Count on Our Readers to Supply More Technical Tips

The "Lube-Tips" section of Machinery Lubrication magazine features innovative ideas submitted by our readers. Additional tips can be found in our Lube-Tips e-mail newsletter. If you have a tip to share, e-mail it to editor-in-chief Paul V. Arnold at To sign up for the Lube-Tips e-mail newsletter, visit and click on the "Newsletters" link found at the top of the home page.

Filter Changes Can Disrupt Particle Counts
This technical tip was submitted by Brian Mann, a rotating equipment specialist at ConocoPhillips:

"Have you ever seen a sudden spike in particle count for a stable circulating oil system, where no oil has been added or lost? Check to see if the oil filter was changed just prior to the oil sample date. It is not uncommon for a spike in particle count after changing oil filters due to the 'disturbance' to the system. Therefore, don't be too zealous in changing filter elements purely on a calendar basis. Take full advantage of the operating life of your elements, and only change them when they have reached their load capacity or have been in the system up to their manufacturer's recommended service life."


Hot Oil? Stop Collapsing Sample Bottles
This tip was supplied by Stephen French, a senior engineer at PPL Generation:

"We use five-ounce plastic bottles to collect oil samples with vacuum pumps. On hot days or when sampling hot oil, the bottles collapse under the vacuum pressure. To prevent this, I make sleeves from clear PVC pipe, with the inner diameter matching the diameter of the bottles. Before collecting the sample, I ask the technician to slide the bottle into the sleeve and then pull the vacuum. The sleeve reduces the incidence of bottle collapse by constraining the out-of-round shape change that the bottle must undergo just prior to collapse."

Advice for Estimating Reservoir Capacity
This tip was submitted by Michael Lofald, a lubrication manager at Sappi Fine Paper:

"To estimate the capacity in a rectangular oil reservoir, measure the length, width and height (from the tank bottom to the oil level) in inches. Multiply these dimensions together to get the cubic inches of oil. Divide this number by 231 for gallons. Now label the tank with the capacity so you won't have to do this math again."

Advice for Writing Lubrication PMs
This tip was submitted by Patrick Walsh, a maintenance specialist at BHP Billiton:

"When writing preventive maintenance tasks that require multiple grease guns to be taken up ladders and stairs, it is beneficial to add a stop point in the PM that states, for example, 'Before ascending these stairs, make sure you have guns A, C and D'. This stops techs from having to carry too much equipment up flights of stairs or ladders, which is a safety positive. It also stops them from getting up to the top with the incorrect guns and mixing greases in equipment, which leads to premature failures."

Stop Turbine Oil From Cooking During Outages
This tip was submitted by Jody James, a predictive maintenance technician at Cleco:

"If you have an outage in a turbine and your lube oil pumps are locked out, be sure to turn off the tank heaters. Most heaters and RTD temperature probes are located in two different places that heat and read flowing oil. Failure to do this can result in over-cooking the oil in the non-flowing/heated area."

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