Achieving Sustainability Goals with Smart Lube Management

Sustainability is a critical topic in most industries today. Businesses recognize the importance of incorporating sustainability into their business strategies and processes. One of these essential processes is lubrication or lube management. In this post, we investigate the use of smart lube management to help your organization achieve optimum results both for asset reliability and sustainability. 

Explaining Lubrication Sustainability

Sustainability, as defined by the United Nations in 1987, means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” This principle states that all the planet’s resources are finite and that it is our social responsibility to ensure that we conserve and use these resources wisely.  

Lubrication is the process of applying lubricants to maintain normal working functions and prolong the lifespan of machines, equipment, and other assets. Thus, lubrication sustainability is when lubrication practices are developed and implemented with consideration of their short-term and long-term environmental effects. A sustainable lubrication program is effective in maintaining and optimizing company assets and having minimal environmental impact.  

When is lube management considered to have a minimal environmental impact?

When lubrication results in high energy efficiency and low waste. High energy efficiency is when you get the most out of an energy supply, thus reducing the need to burn more oil and other non-renewable sources. Low lubrication wastes mean reduced pollutants that harm our natural resources or increase greenhouse gases that cause climate change.  

Benefits of Sustainable Lube Management

Incorporating sustainability into lube management can require organizations to make major changes, even a complete program overhaul for some. But sustainable lube management not only allows an organization to fulfill its social responsibility to the environment but can also gain the following benefits: 

Energy cost savings

Sustainable lube management helps improve the energy efficiency of machines, thus minimizing energy costs.  

Extended asset lifespan

Sustainable lubrication efforts such as improving energy efficiency, using the appropriate lubricant products, and optimizing the lubrication process promote the health of assets and extend their usable life.

Improved worker health and safety

Sustainability also comes with methods and materials that consider the health and safety of the lubrication personnel and other employees within the facility.

Compliance cost savings

The regulations on the environmental impact of organizations are becoming more strict. Sustainable lube management helps increase compliance and minimize fines and penalties from regulatory bodies.  

Positive brand image

With the increasing public demand for sustainable practices, sustainable lube management can help promote positive branding, and thus, attract more business for an organization.

Sustainability Challenges in Lube Management

Implementing sustainable lube management practices comes with its fair share of challenges. The following makes lubrication a less sustainable practice:

Excessive lubrication

The common misconception in lubrication is that the more you apply, the better lubrication you get. In fact, over-lubricating machine parts increase the risk of surface damage, contamination, and overheating. These effects all lead to low energy efficiency and lubricant waste.

Improper sampling

Lubricant sampling and analysis help monitor an asset’s health and prevent major failures. Inadequate or excessive sampling can promote machine failure and lubricant waste.

Procedures lack standardization

Lubrication is not considered an exact process in most industries, instead relying on the skill and intuition of experienced technicians. Thus, assets are prone to the harmful effects of different technicians following different procedures and techniques. 

Improper selection of lubricants

Lubricant selection is often done on an undocumented trial-and-error basis. Thus, there is no results-based data that proves when a lubricant is effective or not. Furthermore, this method of lubricant selection fails to judge lubricant performance on a long-term basis. An expensive yet cost-effective lubricant may be overlooked for a cheap lubricant that is wasteful and costs more to use in the long run. 

Wasteful lubricant use

Improper lube management can also lead to frequent lubricant changes or replenishment, resulting in unnecessary waste and inefficiency.

Not using or misusing technology

Lubrication technologies are available to improve energy efficiency and minimize the use of lubricants, but most organizations fail to use them properly or are not convinced of their benefits.

Implementing a Sustainable Lubrication Program

Successfully implementing a sustainable lubrication program requires continuous effort and improvement. Below are some insights that can help in implementing sustainable lubrication practices:

Data collection

Effective decisions are based on accurate and timely data. You can only improve on your inefficient or wasteful processes if you know that they exist in the first place. Effective lube management relies on the success of gathering and analyzing data from your lubrication practices.

Lubricant selection

The method of selecting the ideal lubricant is not a one-size-fits-all process. Your choice depends on the actual lubricant performance you experience. This is because the lubrication requirement of every asset is different. Even similar types of assets are used under different operating conditions and loads, by different operators and workers, and maintained by different technicians.

Worker training

Sustainability is a collective practice. Every team member must be on the same page to ensure that everyone is involved in promoting a sustainable culture.

Supplier collaboration

Similarly, external players must also be involved in fostering an organization’s sustainable culture. Lubricant suppliers, for example, can share valuable knowledge on eco-friendly, cost-effective, and energy-efficient lubricants.

Smart Lube Management with Redlist

Smart lube management with Redlist means using technology to achieve asset reliability and environmental sustainability. Redlist’s Lubrication Management software serves as a database and platform for lube management. Redlist digitizes and analyzes information, automates work scheduling, connects internal and external teams, tracks assets, and much more. Redlist’s customizable, flexible, and cutting-edge technology can bring you closer to achieving your reliability and sustainability goals. Experience the power and benefits of Redlist and schedule a free demo today!

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