Mobile and Construction equipment are relied upon to support daily productivity. As with any asset, a proper PM schedule should be implemented to extend the life of that asset. To raise productivity you have to work faster, longer, harder and this takes a toll on equipment. A simple way to work longer is to spend less time on the PM of the machine and more time operating. This can be done by utilizing an auto lubrication solution for the critical grease points. (Click HERE to view case history)
For the past 20+ years I have designed, specified, purchased, assembled, implemented, maintained, and repaired auto lubrication systems. From my work history, it appears that no matter how hard we try to fit a “standard” solution into an application, there is always a required change to accomplish the goal. This is true of most “bolt-on”, “turnkey”, or “plug-n-play” solutions available in this world.
In an interest in actually supplying a solution to my clients. I have taken a different approach to system design. I start with simply testing everything that’s available, to failure. I discard anything that raises a potential to create more work for those tasked with maintaining not only the system, but the equipment of original concern for service life. I strive to design and re-design continually to make the most complete and simplistic solution possible. As with any designer, I attempt to implement wisdom and value the experience from historical concepts in any industry, both successful and failed.
I was recently approached by a machine builder with an application that required custom configuration of standardized components. The lead time was short, there was no history of success (as this was a new design specific to one task), and I felt eager to not only take on the challenge, but pride myself in the outcome. What happened was an eye opener.
My usual clients are in the Food Processing and Food Production industry. With that comes concerns of water ingress, acid resistance, temperature extreme variances, and resilience to welding and frequent plant layout changes. This client had none of those concerns, but they also didn’t have a 3A/2B Stainless Steel budget and had packaging constraints and a limited lead time.
And with that, 3 weeks later we have an elegant, cost-conscious, clean solution that fits the parameters of the client precisely. They won’t suffer from budget solution failures as all the functional items are the same proven designs used in all our previous applications. They simply get the items they need, nothing else, configured specifically for their client with a custom user manual and wiring schematic all within their parameters.
If you are a machine builder, have a one-off, extreme condition or unusual application, please feel free to reach out. The industry we recently served was not even on our radar and you never know what relationship this may develop. It’s always great to have an open mind and a proven set of tools to tackle what life sends your way.
Our automatic lubrication solutions range from a simple single point of lubrication to plant wide dispensing systems managed and controlled from a single HMI. We rank our solutions by a GOLD “bar” system with up to five bars.
Our marketing literature will be tagged with the bar system for ease of understanding what type of investment you are entertaining.
Means a simple solution under $1,000
Means a standard multi-point lubrication system under $8,000.
Means a multiple point lubrication system with additional customization. $8,000 to $20,000
Means a custom engineered lubrication system. $20,000 to $100,000
Is a Plant-wide, turnkey, custom engineered lubrication system. $100,000+
The GOLD Bar Rating System should be used as a simple guideline to give you an idea of the capabilities and the price-point of the system. We can always custom engineer a solution that meets your needs, price-point and expected return on investment.
Working in the lubricant industry for the past 17 years I have run into the same hurdle when trying to assist clients with return on investment, Cost vs Price. The relationship of cost vs price is an inverse relationship in regards to food grade lubricants. I will use an analogy of food grade lubricants and actual food to demonstrate.
Food Grade lubricants, much like a home prepared meal, are comprised of many ingredient that affect the final product. This final product is affected by the quality of the ingredients, the process in which it is combined, and the care taken to deliver that final product in a clean and sanitary method to the client.
In the workplace, the lubricants are used to protect wear surfaces, reduce friction, and ensure continued production of equipment. At home, your meal carries nutrients to fuel your body and ensure continued longevity and productivity as well. As you begin to supply your equipment, or your body, with only options solely based on price, the value of the ingredients and the effectiveness of those ingredients to support the productivity and longevity are diminished.
The price is lowered and at what cost? Your prep time for PMs is the same whether you use good lubricants or price conscious choices. There’s still the same number of chefs on staff. So you saved some money up front, but now you don’t feel like you are operating at peak performance. Your attempt to keep price down is ultimately costing you productivity. You increase the frequency of relubrication to compensate for poor quality choices. You now need additional staff to service issues of failures and lost time.
In today’s world where production volumes are key to a company’s success, unscheduled downtime is the most costly part of operation. To ensure PMs can be kept on a planned interval, during low production periods, it is essential to select quality lubricants that are specific to the application. By looking into the benefits of implementing a lubrication program comprised of higher quality (and possibly higher priced) product, you may see that operational costs, failure, and lost productivity are actually lowered.
Additionally, the method in which you supply lubricants has a dramatic effect on consumption volumes and benefit. Just like your body, the machine wants to be kept at optimum levels while running to deliver the best performance. Lubricating at tighter intervals with lower volumes ensures adequate protection from failure without over lubrication. This overall reduction in lubricant use also contributes to a lower overall cost.
Ultimately the choice comes down to where the operational costs are consumed and the return on investment. Lower quality lubricants require more frequent lubrication, more physical handling, more physical labor, the increased need for part replacement, the need for more mechanical downtime, possible overtime pay for maintenance personnel, the reduction of finished product, and increased paper trail. With lean manufacturing, it is not a matter of reducing work staff at this point. It is a matter of making wise choices and allowing the existing work staff to be more productive during a normal work week. Please, when making a decision as to which lubricants you will utilize, look past the price sheet and see how you can improve the bottom line.