An Analysis Of The Hidden Costs Associated With Poor Lubrication In Industrial Equipment

Though it may seem like the cost of oil is only what you see from the price tag on the barrel or container, it extends well beyond that. Due to disposal costs and labor expenses, as well as the possible negative effects on productivity, there are a number of hidden costs within each barrel or container. So next time remember that even though the cost of a gallon of oil may read $5, it can actually cost upwards of 40x that when considering labor costs and purchase orders.

Remaining as cost effective as possible requires all machinery to perform at optimal levels. Ensuring this performance requires regular maintenance such as proper lubrication and completing regular oil changes. This is easier said than done as it can be challenging to service all the moving parts of equipment in an operation effectively. This post will provide a closer look at the hidden costs of mismanaged lubrication in industrial settings.

One problem that many businesses fail to ever rectify is unnecessary oil changes. Businesses often erroneously believe an oil change can resolve a problem related to contamination or excessive wear. What they fail to realize is that this wastes valuable resources and time if the root of the problem is unrelated to the oil change. In order to avoid excessive hazardous waste being added into the environment, businesses should instead attempt to deal with the actual problem at hand.

In terms of incidental costs, businesses often are left to deal with the risk of damage to their machinery. Though mistakes are common, they’re also costly. There could be over or under-filling the sump or reservoir; introducing contaminated or incorrect product; and even cross threading a drain plug. When this occurs, machine damage is highly common. This damage also requires maintenance to resolve, and thus some downtime for the equipment. These expenses spill over into additional administrative purchasing costs such as storage, handling and testing which raises the cost even further.

In the worst cases, this aforementioned damage coupled with inadequate maintenance could lead to equipment failure. The most common failure being bearing malfunctions. With research indicating that 40-50% of machine failures are attributed to improper lubrication or re-lubrication of bearings, this becomes much more clear. Failure to do what’s right by a machine can lead to the machine becoming non-operational.

The potential costs alone should justify the reasons for businesses to become more knowledgeable regarding the available options (and costs) when it comes to lubrication. A reconsideration of the development of better seals or filtration equipment can make a huge difference. The same can be said of upgrading machinery with cutting-edge seals, such as magnetic face bearing seals. With the help of the right designs, any organization can work towards limiting their equipment degradation and providing considerable savings.

Interested in learning more about some of the hidden costs associated with lubrication? Be sure to take a moment to review the infographic featured alongside this post. Courtesy of Isomag.

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