used for the purpose for which it was intended to avoid the inadvertent mixing of incompatible oils or the installation of the wrong oil. Maintenance and operations personnel must be trained in these areas of equipment care.
  3. Contrary to common practice, all oils should be pre-filtered prior to installation into an equipment reservoir or sump. A portable fluid purifier or filter cart can be used for this purpose. The filters used must be rated at a minimum of 5 or 6 microns absolute and must be of the absorbent depth type.

If lubricants are dispensed from a stationary bulk oil tank, the outlet lines must contain similar filter installations. The filters used should have monitoring devices installed, such as flow meters or pressure gauges, to indicate when the filter is plugged.

Pre-filtering of oil is now being recommended by equipment manufacturers and oil suppliers, and oil cleanliness is a factor in many equipment warranty programs.

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