An important part of lubrication management is understanding the impact of lubrication-related failures. Although it affects the Overall Machine Criticality (OMC), the risk of a lubricant failing does not always result in machine failure. Lubricant failure has its own related consequences before it eventually results in machine failure. Thus, the concept of Lubricant Criticality Factor (LCF) is a different but related concept to OMC.
What is Lubricant Criticality Factor?
Lubricant Criticality Factor is the concept that reflects the economic consequences of lubricant failure separate from the consequences of machine failure. Lubricant criticality can affect machine criticality, but it can also affect other aspects of operations. Unlike OMC, LCF focuses only on the economic implications of lubricant failure.
The LCF considers the costs associated with lubrication. These costs include:
- Loss in profit due to the downtime needed to change the lubricant
- Expense for the flushing out of the lubricant
- Materials and personnel used
- Other costs from system disturbances.
The LCF ratings range from 1 to 10, with 1 having the lowest associated cost and 10 the highest. A machine that uses large volumes of expensive lubricants would have a high LCF.
Factors Affecting Lubricant Criticality Factor
The LCF depends on the costs of lubrication, which are dictated by the following factors.
Different machine types have varying lubrication requirements. When choosing the optimum lubricant, you likely consider the price, not only the quality and performance. It would also be helpful to consider machine-lubricant compatibility, which can also affect the amount and frequency of lubrication.
The health of the machine dictates the lubrication needs. Machines that are not performing as well as they should be would require frequent lubrication and lubrication-related procedures. Maintaining or restoring the health of a machine should come first before increasing lubrication costs. Additionally, machine age may be a factor to consider. A machine nearing the end of its useful life may have a higher wear rate than a newer machine. This results in a higher concentration of particle contamination and potentially more frequent lubricant changes.
The type and health of the lubricating system would similarly cause an increase or decrease in lubricating costs. Choosing the appropriate lubricating system for your operations and ensuring that this system is working at optimum efficiency would keep the lubrication costs and the LCF low.
The cost of lubrication is also dependent on the presence of contaminants that can decrease lubrication performance and increase lubrication costs. Identifying contamination sources and eliminating them will lower lubrication costs and LCF ratings.
Even with automatic lubricating systems, regular inspection and monitoring of your lubrication can significantly lower the costs. A trained personnel or technician checking daily for signs of lubrication failure can be more cost-effective than other methods or the cost of failure.
LCF in Lubrication Management Software
A Lubrication Management Software like Redlist can help you manage lubrication costs and keep your LCF ratings low. Here are some of the key features that provide support to help you optimize your lubrication management program:
- Custom Lubrication – With Redlist, we work together to design a lubrication program that fits your machine’s needs and operation processes. Custom lubrication charting means your machines get the right type and level of lubrication – no more, no less.
- Time-Saving Process – Redlist automates many steps of the process from monitoring and alerts to work order creation.
- Accurate Monitoring – Accurate data from Redlist results in effective lubrication solutions and immediate actions. Thus, Redlist helps predict and prevent the escalation of lubrication issues that can result in costly lubricant or machine failures and prolonged downtime.
- Inventory Management – Redlist helps you manage the inventory of lubricants, parts, and other materials for your lubricating system. Ineffective inventory often leads to the build-up of work orders, prolonged downtime, high material prices, additional delivery costs due to urgent requirements, and underutilized personnel and resources.
- Actionable Analytics – Redlist promotes the regular collection of lubrication data to let you gain valuable insights into the health of your lubrication program. This way, you can identify areas that need actions that will lower the costs and LCF values.
Redlist’s Lubrication Management can do all these, and more! Schedule a free demo to see how we can support you and your team.