The L in TLC: Tighten, Lubricate and Clean

Grainger Editorial Staff

You know machinery lubrication is an important part of your facility's maintenance routine—even in a small facility, there are potentially hundreds of thousands of necessary lubrication points. Without an effective plan, maintenance teams can quickly become overwhelmed. But how do you create a plan to deal with every piece of equipment's unique needs? By determining what lubrication is needed and when, your facilities team can prevent costly shutdowns without greatly increasing their workload.

Lubrication Plans as a Top Priority

Lubrication must play a top role in your plans to avoid shutdowns and keep on pace with manufacturer recommendations. To get ahead of the challenges, lubrication schedules and strategies need to take top priority in your regular maintenance routine.

Why Is Lubrication Important in Machinery?

A combination of manufacturer-suggested lubrication schedules and your already-established maintenance program should be used to effectively guide your team. Only by giving lubrication the same significance as repairs, cleaning and inspections can your program be successful. By combining manufacturer recommendations with the right people, inventory and operations, your team can effectively combat the problem.

How to Take Action

Start by auditing your facility and equipment to determine what needs lubrication and how often it is recommended. Some key questions include:

  • Does this equipment need regular lubrication, or is it self-lubricating?
  • How often does the manufacturer recommended lubrication?
  • What types of lubricants are required? Do you have them in stock?
  • Do you have enough staff to meet minimum manufacturer-recommended lubrication cycles?

Based on your answers to these questions, four challenges will need to be managed as part of your plan.

Building Inventory

If your team is not currently lubricating, they likely also do not have the right lubricants on hand. Using improper lubricants can accelerate wear and tear or cause catastrophic failures. Before your team even starts lubrication maintenance, you will need to audit every piece of equipment in need of lubrication and determine a full list of what lubricants are required and how often they are needed. Introduce this list to your inventory management team and ensure that every location has at least each required lubricant on hand.

Learning from Manufacturers

You will need to factor in manufacturer lubrication recommendations for the equipment in your facility before you create your plan. These recommendations suggest exactly what needs lubrication, how often it is needed and even which types of lubricant are required. Using improper lubricant, or just missing maintenance cycles, can lead to early wear and tear or failure.

Staffing Up

Depending on the demand, there may not be enough people on staff to meet lubrication needs. If you find that lubrication requires a significant portion of your maintenance team, you may need to reallocate roles or hire to meet the increased need. Before creating a plan, or even ordering the right supplies, evaluate your team for capacity and experience. If the team has the time and the knowledge to keep equipment lubricated, the faster you can put your plan into action.

Executing the Plan

The most common issue with any lubrication strategy is a lack of a plan to get the work done. More than likely, your team has a maintenance plan, but has not integrated lubrication into it.

Get started by combining staff, manufacturer recommendations and inventory into a single plan of action. While getting started can demand a significant amount of time, after the first push to lubricate, your team will more easily find time to keep equipment lubricated. All lubrication efforts should be done alongside regular maintenance and inspection to reduce redundancy and workload.

Learn more about getting the right lubricants and equipment for your facility.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.


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