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IT'S MORE THAN JUST OIL. IT'S LIQUID ENGINEERING.

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ASSESSING YOUR LUBRICATION MAINTENANCE PRACTICES

ENGINEERING SOLUTIONS / Post date:
1 June 2014

In the November 2013 issue of HD Focus we discussed the topic of safely extending oil drain intervals. In that article, we also discussed the importance of taking a survey or assessment of current maintenance practices, in order to set a baseline or benchmark.


This can be used to gauge the fitness of your operation to engage in an extended oil drain program. It can also provide a baseline for comparing results when extending your oil drain intervals in order to document improvements in performance.


But the importance of setting a baseline is not limited to an oil drain extension program. Setting a baseline is the first step you should take in any attempt at improving an existing maintenance program. Without a baseline you will not be able to objectively gauge any improvement or cost savings that result from changes made to your program.  And without that proof your company will be vulnerable to pressures to reverse the changes made and lose the cost savings that they provide.


Items to be considered in a baseline assessment include:

  • Current maintenance intervals on all your equipment (both the stated intervals, as well as the actual intervals)
  • Lubricants used for each machine and each lubricated compartment
  • Current lubricant purchases (gallons purchased, as well as dollars spent)
  • Lubricant storage and handling practices
    • Condition of bulk tanks and storage facilities
    • Filtration practices
    • Type and condition of oil top off containers or oil transfer containers
    • Recording of top-off fluids
  • Your current used oil analysis program
    • Do you have an established oil sample interval for all units/compartments?
    • How are sample results delivered? (electronically or on paper)
    • What do you do with the results?
      • Is anyone tasked with reading/responding to results?
      • Do you have an established policy on reacting to results?
    • Is your staff properly trained on oil sampling procedures?
    • Is your staff properly trained on sample result interpretation?
    • Is your oil analysis program capable of providing management reports?
      • Overall acceptability
      • Reoccurring conditions
      • Actual sample intervals
      • Average sample turnaround time
  • Storage of maintenance parts such as oil filters and hydraulic hoses
  • Maintenance of the air filters on mobile equipment
  • Cooling system maintenance on mobile equipment
  • Recording fuel usage
  • Training of maintenance department employees
  • Cleanliness, orderliness and general appearance of shop and maintenance areas


The benchmarking process can provide you with a laundry list of items that need to be addressed. The next step would be to prioritize those items in the order of importance and urgency. And, as noted above, this also provides a great baseline for comparing results of any changes that are initiated by your company.


Undertaking such a benchmarking process may not be within the skill level of anyone in your organization or perhaps you just don’t have the resources to devote towards benchmarking. In that case, there are specialists that can provide expert assistance with this activity.


Castrol’s Field Engineering team is highly capable and experienced with this process and can provide this service for you. If you are interested, please reach out to your Castrol Sales Representative or Field Engineer for more information on how to get started.