Simple Steps to Better Organize and Consolidate Lubricants

Noria Corporation

Calumet's new lube room incorporates
stackable poly tanks and color-coded,
labeled and contained dispensers.

The Calumet refinery in Superior, Wisconsin, processes 35,000 barrels of sweet and sour crude oil from Canada and the Dakotas. Approximately 160 employees work at this site, where the finished products include a variety of specialty fuels and asphalts.

With eight different lubricant suppliers, including one less than a mile from the facility, the refinery took a hard look at its lubrication program in order to reduce the number of oils purchased and determine how the entire system could be simplified.

The lube room was unorganized with drums, cans, pumps, buckets and funnels. Labeling for the type of lubricant wasn't clear, which created numerous errors of the wrong lubricant being placed in machines. Pumps were pulled from one drum and placed into another, while containers were interchanged without labels or lids.

In taking steps to consolidate and organize, the refinery switched from buckets and funnels to color-coded, labeled and contained dispensers. Other improvements were made using stackable poly tanks, breathers, vent lines, bull's-eye sight glasses, oil level indicators, dedicated lubrication systems and lube oil metering systems.

Before improvements were made, the lube
room was unorganized with drums, cans,
pumps, buckets and funnels.

Calumet also purchased a number of metal safety cabinets to store needed lubricants near the machinery. The cabinets are steam-heated and kept clean and organized. The right lube is now handy when it's needed.

As part of the changes, Calumet provided best-practices awareness training for maintenance and operations personnel. Many superintendents and managers attended the classes as well.

Following the training, an equipment and reliability lubrication technician position was created. The pump mechanic who was promoted into this position became responsible for closely monitoring equipment for the correct lubrication, expanding the current preventative maintenance program, coordinating the oil analysis program, working closely with the vibrations analysis contractor, maintaining the oil storage facility, monitoring inventories and developing a close working relationship with operators.

The operations and maintenance departments have appreciated these changes. Mistakes have greatly decreased, and the wrong lubricant is no longer put into compressors, pumps or gearboxes.

While it hasn't yet achieved world-class lubrication, the Calumet Superior refinery knows it's on the right path.

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