"How do you decide what size storage and handling containers to use for lubricants?" 

There are many different approaches to storage and handling of lubricants that could be considered based on plant needs, handling equipment availability and personnel availability.

Some options include:

Low volume:

  • sealed gallon or smaller containers
  • sealed grease tubes
  • sealed single application tubes
  • pails (up to 7 gallons)
  • kegs (up to 16 gallons)

High volume:

  • fixed high-volume tanks
  • intermediate bulk containers (3- to 10-drum capacity)
  • reusable drums
  • one-way drums
  • small storage rack containers (65 to 110 gallons)
  • automated lube cart with storage and filtration capabilities
  • contiguous (hard-walled) piping from bulk tanks to the application

Grease tubes, grease and oil drums, and kegs and pails are the container sizes most likely used to supply industrial products. These containers are made of metal, paper and plastic.

The size of the adopted storage container should reflect the demand for the product. Trending oil consumption to identify a consumption ratio (the ratio between the amount of lubricant consumed relative to the total sump capacity for the product type) will reveal which products onsite most likely warrant bulk and semi-bulk handling.

As a rule of thumb, if the user consumes approximately 5 drums (275 gallons) of a product in a given year, then that product would be a good candidate for semi-bulk handling consideration.

Your facility may have safety limits on the amount of weight allowed to be lifted and carried for a given distance. When deciding whether to physically carry a quantity of oil or grease to the equipment location, multiply the number of gallons required by 7.5 to estimate the number of pounds.

Each gallon of oil weighs roughly 7.5 pounds.

Traditional package sizes for lubricant products include quart, 1-gallon, 5-gallon pail, 15-gallon keg and 55-gallon drum. Storage containers are available from one to 10 drums.

Many facilities are unaware of the danger improper lubricant storage and handling practices create and what inevitable fate it can lead to in terms of equipment reliability and lifecycles. They fail to see the real value in developing a proper lube room to store all new and in-use lubricants as well as all lubrication-related tools such as filter carts and grease guns.

Proper lubrication is not only about the right amount at the right time at the right place, but it is also about keeping lubricants clean, cool and properly identified.