In 2000, Premcor Refining (now Valero) began seeking ways to reduce machinery and equipment failures, which resulted in a lubrication reliability department dedicated to the development of programs for identifying poorly functioning equipment and determining the root causes of substandard equipment performance.Establishing a Program
John established policies and procedures leading to the formulation of a lubrication program that would accomplish the goal of reducing lubrication failures. The challenges were met through lubrication training, an on-site oil analysis laboratory, identification criteria for determining and selecting quality base oils and finished lubricants and partnership with a premium lubricant and fuel supplier. Special attention was given to the potential supplier's capabilities related to product quality, availability, storage, delivery procedures, cleanliness, contamination control, applications and overall quality assurance.Lubricant Survey
Developing a comprehensive lubrication training program by the two companies for refinery employees.
Establishing a lubricant sampling and testing program supported by an in-house oil analysis laboratory.
Establishing lubricant quality control metrics targeting contamination control and product cleanliness.
Implementing formal reporting and documentation procedures for measuring targeted goals for lubrication excellence.
Changes in lubricants and lubricant formulations to accommodate new or modified equipment components.
Immediate cost savings and benefits were realized upon utilizing the lubrication program on rotating equipment throughout the refinery, including fans, compressors, electric motors, pumps and turbines. Within four years, equipment downtime had dramatically reduced, rotating equipment failures decreased by one-third, pump failures were reduced by more than 50 percent, and Valero reported savings in excess of one million dollars!Continuing Lubrication Excellence
Clearly defined lubricant specifications per individual application
Targeted cleanliness levels (particle counts) for equipment components
Open communication and interaction with Chevron, the lubricant manufacturer
Scheduled lubricant and fuel deliveries with trained, dedicated and quality-conscious Hurt Company drivers
Customized bulk lubricant storage tanks equipped with filters and desiccant breathers
Labeling and tagging every lubrication point within the refinery
Daily technical support from assigned Hurt Company CLS and maintenance personnel
Root cause failure analysis
Routine KPI reports on product volumes and cost trends
On-line lubricant purification on operating equipment by Fluid Reliability Services (FRS), a division of The Hurt Company
High-velocity flushing and lube oil system cleaning and decontamination by FRS
John Gobert and his fellow reliability and maintenance professionals were successful in their goal of establishing a best-in-class status for lubrication procedures and practices in the Valero Refinery. The Valero reliability department is continuing to meet its goals for increased reductions in equipment failures, repairs and costs.
John Gobert has recently retired and joined the staff of The Hurt Company as an equipment reliability specialist.