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Don’t Assume New Oil Is Good

Mike Gauthier


Take These 5 Key Actions on Arrival to Ensure Industrial Lubricant Has the Right Stuff

When accepting delivery of new lubricant, a lot of people assume that it is suitable for use and labeled correctly.

But you know what happens when we assume, right?

The unfortunate reality is that new oil often arrives in questionable condition. Out of 1,000 recent new oil samples we tested in our lab, 45% rated marginal or critical in terms of water or particulate contamination.

In other words, nearly half the oil arrived in a condition that could quickly put critical equipment at risk of failure.

So, you simply can’t assume that new oil is good. And if you ever visited some suppliers’ facilities, you might never assume the best again …

Speaking of which, we recommend visiting and touring any facility you get oil from. But even if things look good there, you should still have a clearly defined process for receiving new lubricant to ensure you have the right kind, in the right condition, to support maximum uptime and optimal performance.

Actual Image from oil supplier facility

If you do that, you’ll be ahead of the game – because we find that over 95% of companies do not have a defined process for receiving incoming lubricants.

So, what makes a good process when your oil arrives? Here’s a breakdown of five key tasks.

  1. Inspect appearance. Take a good look at the containers, keeping an eye out for signs of damage and neglect. For example, faded or peeling labels are a clue that the oil may have been stored outside. Unsecured caps or lids could have allowed contaminants. Use a checklist with a description area for any issues you find, and do not accept if lubricant containers are damaged, leaking or compromised in any way.
  2. Check the supplier certificate. Request the certificate, which should confirm:
    • Quality of base stocks
    • Additive quality and concentration
    • Lubricant performance
    • Thickener properties
    • Presence of mixed or contaminated lubricants
      If your supplier is not forthcoming with this information, you need to consider why.
  3. Take a sample. Use clean sample bottles, tubes and pumps to acquire from the midsection of the drum. We’ll go into greater detail on proper sampling practices in a future post, but if you need help sooner, please contact us.
  4. Send the sample promptly to your lab for analysis. Oil analysis is the only way to validate the specs of the oil. We’ve tested plenty of customers’ new oil samples in our lab that turned out to be mislabeled – drums labeled ISO 68 oil that actually contained ISO 150 oil, for example. Not a good situation for machines requiring ISO 68!

    Just as important as validating spec is checking for contaminants and other problems. Read more about the essential tests of oil analysis here.
  5. Date stamp. Once oil analysis confirms what’s supposed to be and what’s not supposed to be in the lubricant, it’s important to label the product clearly with date manufactured, date received, date opened, inventory location, etc.

Date stamping is a key step in First In, First Out (FIFO) storage practices, helping ensure the oil doesn’t get forgotten during its useful shelf life.

Speaking of storage, one more thing about new lubricant: You also need an acceptable place to store it! Storage is another often overlooked part of The Journey of the Lubricant® – and it’s worth another post or more, so stay tuned for that.

Get Some Help with Your Oil Receiving Procedure

Request the expert assistance of Trico to establish a smart process and take good samples.