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Best Practices to Mitigate Lubricant Contamination

Many assume the contamination of lubricants occurs after the lubricants have been applied to machines.  While wear debris and water ingress are expected to contribute to lubricant contamination it doesn’t mean maintenance professionals need to accept lubricant contamination as a futile battle.  There are many best practices used to help mitigate the ongoing battle against lubricant contamination.  Here are a few.

Education and training
In a reliability-focused organization there is no substitute for training. In order for maintenance practitioners to join in the fight against contamination they need to be educated as to why it exists and why it is important to them to eliminate or, at least reduce contamination.  Schedule training sessions for maintenance crews and reliability & maintenance engineers with your lubricant suppliers, like a Molykote® Field Representative. Trained lubricant experts can educate your workforce on many things including contamination control.  Many of the topics encompassing “Contamination Control” are simply common sense.  The use of equipment tags, reference charts, and transfer containers are helpful.  Additionally, centralized lubricant storage and dispensing can aid in managing contamination issues.

Equipment Tagging
Cross contamination of lubricants is a significant source of lubricant contamination and lubrication related failures.  Yes, it is true not all oils and greases are the same.  Inadvertently re-lubricating with the wrong lubricant will render what’s left of the old lubricant useless and, often impart compatibility issues that result in equipment failure.  To avoid the mistake of cross contamination develop equipment tagging schemes that coordinate the appropriate lubricants for the machines being lubricated. Contact the Molykote® field representative in your area today for assistance with effective tagging schemes and supplies to help insure cross –contamination doesn’t render your equipment useless when you need it the most.

Reference Charts
While some may assume lubricant selection and usage is simple often, it is not.  Tagging schemes mentioned above are useful to insure the selected lubricant gets into the right machines but, not all the information needed to make an educated lubricant selection can be put on an unobtrusive equipment tag.  Reference charts can be assembled to give required detail as to what differentiates one lubricant from another and, for what types of applications respective lubricants are best suited.  These reference charts can then be placed in key locations where lubricants are used, dispensed, and stored.  It is also useful to distribute reference charts during lubrication training sessions.

Transfer Containers
Let’s face it.  When it comes to getting lubricant from a storage container into the equipment many maintenance personnel employ a great deal of “creativity”!  Transferring lubricant in a foam coffee cup while obviously convenient, isn’t really the best way to reduce contaminant levels of new lubricants.  Procure transfer containers designed to transfer lubricants in a safe contaminant-free manner.  This will insure your Molykote® lubricants make to the intended point of lubrication with a fighting chance against industrial contaminants.  Also, assign transfer containers for each lubricant and label them as such to avoid cross-contamination during transfer.

Centralized Lubricant Storage
Centralizing lubricant storage and dispensing enables maintenance practitioners to better manage contamination control as well as inventory level and usage.  Assign a location where lubricants can be stored, accessed, inventoried, and kept clean & dry!  Let your Molykote® Field Representative help you design a lubricant storage area that maximizes ergonomics and space utilization, and leverages best practices in contamination control.  Also, it may be helpful to label bulk storage containers to allow easy recognition of the proper lubricant being sought.

Pulling It All Together
The point is, in order for your Molykote® Lubricants to perform up to their full potential contamination control must be recognized and practiced always.  To insure your Molykote® lubricants make it into your machines as clean as possible consider a tagging, labeling, and reference chart scheme to coordinate lubricant use, storage, transfer, and point of lubrication to avoid misapplying lubricants.  And use best practice techniques to keep your Molykote® Lubricants clean.  Also, invest in your most important asset your people by giving them appropriate lubrication training so they too can take ownership of improving your lubrication program.

Contact your local Molykote® Field Representative to help you design a Lubricant Management Program that incorporates best practices in lubricant handling, storage, and application along with practical training so your Lubrication Management Program can contribute to an improved reliability focus for your organization.

Smart Lubrication™ Tip

Problem: In your plant you are faced with seized or broken bolted connection with high temperature threads (nickel alloys)

Solution: You can avoid the problem of broken or seized bolts by using Molykote® P37 ultra pure metal-free thread spray


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