What is a Machinery Lubrication Engineer?

Noria Corporation

A Machinery Lubrication Engineer (MLE) is a special designation. MLEs are “real-world” lubrication and reliability experts. Their knowledge is not limited to books, scientific research, mathematical models, tribology journals or formulation chemistry. Instead, MLEs are hands-on professionals who practice in their field, who have learned more from experience than theory and who focus more on the practical than the abstract.

Through studying and testing, qualified candidates can earn the right to hold this prestigious title of Machinery Lubrication Engineer (MLE). Unlike other exams and certifications related to lubrication and lubricant analysis, the MLE stands alone as the highest professional designation in our industry. It also has a more holistic purpose.

Those interested in training with Noria to prepare for this certification have the option to train in a virtual classroom with Noria experts or through on-demand recordingsLive, in-person training associated with this certification is held a few times per year as well.

Many know that the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) was organized to serve practitioners in the lubrication field, especially maintainers of lubricated mechanical machinery. So, it makes sense that the MLE would have a similar focus and purpose.

Figure 1. The breadth and depth
of knowledge to become certified as a Machinery Lubrication Engineer.

Responsibilities of a Machinery Lubrication Engineer

An MLE is a professional with extensive training and experience. Certification validates competency, which is why it's common for MLEs to hold other certifications such as Certified Maintenance & Reliability Professional (CMRP), Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT), Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA), Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS) or Certified Reliability Engineer (CRE).

Most MLEs will pursue a management path, but others may prefer more technical jobs like staff engineer, consultant or advisor. In a typical plant, the MLE likely will have task responsibility over technicians, analysts, inspectors, operators, millwrights and others performing a wide range of lubrication-related work.

An MLE is a professional with demonstrated competencies in the 24 body of knowledge subject areas. The complete BoK and domain of knowledge can be found at ICML Online.

Skills and Knowledge

Carefully read the MLE responsibilities listed below. The skills and knowledge needed to perform the jobs on the list are extensive and run deep. In an age of Industry 4.0, Maintenance 4.0, lean manufacturing and asset management, it would be foolhardy to view the responsibilities of the MLE as trivial or pedestrian.

The concept and definition of lubrication excellence have been rewritten and will continue to evolve. The bar has been raised and is held as the new standard of excellence. The MLE is a high distinction and is ready today.

Figure 2. The list of 12 ICML 55 subjects along with an illustration showing the stages of maturity for full compliance and certification.

Routine Tasks of a Machinery Lubrication Engineer

The following is a breakdown of the many routine jobs or tasks that may fall under the responsibility of a Machinery Lubrication Engineer. Of course, this will vary considerably from company to company.

Selection of Lubricants

Selection of Lubrication Equipment

Selection of Contamination Control Products

Management of Lubrication Suppliers and Service Providers

Lubrication and Inspection PMs and Work Order Management

Writes Lubrication Procedures to Be Consistent with Best Practice

Lubricant Handling, Storage, Consumption and Conservation

Develops Lubrication-related Engineering Specifications for New Machinery

Warranty and Regulatory Compliance Management

Manpower Planning, Administration, Staff Training and Certification

Lubrication Information Management

Oil Analysis Program Design and Coordination

Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA); Failure Reporting, Analysis and Corrective Action System (FRACAS); Root Cause Analysis (RCA); and Troubleshooting

Management Reporting and Performance Metrics