Understanding the Optimum Reference State, or ORS, is key to understanding and achieving machine reliability. But unfortunately, the ORS is rarely considered and often misunderstood by machine builders, users, and maintenance or lubrication experts. We can’t stress enough to them the importance of ORS-compliant lubricants and lubrication practices to successfully achieve your reliability goals.
What is Optimum Reference State (ORS)?
As you can figure out from its name, the Optimum Reference State is the optimum state for a machine to reach and maintain specific reliability goals. The factors that affect this state include the design, arrangement, and layout of the machine, the conditions under which you use the machine, and how you perform maintenance activities.
The aim is to achieve the highest level of lubrication excellence by making the current lubrication state as close to the ORS as possible. And this goal is achievable by considering the different attributes of ORS, which are:
Adequately trained personnel and technicians use suitable lubricants or tools and perform proper lubrication procedures. Regular training promotes efficient lubrication and reliability.
Excellent lubrication is further achieved when machines are arranged or configured to facilitate all necessary maintenance operations. Such operations include inspection, lubrication, contamination control, oil sampling for analysis, etc.
The state of lubrication also depends on the selection of ideal lubricants that fit the physical, chemical, and performance requirements of the machine. Such requirements may include but are not limited to the base oil and additive types, viscosity, film strength, oxidation stability, etc.
The lubrication process or the methods, materials, and schedules employed to apply and maintain lubrication also needs to be suitable and ideal for the machine to reach the target lubrication state, i.e., the ORS.
Oil Analysis Accuracy
Performing oil analysis also needs to be on point and accurate to be effective in providing results that are actionable and reflect the true state of the lubricant. Oil analysis depends on the testing laboratory’s methods and materials, sampling frequency and location, critical results limits, troubleshooting parameters, etc.
Optimum Reference State Tactics
From the attributes above, there are several ORS tactics facilities can use to reach optimum lubrication and enable reliability, ultimately benefiting the whole facility. These ORS tactics are outlined below.
ORS Step 1: Lubricant Selection
Your facility must develop an effective way of selecting the ideal lubricants among the plethora of lubricant products on the market. You must not use supplier claims as the sole basis for lubricant selection. Successful lubricant selection depends on in-house experts’ technical knowledge and experience using the machines and lubricants. Availing of third-party testing to confirm the quality of lubricants can also be helpful.
ORS Step 2: Lubricant Health
Monitoring and maintaining the health of the lubricant is also a critical tactic for achieving an excellent lubrication state. Monitoring lubricant health is the first defense against lubricant-related failure. Proper monitoring lets you detect issues and identify solutions to detect or even reverse failure.
ORS Step 3: Contamination Control
The contamination of lubricants, lubricating systems, and machines is the leading cause of failure and poor reliability in machines. The road to an excellent lubrication state starts with contamination control. The ideal lubricant and lubrication process is useless if you do not prevent contaminants that promote degradation within your system.
ORS Step 4: Lubricant Levels
Another critical ORS tactic in achieving lubrication excellence is controlling and maintaining lubricant levels. You first need to know the ideal lubricant level requirements for your machines and set the upper and lower limits for these levels. Then you can develop a control plan that prevents the lubricants from exceeding these limits.
ORS Step 5: Root Cause & Fault Identification
You must also have a helpful method of identifying the root causes and faults that lead to machine failure. Without an efficient and organized plan, you will fail to deal with failure proactively. As a result, you will incur higher repair costs and have regular and prolonged downtime and low reliability.
ORS Step 6: Personnel & Environmental Safety
Reaching the optimum reference state also means getting optimum safety for your facility workers and the environment. Poor lubrication is one of the leading causes of machine failures that cause workplace accidents and fatalities. Poor lubrication also results in high environmental waste and energy consumption.
Achieve Optimum Reference State with Lubrication Management Software
Achieving reliability through ORS-compliant lubrication is complicated. You need inter-departmental commitment and facility-wide implementation. For some, it will require significant changes in their lubrication processes and operations.
A lubrication management software like Redlist is one of the most valuable tools you can get to make lubrication excellence possible. With Redlist, it is easier to incorporate ORS-compliant practices into your current procedures and applications. You can also plan and execute ORS tactics in an easy-to-use platform with automated data collection and analysis.