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"What are the benefits and pitfalls of an oil reclamation service? Can it save you money? Are there any negative results?"
There are many benefits of using a reclamation service, such as its positive impact on the environment. Another advantage is you will not need to purchase costly equipment, supply the labor or dedicate time to reclaim the oil yourself. There also will be no cleanup or mess to contend with after the reclaiming process. The oil will be cleaned to an ISO standard of your choice and returned to service likely cleaner than when it was new.
Typically, you will receive a comprehensive report on the oil before the reclamation and after it goes back into service. This will allow you to compare the results and ensure you are getting what you pay for. Additive packages can also be restored to their pre-used state by the reclaiming service.
Many different types of oils can be reclaimed, including hydraulic oils, turbine oils, circulating oils for bearing lubrication, paper machine oils, gear oils, quench oils, some metalworking fluids, transformer oils, some synthetics and several specialty fluids. Unfortunately, in most cases, only large amounts of oil (more than 550 gallons) can be reclaimed.
The other pitfalls of using a reclamation service will largely depend on the reclamation company that is used. Investigate the quality of each company being considered and verify all references. If not, you may end up with an oil that damages your machinery.
The risk of cross-contaminated oil is high if the reclamation service does not flush its equipment after every use. In addition, if the company does not have the appropriate permits to transport your oils to its facility and there is a spill or incident, you could be liable.
Keep in mind that the reclaimed oil is no longer the oil you purchased from the distributor but is now blended oil. Check the warranty details of the reclamation service for what to do if you have any issues with the oil. Also, ensure that the warranty on your machinery is not voided by using reclaimed oil.
Oil reclamation can save you money. If you have large amounts of oil you would like to keep in service without the cost of a full change-out, reclamation can be a cost-effective option. In fact, many reclamation companies claim they can save up to 85 percent of the oil's original cost. Just be sure to check the credentials of the company beforehand to avoid a lot of heartache.