Manual vs. Automatic Lubrication: Using the Five Rights of Lubrication

Manual vs. Automatic LubricationFor nearly every production facility in the world, lubrication is a vital part of machinery maintenance.  Even though the average facility only allocates about three percent of their maintenance budget to lubricant products, an estimated forty percent of total maintenance costs can be influenced by lubrication related activities. 

Aside from the cost of lubrication, approximately half of all acquired components require re-lubrication.  Within your average production facility, overtime labor is usually the result of failed machines, which is usually a consequence of inadequate lubrication.  Finding the right method of lubrication is essential to business development, as time and resources cannot consistently be spent on machine failures.  In order to best determine the right method, you should consult the five rights of lubrication, or the five "R"s.

The five "R"s are the basic rights of lubrication that are applied in order to create world class machinery reliability.  The rights are as follows:

    •    The Right Type of Lubrication
    •    The Right Quality
    •    The Right Amount at the Right Time
    •    The Right Place to Lubricate
    •    The Right Method

The right method is usually determined based on a company's maintenance strategy. The strategy, in addition to application conditions and asset conditions, will determine which lubrication points should be automated. In order to make that decision, the five "R"s should be understood and considered.  After you've defined your five “R”s, you can determine the best way to lubricate a component.  The ideal starting point of an effective lubrication strategy is to map all of your lubrication points and make a note of requirements and working conditions. 

From there, you shouldn't have much trouble finding the correct lubricant as well as the correct quantity.  You can't forget to include re-lubrication intervals when making these decisions.  That comprises the first three rights.  In order to accommodate the fourth "R," we recommend organizing your map of lubrication points into a system that also includes all tools being used.  Cross contamination is another avoidable issue that can be prevented with detailed organization.  Now that you have the first four "R"s, it's time figure out your optimal methodology.

The benefits of of automatic lubrication are immense, while the benefits of manual lubrication are limited to infrequent inspections, unsuitable lubrication selection, and upfront investment cost.  However, if you are diligent about getting your equipment inspected, if you are careful about choosing the right lubrication, and if you can afford the cost up front, you will surely get a return on your investment with cleanliness, labor savings, and environmental safety.

To read more about manual vs. automatic lubrication, click here.  To read more about the five "R"s, click here.  And, to get your machinery outfitted with new lubrication systems, give us a call today.

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