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Personnel from a large pulp and paper mill made a surprise visit to the mill oil supplier. The mill scheduled the unannounced visit for the purpose of identifying original conditions for the handling of drums and lubricants. This was an outgrowth of contamination control issues with lubricants delivered to the site.
During the unannounced inspection and audit of the drum cleaner, numerous problems with container cleaning and handling processes were uncovered.
The visit was conducted to assess oil supplier capabilities along three fronts: supplier storage methods, oil supplier lubricant delivery methods, and drum reconditioning and handling methods.
Observations on each criteria are noted as follows:
Since the audit and discussions with the supplier/distributor, the mill has seen marked improvement in cleanliness of bulk oil deliveries. All deliveries are now sampled at the time of delivery for testing at a later date, with intentions of installing on-site analysis equipment to test oils before the oils are off-loaded.
The distributor indicates that filters were installed on bulk tanks to improve the quality of lubricants stored on-site. Improvements in the methods for internal handling of lubricants and filtration of lubricants during transfer from bulk to smaller containers have contributed to significant overall improvements in cleanliness and condition of new lubricants.
Mill mechanics have been involved in these upgrades and have received training on the need for improved lubricant handling.
Recommendations from this exercise: Audit your oil supplier and drum reconditioner routinely. Establish clear parameters and work with the supplier to help them achieve the improvements that are necessary. Then, expect the oil supplier to conform to new, higher quality expectations. Continue to include mill mechanics and lube technicians, and provide training to reinforce the necessity and benefit of these new measures.