Storage and Handling Tips
The best practice in oil storage and handling is the use of a bulk oil storage system where oil is filtered from a 55 gallon drum to a 65 gallon tank in the storage system and filtered again before dispensing to an appropriate transfer container. They are an excellent and affordable method to eliminate contaminants while providing convenient storage. If these dispensing systems are not in your budget, there are other options available to keep your fluids clean, dry and in the right condition.
Many facilities store used oil in the original 55 gallon drums that are delivered by their supplier. In theory, this isn’t a problem, however, with this method fluid is not typically filtered and sometimes an inexpensive hand-crank pump is installed for dispensing the fluid.
Hand-crank pumps are manufactured with loose tolerances which can add wear particles from the actual hand crank to the new oil. In addition, they have a tendency to allow dust, dirt and other debris to contaminate the oil due to improper sealing.
To properly dispense clean oil directly from a 55 gallon drum, consider a drum pump filtration unit or a filter cart to transfer the oil. Mounting desiccant breathers on the air intake hole opposite of the bung is recommended, since oil is drawn from the drum it is replaced by air which can contain moisture and particulate contaminates. Another option is to create a kidney loop filtration system with a filter cart, filtering the oil approximately 5 passes then using a desiccant breather on the air intake hole and using a pump to dispense oil. There are types of drum pumps that create a clean, effective seal to the drum, and have two moving parts that do not wear which ensures only clean oil is dispensed. Another feature of these pumps is that they have color coded bands which allows for easy visual identification of lubricants.
It is recommended to apply the same principles to the smaller 5 gallon pails, but large filter carts often are too large to create a kidney loop type system and a smaller filtration system may be required. A desiccant breather should be used in the air intake hole and an appropriate pump mounted in the pour hole. The use of a pump on a 5 gallon pail also allows for easy dispensing without having to pick up the pail, possibly causing injury.
It is widely recognized that poor transfer containers can cross contaminate oils, add contamination, and basically destroy the oil before it is put in use. Containers previously used for other purposes such as detergent, hand or dish soap and bleach should be avoided. Even older types of oil transfer containers are susceptible contaminant collectors and should be avoided because many have open tops allowing dust and dirt to enter while galvanized oil transfer containers will deactivate extreme pressure (EP) additives.
Containers correctly designed for transferring oil should be employed. There are containers designed to allow for easy transferring of oil in to and out of the container to the lubricated component without any contact from the ambient environment. The use of color coding will help eliminate cross contamination.
To close the loop, each separate lubrication point is also to be color coded with tags, bands, caps, lids or anything else that will help identify which lubricant is to be used at that point. It is vitally important that each step along the way is well considered to ensure that lubricants are well cared for allowing our machines to run reliably through-out their life-cycle.
Dispensing clean, dry oil is only part of insuring that the right product gets to the right lubricated component in the right condition. All the thought and effort that goes in to pre-filtering and properly dispensing oils can be wasted if poor transfer containers are used.
Volume 7 Issue 3
Easy Lubrication Management
Storage and Handling
Increase Equipment Life