Many issues with industrial assets are inextricably connected to lubrication. Too little lubrication, too much or simply using the wrong product. To assess these problems and to optimize the reliability of assets, I-care has its Reliability Centered Lubrication program.
There are multiple reasons why companies fail to lubricate well. For example, in many organizations, it was customary for a long time to assign a single employee to this task. When such a person leaves the company, valuable knowledge disappears. In some cases, these responsibilities have been transferred to multiple employees with other specialisms and as a secondary task, which leads to lubrication not getting the attention it deserves. Another reason is the lack of a reliable system to monitor tasks and processes.
With I-care, we do a lot to help our clients bring their lubrication program to a higher level. We do this with monitoring software, training and support on the job, but also a dedicated program to analyze the current state, design a plan, implement it and continuously improve lubrication practices. This is highly necessary since the added value of lubrication is one of the most underestimated aspects of industrial plants. Probably half of all malfunctions - and associated costs - are related to bad lubrication.
This has very little to do with the quality of lubricants. Today, it is hard to find bad products on the market. However, not every machine is the same. Differences in additives and viscosity in lubricants matter. A lot. But let’s be fair: lubrication is no rocket science. If you would buy a new supercar today, let’s say an expensive Ferrari, would you use the cheapest motor oil or pay a bit more for the product the manufacturer recommends? The answer will be clear: for little extra costs, you can save a lot on expensive repairs that would be needed as a result of engine failure.
Industrial organizations need to be aware of the value of lubrication. With our Reliability Centered Lubrication (RCL) program, we help our clients in several ways, depending on the existing products, practices and structures at their sites. For example, we can use a current state analysis as a benchmark over time or compare sites to discover improvement possibilities. But we can also use it to make a gap analysis for a client that has yet to start with a lubrication program. The next three steps (building a program, implementing a program and the continuous, sustainable improvement of a program) can, together with the current state analysis, be offered in three ways. These are: fully managed, only training and coaching or a hybrid form in between, with only the elements a client chooses.
Our proposition distinguishes itself because it is brand-independent. We give advice on products based on their characteristics and applications. Not on brand names. Next to this, we have been doing this for almost ten years, with passionate specialists who are experts in both manual and automated lubrication. And as Industry 4.0 champions, we can bring your program in line with your digitization and data efforts. For example, with our Wi-care and Lube-care combination we have an Industry 4.0 big data solution with a vast potential to improve the reliability of your assets. By generating assets, we can determine more precisely when to lubricate.
Such a flexible solution is, in effect, a tactical solution. An excellent example of its worth is an experience we had recently at a clients’ site. This organization just placed a new motor in an installation that had our Wi-care and Lube-care system on board. With the standard lubrication program, the next lubrication of the installation was still three months away. But the monitoring system immediately gave information that there was a problem, enabling the operators to intervene quickly and lubricate the new components. Without the system, this would not have happened and probably would have resulted in catastrophic failure with some huge costs.
Lubrication may not (yet) be rocket science, but it is becoming more and more advanced. And we can help you with this. Or would you still prefer the cheap motor oil for your Ferrari supercar?
Wouter Bogaerts, Director Reliability Centered Lubrication Activities