How to Streamline Lubrication Tasks

Paul Farless, Noria Corporation

The phrase “lubrication tasks” is a broad term encompassing a vast array of tasks, including inspections, monitoring and relubrication. The number of steps required for each task will vary, and some tasks will take longer than others. This article discusses some common lubrication program inefficiencies and ways to correct them. Additionally, we’ll look at some helpful tips you can use to organize and implement tasks, allowing you to schedule and complete them in an efficient, streamlined manner.

Invest in the Right Software

Your operations may implement Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). While these systems track man-hours and system maintenance, they don’t accurately track lubrication tasks, typically omitting factors such as the time needed to travel between the lube room and equipment and the time required to gather supplies. Routing software like LubePM does account for this time and adapts lubrication tasks accordingly. Once the necessary data, including task times, are entered into LubePM, the software accurately estimates the number of man-hours required. Understanding the time requirements for each task helps you better plan your approach to lubrication.

Simplify Your Routing

Before you go about tackling the work of lubrication tasks, you should determine the most efficient order in which to complete them. Routing should be approached like a game of baseball: you must go from first base to second; you wouldn’t run directly to third base. Similarly, you shouldn’t grab your lube cart and go to the machines furthest from the lube room, back to the machines closest to the lube room, and then to the machines in the middle. Developing and optimizing a lube route saves time and increases efficiency.

Ramp Up Your Training Program

Operators and maintenance personnel who know what they’re doing (and why they’re doing it) are able to perform tasks efficiently and quickly. Untrained personnel, when tasked with a new or complex procedure, can be intimidated by their lack of understanding. They may be hesitant to approach the procedure, and when they do get to it, they will likely spend a good chunk of time trying to make sure they’re doing things correctly. Properly trained staff, on the other hand, can approach procedures with confidence. Even when tasked with new procedures, the base knowledge possessed by properly trained staff can likely be applied.

Designate a Lubrication Champion

Clearly defining one person as the lubrication champion significantly reduces the likelihood of a project failure. The lubrication champion is responsible for overseeing all the aspects of lubrication procedures, including tasks and people. A good lubrication champion adroitly streamlines lubrication tasks by identifying objectives, prioritizing project phases, implementing best practices, identifying and eliminating obstacles, allocating resources and communicating with other departments. Your lubrication champion should be properly trained and have a strong knowledge of tribology and lubrication. Additionally, they should be highly motivated individuals with a knack for problem-solving and the ability to communicate well with others.

Once your lubrication tasks are organized and streamlined, things get a lot smoother for everyone involved. Implementing best practices increases machine efficiency and service life and ensures that your maintenance staff members have the tools they need to handle the tasks presented to them.

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About the Author
Paul Farless is an industrial service technician for Noria Corporation. His duties include collecting data and preparing reports for the engineering team. Prior to joining Noria, Paul worked as an aut...