Building a Reliability Centered Lubrication Program, Part 1

Regardless of a plant’s geographical location in the world, one thing seems evident: without a clear strategy, a well-de- fined plan and attentive daily management, machine lubrication becomes a low-priority activity that leads to degraded machine health and productivity, otherwise known as a Run- to-Failure Lubrication (RTFL) approach. Herein, the focus is on the supplier. Perception of program fitness is derived from the lubricant brand and length of the supply agreement (stability of lubrication supply). Lubrication practices within this approach are driven by perceptions of product performance and can quickly devolve into a marginally productive work.

By contrast, a reliability centered lubrication (RCL) program is designed for maximum machine fitness to produce specific work practices to achieve clearly defined improvements in machine function and dependability. Comparing the RTFL approach vs. RCL, RTFL is focused on the lubricant (procurement, receipt, delivery to the machine) and the other is focused on improving machine health (a precise film thickness and defined cleanliness, delivered with regulated volume and frequency and managed for a targeted lifecycle). The type and degree of lubrication practices development differs substantially.

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