Benefits of Lubricant Consolidation

Noria Corporation
Tags: lubricant storage and handling

The Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. was able
to reduce its lubricant inventory from 177
oil drums to 50.

When beginning its lubrication program, the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corp. (IKEC) in Madison, Indiana, had an old lube room that was dusty, dirty and wet when it rained. Cross-contamination was widespread. There were no desiccant breathers, and the same pumps were used to remove oil from all the drums. The manual dumping rig also presented a safety hazard to employees.

In addition, there were no methods for managing inventory or rotating the stock of lubricants. Greases were stored wherever they were used and not according to best practices. Miscellaneous filters, parts, etc., were also stored in the lube room.

IKEC's new lube room features a filtration
system with 16 filtering compartments, tanks
and dispensers.

At one point, IKEC had 177 drums of oil, some of which were 10 years old. There were also more than 1,600 tubes of grease, which would have been enough to grease the company’s equipment for 40 years. No lubricant consolidation or just-in-time procurement methods were utilized.

With the company’s flue-gas desulfurization facility coming online along with all of its new equipment, there was no place to store lubricants. By working with its oil supplier, IKEC was able to reduce its inventory to 50 oil drums. It also consolidated greases and other lubricants where possible.

Among the modifications IKEC made to its
lube room included a new floor coating and
first-in/first-out drum storage racks.

Reducing its inventory by 60 percent allowed IKEC to make a number of modifications to its lube room. A heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system was added to maintain a climate-controlled temperature of a constant 72 degrees. A filtration system with 16 filtering compartments, tanks and dispensers was also purchased. Upgrades were made to the room’s electrical system, lighting, flooring and drum storage racks. The amount of oil ordered, which had been excessive, is now controlled.

The new state-of-the-art lubrication warehouse is the epitome of proper contamination control and safety practices with reduced clutter, a new drum racker and drum lift, a color-coded filtration system and matching oil containers with labels.

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