World's Largest Brewer Optimizes Lubrication

Joanne Ferguson, Rocol Lubricants

InBev, the world's largest brewing company, is benefiting from optimized food-grade lubrication and a noticeable reduction in machinery breakdowns from poor lubrication at its Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, Scotland after contracting Rocol on-site service engineers to manage this crucial maintenance role.

The first 12 months were so successful that InBev renewed its contract with Rocol. Rocol engineers continue to make regular visits where they work closely with the brewery's engineering team in both a consulting and practical capacity to maximize the benefits of total lubrication management using their range of NSF H1-registered products.

A Hands-on Role
The engineers reviewed the lubrication application throughout the InBev plant, ensuring all machinery is lubricated at the correct intervals and with the specified quantities in accordance with their schedule.

Their aim is to make sure food and drink manufacturers can optimize their preventive maintenance approach and be 100 percent confident that their lubrication requirements are being carefully managed, in terms of both supply and application.

At Wellpark Brewery, the engineers have made a genuine difference in just 12 months, said Colin Reilly, maintenance planning manager at InBev.

"We now have the complete confidence that the right lubrication is being used at the right time," Colin said.

"As a result, we have certainly seen a reduction in breakdowns caused by lubrication problems."


Realizing the Benefits 
The benefits of having service engineers on-site have been far-reaching. Improved lubrication efficiency enabled additional areas of the plant to be assessed and managed.

The introduction of higher performance lubricants, which are managed and applied correctly, has extended lubrication cycles. This gives the engineers time to make improvements to other production machinery at the brewery.

"Given the size of the plant, we initially asked them to concentrate on one part of the plant," Colin said.

"However, their knowledge and expertise has improved the lubrication efficiency in this first part of the plant to such an extent that they are now able to look at further areas without having to spend additional time on-site."

Joing Efforts 
Under the contract, Rocol has offered training to InBev staff, providing them with an overview of lubrication throughout the brewery.

Given the importance of knowing how and when to carry out the lubrication, well-trained brewery operators and on-site specialist support from Rocol will help to ensure that InBev continues to reduce machinery downtime and improve production efficiency.

But managing the supply chain is also a key benefit that the engineers bring as Rocol managing director Steve Chapman explained: "We take complete control of managing lubricant stocks, ensuring products are delivered in the right quantities at the right time."

"We can keep this tightly controlled because we know exactly what requirements the plant has through the detailed assessments we conduct, and we have a reliable supply because we manufacture all the products at our factory in Leeds," Steve said.

This enables Colin - InBev's maintenance planning manager - to leave the responsibility for lubricants to Rocol. This improvement in efficiency gives him more time to concentrate on other areas.

Editor's Note:
This article was originally published in Processingtalk, June 27, 2006.

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