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Paradigm Shift in Oil Storage Strategies

Dan Freeland


A Different Way of Storing Oils

For many years the narrative coming from Maintenance and Reliability pundits regarding Oil Storage has been to develop a centralized lube room that contains all your lubrication related needs. A defined large space that is climate controlled, well organized, and can accommodate all your lubricant storage. What a daunting task. Where do you start? Who’s going to do it? Ultimately, it becomes such a beast of a project that it never happens.  

Centralized Storage 

This type of lubrication management style is known as the centralized storage strategy. The difficulty with this type of strategy is that many companies simply do not have the space to begin with or don’t have the time or labor to renovate an area to accommodate their needs. I don’t know how many bulk oil storage systems I have seen out in the field that are still on various pallets waiting for the day someone has time to put the thing together. Truth is, that day never comes. That money is just wasted, your vision never comes to fruition, and worst of all your lubrication program suffers the fate of mediocrity.  

A Different Way…Satellite Stations 

What if there was a different way, a new way? Consider this. What if you could strategically place all your lubricants where they are needed? Think of them as satellite stations at the point of use. What if there was a mobile, versatile, lubricant storage system that was no larger in footprint than a pallet that could be deployed in any part of your facility?  

Think about the lube technician who is about to embark on their lube route. John the lube tech is piling up his work cart with all the secondary storage containers, funnels, rags, tools, and sampling equipment. Off he goes enroute through your giant facility ready to inspect, top off, and take samples at all your lube points. Of course, throughout his journey, he runs out of oil in a secondary container. Back to the lube room he goes. Now back to the lube route. Then John runs out of sample bottles. Back to the lube room he goes. Unfortunately, it takes 10-15 minutes to make this trek, maybe 20-25 if John stops to talk to someone, but you get the point. Placing small satellite stations throughout your facility would obviously cut down on the need for back-and-forth travel and put the lubricants required right in the sector that requires it.  

Ease of Implementation 

Implementing and accomplishing a strategy like this does not require the abominable capital expense or the countless labor hours required to implement a full-blown lube room. Satellite locations can be executed as an ongoing program that can be planned out and budgeted over time. These strategic locations can be realized with minimal space required and very little manpower. Taking a tactical approach, you can systematically upgrade your lubrication program one sector at a time. Imagine all your required lubrication needs being achieved with a mobile storage system and a simple cabinet. DONE. 

Rethink Your Approach 

As an old saying goes “there’s more than one way to cook an egg.” Maybe it’s time we rethink the way we approach our lubrication strategies. If we look to the 5S mantra “A place for everything and everything in its place”, maybe it’s time to put your lubricant storage in its rightful place. Now you can.  

Learn more about mobile storage systems by viewing the video.