The “Lube-Tips” section of Machinery Lubrication magazine features innovative ideas submitted by our readers. Additional tips can be found in our Lube-Tips e-mail newsletter. If you have a tip to share, send it to editor-in-chief Paul V. Arnold at parnold@noria.com. To sign up for the Lube-Tips newsletter, visit www.machinerylubrication.com and click on the “Newsletters” link at the top of the home page.

Construct This Container and Save Oil

This tip was sent in by Craig Palculict, a lubrication analyst with Georgia Pacific:

“We built a container (Figure 1) to let us filter and reuse oil when we need to drain a reservoir, typically during an annual reservoir PM. The unit has a pump and motor that runs on 110 volts, holds 275 gallons and was constructed to be moved with a fork truck.

“The oil in the reservoir is pumped into the container through a filter (we use a 6-micron 40CN housing – double-length Parker filter). While the reservoir is being cleaned, the unit’s valves are arranged so the oil circulates through the filter. After the reservoir is cleaned, the oil is pumped back in, through the filter. This simple unit has saved thousands of gallons of oil since it was built 20 years ago.

“The container has a big door, and the tank interior is epoxy-coated for easy cleaning; the residue from the oil doesn’t stick. After use, we wash the interior with water. The drain at the bottom is large and the water drains quickly. We then put an air hose into the tank for about 30 minutes, change the filter and it is ready to go again.

“If I had to rebuild this unit, I’d probably use stainless steel for the tank and piping. I’d also use the biggest motor and pump that would run on a 15-amp, 110-volt power supply for more gallons per minute and, therefore, quicker turnaround.

“This unit is almost always used on hydraulic units, as the tank is not big enough for most lube units that we have here at the paper mill. We have eight paper machines, three power boilers, a wood-yard, a waste fuel area and a big paper converting area. So, the opportunities for this unit are numerous.”

Figure 1. Here is a schematic of the container that was constructed at a Georgia Pacific facility.

Sight Glass PM May Save Bearings

This idea comes courtesy of Dave Nestman, a lubrication mechanic at Howe Sound Pulp and Paper:

“One of our fan pumps lost an oil-filled bearing due to a lack of oil in the sump. The oil level sight gauge used on this pump indicated that the pump was full, but actually it was not. The pipe coming out of the side of the pump to the level gauge was plugged with sediment and would not let oil out of the gauge to give a true level reading. To prevent this, lube technicians need to drain sight gauges periodically to confirm proper functioning.”

One Extra Step Improves Oil Analysis Process

This advice comes from Randy Hardin, a reliability analyst with ConocoPhillips:

“When oil samples are prepared for shipping to an outside lab, the labels often won’t stick to the bottles. Consider using an eyeglass cleaner towelette to wipe off any unwanted film from your bottles, allowing the bottle to arrive appropriately labeled.”

Advice for Small Pump Oil Changes

This neat trick was supplied by Eddie McCay, a reliability technician at Sun Chemical Corporation:

“Changing oil in small pumps can be challenging due to the design of the pump housing. There is a cavity in the bottom of the housing that traps water and contaminants. We have started using a small handheld vacuum pump to completely remove the water and/or old oil from this cavity, resulting in much cleaner oil with each changeout. We get 10 extra ounces or more out of the pump using this method vs. only opening the drain plug.”

Magnets Enable Clean Oil, Handy Inspections

This tip was supplied by David Towle and Jason Frankiewicz, reliability team members with Holcim (US):

“Filtering oil with a filter cart has been useful for maintaining target ISO contaminant cleanliness codes. We’ve found that placing a magnet in the filter cart and/or unit, near the inlet before the pump, also is beneficial for removing wear debris and for routine inspections.

“Place the magnet in a location where it can’t interrupt oil flow and ensure that the magnet is strong enough to remain in place. Magnet inspections should be compared to oil samples because oil analysis results may be better due to the magnet capturing metal. If multiple pumps/bearings feed into one lube unit, use a magnet for each return line to determine which one may be wearing out. Wear leather gloves to protect your hands from sharp metal fragments when cleaning the magnet.

“The two pictures (Figures 2-3) are from a four-roll vertical mill with a 1,000-gallon reservoir. The magnets are in the sight glasses for the return pumps for each of the four rolls. They are approximately the size of a quarter, three-eighths of an inch thick and silver in color. They appear black due to the metal built-up. The sight glasses can be opened, and the magnet can be removed and cleaned.”