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Machinery Lubrication

Dan Freeland


Why Education and Training is Key to Reliability

Maintenance and Reliability Engineers play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation of industrial machinery. However, when it comes to the specific field of machinery lubrication, many graduates of engineering programs often find themselves lacking the necessary know-how to apply lubrication best practices in the real world. This being said, there are a number of certification programs and courses out there that can give engineers and technicians the critical skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their roles. In this article, we'll explore the importance of machinery lubrication education and its impact on machine reliability.

To understand why continuing education in machinery lubrication is so important, let's first explore why this field matters so much to industrial machinery. Lubrication plays a critical role in ensuring that machines operate efficiently and reliably, protecting parts from wear and tear and helping to prevent costly failures. However, lubrication is much more than simply adding oil or grease to a machine. Its application requires a deep understanding of the specific types of lubricants, their properties, and how they interact with various machine components. There is also the matter of knowing how much lubricant to use, how often to apply it, and what types of equipment to use. All these crucial factors are best learned through education and training. 

So why is this kind of training often lacking for Reliability and Maintenance Engineers? There are several factors that come into play here. Firstly, many educational programs don't include machinery lubrication as part of their core curriculum, leaving graduates without these critical skills. Additionally, many companies do not provide the necessary training or guidance to ensure that maintenance personnel and engineers understand how to apply proper lubrication techniques in the workplace. However, the good news is that there are industry-standard certification programs available to address these gaps in knowledge. 

One such program is the Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) certification, which is offered by the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML). This certification program is specifically designed to give technicians the foundational knowledge they need to succeed in the field. At the same time, the MLT certification provides more seasoned maintenance workers with a deeper understanding of the lubrication process. Other, more advanced certification programs cater to experienced lubrication professionals and provide a more nuanced, practical approach to lubrication theory and application. 

Now let's turn our attention to Oil Analysis Technicians and Fluid Analysts. These professionals are also instrumental in ensuring machine reliability by analyzing lubricating oils and fluids. By understanding the results of oil analysis, technicians can identify problem areas within machinery before they develop into more serious problems. To ensure that this essential process is done correctly, education and training are critical. There are a number of organizations and institutions that provide training in oil analysis, including STLE, ICML, and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE). Each organization offers different levels of certification and training courses, catering to a wide range of experience levels. 

The importance of machinery lubrication in ensuring machine reliability cannot be overstated. As a Reliability or Maintenance Engineer, investing in continuing education in lubrication best practices and oil analysis is a smart way to stay ahead of the curve and provide the best possible service to your company. Whether you're a recent graduate or a seasoned professional, there are a wealth of resources available to help you hone your skills and improve your understanding of machinery lubrication. By taking advantage of these resources, you can help your company avoid costly downtime, increase productivity, and improve overall machine reliability.