Your Lubrication Technique is Costing You Downtime (And Right here’s The best way to Repair It)

Lubrication Technique

Producers should take care of rising prices for substitute components, longer lead instances for important elements, and a scarcity of consumable items. That is on the similar time that customers are experiencing greater costs for on a regular basis requirements and unprecedented supply-chain disruptions. In mild of those occasions, many companies are analyzing their spending and looking for methods to chop again or get rid of pointless bills. 

That is significantly true for lubrication, the place poor efficiency can price 10% to fifteen% of a plant’s general upkeep expenditure. Moreover, upkeep groups face issues with lubricant availability as a consequence of supply-chain instability. In reality, one firm not too long ago obtained a supply assure from their lubricant provider for under 50% of the lubricants the plant makes use of in a yr.

Nevertheless, this isn’t a singular incident! It leaves many companies asking probably the most elementary of questions: How a lot is lubrication costing me? And, how can I decrease lubricant prices?

The Dimension of the Prize: Tempting Value Reductions

Inspecting MRO spending is one easy technique of estimating the price of lubrication. Most services make the error of merely taking lubricant costs under consideration when contemplating lubrication bills. However, you could additionally calculate the annual price of changing lubrication-dependent components resembling bearings, pumps, gears, chains, and hydraulic elements.

In the event you focus solely on lubricant price, it may very well be tempting to contemplate renegotiating the value of the lubricant provide contract or switching to inexpensive lubricants. It’s also tempting to search for a cheaper price on bearings or to renegotiate the fluid-power contract for hydraulic elements. Every is a false financial system. Whereas costs may go down initially, over time, the complete results of utilizing lower-grade lubricants or inferior substitute components will change into rather more obvious.

At that time, you’ll find your self questioning why bearings are failing. Aside from a handful of the costliest failures, there merely gained’t be apparent root trigger failure evaluation (RCFA) information to find out the reply. But, the truth is, the standard of your elements and lubricants are on the root of the failures.

The place to Focus Your MRO Financial savings

To deal with all necessary points, an intensive mission plan must be created. This plan could embrace updating an oil evaluation program or creating new lubricant requirements. Thankfully, decreasing MRO, lubricant, and labor bills are incessantly ample justifications for higher lubrication procedures, with the prevention of manufacturing losses serving as a bonus.

Another, extra sensible technique is to look at each MRO (upkeep, restore, and operations) spending and lubricant purchases. Then, ask a number of easy “what if” questions:

  • What if we may lower down on bearing purchases by 40%?
  • Or, what if we used right lubrication, cleaner hydraulic fluid, and condition-based oil drains to systematically decrease lubricant portions by 15% every of the next three years?

Take into account any additional MRO or lubrication bills as “losses.” When contemplating price avoidance, it’s simple to say to have “saved” $120,000 yearly on account of soiled hydraulic fluid. It makes the decision to motion extra highly effective and is extra more likely to be taken up by senior management. It’s time to estimate the expenditures to handle the difficulty when the scale of lubricant losses has been decided.

Moreover, you could issue within the prices related to downtime. Though some companies keep thorough downtime logs that embrace the reason for specific minutes or hours of downtime, only a few, if any, companies can precisely specify how a lot downtime per yr is immediately introduced on by lubrication.

Getting Administration Purchase-In

Precision lubrication is apparent to those that work within the upkeep division. Excellence in lubrication is smart as a smart funding. Merely mentioned, correctly greased gear performs higher. Spending cash on lubrication upgrades and enhancements, nevertheless, is simply one other overhead expense for folks in different components of the corporate who don’t grasp the complexities of elastohydrodynamic lubrication, lithium complicated grease thickeners, or filtration beta ratios. From this attitude, lubricant prices must be saved as little as potential for the corporate to thrive within the fiercely aggressive international market of right this moment.

How, due to this fact, can we persuade administration that investing cash in reliability-based upkeep enchancment efforts like lubrication is a brilliant thought? In spite of everything, we in upkeep know that modifications like these should be vital. Administration ought to have the ability to see the advantages that higher lubrication can present for equipment and productiveness.

The issue isn’t that administration doesn’t care; somewhat, most managers lack the depth of information essential to make a well-informed alternative. They see prices taking away from the underside line with out understanding how lubrication can have an effect on gear reliability past the latest catastrophe that stopped manufacturing.

That will depart you questioning: Ought to we ship our managers to a lesson on lubrication? For many, it’s unrealistic to anticipate the administration group (exterior the upkeep group) to change into educated in regards to the specifics of lubrication excellence, even whereas there is no such thing as a query that some training is important for administration.

As an alternative, personnel on the upkeep group should rework into inner salespeople to steer administration that investing in lubrication is justified. Clearly speaking the advantages of a correct lubrication technique together with the lower of downtime, enhance in manufacturing, and potential financial savings as a consequence of much less put on on elements.

The place to Start with Your Lubrication Technique Financial savings

Think about a facility the place the lubrication division hasn’t undergone a lot modification within the earlier 20 years. The funds for upkeep has decreased by 10% within the final three years. Nevertheless, the plant has additionally suffered from appreciable unplanned downtime and manufacturing losses all through that point. Because of this, administration requires will increase in gear reliability.

On the premise of articles in Equipment Lubrication and different publications, we imagine {that a} lubrication finest practices program can cut back complete upkeep prices and get rid of a substantial proportion of kit failures.

Analysis of the prevailing situation of the lubrication program reveals that few property have been outfitted with fashionable lubrication finest practices resembling acceptable breathers, devoted filtration for all main hydraulics circulating techniques, quick-connects for off-line filtration for all crucial moist sump techniques, oil pattern valves, and so forth. If we’re to have any likelihood of dramatically decreasing downtime prices, upgrading gear to present finest practices will entail a large time and monetary funding.

Subsequent,  take into consideration the mechanics concerned in lubrication. Fundamental lubrication PMs, regreasing, top-offs, and judgments concerning machine inspections are performed along with the insufficient gear configuration, however amount, frequency, and different process specifics are left to the lubrication technicians.

We assume that various points are a direct results of both inadequate or extreme lubrication primarily based on our expertise. So, carry out an intensive examination of all lubrication PM actions to resolve a few of these points by making certain that process particulars like frequency are primarily based on sturdy lubrication engineering rules somewhat than simply the lube tech’s finest guess. Additionally, you may enhance the effectiveness of your operations by rationalizing your new PMs into more practical lubrication routes.

Let’s conclude by analyzing the oil evaluation program. Whatever the impossibility to gather a correct pattern owing to the absence of pattern valves, this system could also be poorly deliberate with few, if any, targets and restrictions, in addition to an outmoded take a look at slate extra suited to diesel engines than fashionable manufacturing gear. In conclusion, this imaginary plant is in poor situation!

The Alternatives and the Prices

Within the hypothetical manufacturing facility, the primary and most evident possibility is to scale back unplanned downtime. The premise is that part of these unplanned occurrences might be attributable to insufficient contamination management or lubrication procedures. By altering gear to reduce impurities and deploying optimum lubrication practices, lubrication-related failure occasions might be decreased or eradicated.

The optimum measurement of lubrication PMs is a further alternative. As a result of a decreased MRO funds, you could do extra with much less. In the event you rigorously evaluation all lubrication PMs for frequency and process particulars, you’ll not solely make sure that your gear is correctly lubricated, but in addition cut back your workload by eliminating pointless upkeep duties. For instance, regreasing a bearing each month, when each six months is extra acceptable, or altering oil unnecessarily when a condition-based change is extra acceptable.

You’ll be able to assess your alternative prices utilizing the abundance of information at your disposal together with:

  • Monetary Knowledge – Upkeep prices and annual downtime prices.
  • Substantive Knowledge – Failure historical past or machine uptime.
  • Anecdotal Knowledge – As an example, the assumption that the latest failure was brought on by a scarcity of lubrication.

Begin by figuring out the present annual upkeep price utilizing spherical values. With a view to bracket the chance (give a high and low estimate), you’ll look at the upkeep funds historical past to find out the high and low limits. Now you can forecast finest case (prices are decrease than anticipated), seemingly case (prices are as anticipated), and worst case (prices are larger than anticipated owing to unexpected expenditures) eventualities primarily based on historic information.

Subsequent, calculate the general annual downtime bills. It could change into difficult at this level. Acquiring real looking estimations might be troublesome as a consequence of different manufacturing schedules, market situations (not all output is sellable), poor record-keeping, and the truth that this statistic could be very easy in some factories. It’s a good suggestion to contain manufacturing and plant administration when getting anticipated downtime prices. By together with administration early within the course of and asking for his or her finest estimate of the prices, you may foster buy-in and possession.

When it comes time to present the ultimate cost-benefit evaluation, it additionally helps to keep away from skepticism. Right here, it’s helpful to contemplate the “low,” “seemingly,” and “excessive” case conditions. When the price of downtime is well-known, a reasonably small window that’s bounded by the low and high-cost estimates might be chosen. When estimating downtime bills, a somewhat massive window might be chosen.

The subsequent stage is to find out how a lot of the expenditures related to upkeep and downtime could also be averted by implementing a well-thought-out lubrication program. It’s advantageous to incorporate people having a stake within the consequence of this analysis. In spite of everything, it’s difficult to dispute a determine that you simply contributed to the creation of!

Estimating Enchancment Prices

As soon as the “alternative” has been found, we should calculate the precise price of the advance. This estimate will cowl the prices of mission scoping, design, and administration in addition to any {hardware} purchases and installations required to carry manufacturing gear as much as up to date finest follow requirements. Additionally, this estimate ought to take coaching bills under consideration.

Individuals who can be affected by the proposed program can obtain coaching to assist them comprehend the pressing want for change. Each individual’s coaching must be custom-made for his or her particular duties and tasks. To hasten the adoption of latest requirements and procedures, it is very important embrace everybody on this coaching, from managers to supervisors, operators to millwrights.

Relying on the form of work the worker performs, coaching packages and modules must be designed to construct each foundational data and task-based skills. Whereas these deeply concerned in lubricants could discover lubrication administration software program to be extra productive and cost-effective, others could discover that extra in-depth “reside” coaching is extra useful.

Closing the “Sale”

The final part within the “gross sales” course of is to weigh the benefits – the chance prices – in opposition to the expense of making this system. Sometimes, three, 5, or seven years are chosen because the planning horizon, and a gift worth return—which is outlined under—in addition to the speed of return on the projected funding, are calculated.

For instance, annual alternative prices are projected to be $1,426,000 primarily based on the calculation of alternative prices and utilizing the most definitely case situation. We will anticipate realizing these financial savings yearly that the brand new and improved program is in place as a result of this can be a results of present ineffective upkeep procedures and current downtime bills. Nevertheless, anticipating full benefits to start accruing throughout the first yr is impractical.

It’s extra sensible to estimate these financial savings at a conservative 50% for the primary yr, or $713,000. The takeaway is evident: even when the objective is to make the mission and cost-benefit evaluation look interesting, we should be cautious to not overestimate the advantages. For a similar causes, we frequently estimate the annual financial savings at 75% within the second yr. As a result of higher lubrication procedures, a internet constructive money circulation of $1,426,000 (relying on the present worth of the greenback) per yr outcomes from the complete and full annual financial savings in years three via 5 and past.

Senior executives incessantly request each higher reliability and decrease upkeep bills on the similar time. Give them what they need as a substitute of swimming in opposition to the present, battling for more cash whereas battling flames with meager provides! Managers are compensated for making smart selections supported by information and causes. Present them a well-organized monetary plan to decrease prices and increase reliability.

Summing it Up

We should take into account that companies shouldn’t have infinite capital. The vast majority of companies have an inner fee of return (IRR) that decides whether or not an funding is smart and a “price of capital” that establishes the long-term worth of an funding in right this moment’s {dollars} (internet current worth, or NPV). It is likely to be difficult to request extra funding from senior administration in a world the place prices are all the time rising. Nevertheless, nearly all of companies proceed to interact in initiatives that end in both higher productiveness or decrease prices, which is exactly why we have to view lubricant price avoidance as an funding.

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