A Message From Mike:
Consider this: the money you spend on lubricants represents only 1% of your net maintenance budget. (2% if your site makes paper, 3% if your site makes metal). Your Machine Lubrication Labor component should represent another 2-4% of your maintenance budget. How WELL you deploy the lubricant and labor Directly Impacts 35% of your maintenance budget. Machine Lubrication gives you GREAT leverage, either to your benefit or to your detriment.
Condition Monitoring of your lubricants tells you a great deal about whether your machine lubrication program is serving or harming you.
But, how would your people know if they don’t have a sound grasp of the fundamentals of machine lubrication, and oil analysis? Having folks that perform the machine lubrication roles for many years may be good, unless the knowledge level is based on village lore through a pattern of Chinese whispers. Many will choose to rely on the tried and true approach of having one technician teach another technician all about this job as the years go by. Even when the first technician is a bona fide expert this approach to technical training leaves too many important details unaddressed.
The International Council of Machinery Lubrication provides a certification plan for the lubrication technician(s) and oil analyst(s) working in industry. Additionally, the Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) certification series for oil analysts conforms to the ISO 18436-5 and -5 standards for condition monitoring professionals.
Technical labor exposed to these bodies of knowledge benefit from general knowledge development regardless of whether they are able to pass an exam and earn a certification. Those that can earn the certification gain additional credibility with their piers and subordinates and supervisors, as well as fulfillment of whatever internal professional development requirement the company maintains.
One customer reported an immediate cost avoidance worth (in his words) at least a million dollars in lost production time at a West Coast Container Port (offloading facility) following his personnel attending our lubrication training course, which INCLUDED the oil analysis content from MLA1. This occurred because his already experienced technician had a greatly improved sense of understanding about a threat that a key detail in a recent oil analysis report suggested for the health of a container handling crane.
A well defined machine lubrication training course, which should include a healthy dose of oil analysis content, could easily pay back 100 fold, and do so in a matter of days.
This may well be the best kept secret in industrial maintenance.