Maintenance Technology July 2015 - (Page 34)
Online Lube Training:
Ken Bannister, CMRP, MLE
When it comes to lubrication best practices, information gleaned from
online forums and posted videos could cost your operations.
"FREE" EXTRACTS A PRICE. Loyalty
programs that provide point-based gifts
track our spending habits and sell the
data to other retailers. "Free" smart apps,
offered in a restricted format, often try
to up-sell users into fuller subscribed
versions and/or inundate them with
paid-advertising messages. These types of
marketing strategies aren't new. They're
high-tech versions of an old approach
from the no-tech world, wherein savvy
North American drinking establishments
offered a "Free Lunch" to customers.
In the 19th century, patrons had to
pay for a premium drink before they
could eat at a bar's free-lunch table, laden
with salty foods that were cleverly crafted
to make a person increasingly thirsty
and, thus, eager to buy additional drinks.
This practice led to the saying "there's no
such thing as a free lunch." It's a concept
that has implications for today's lubrication workforce.
Seeking best practices
Watching several maintainers incorrectly
use their handheld grease guns recently,
I inquired about the training they had
received. To a man, they referenced
having been directed to a popular source
of online videos to watch as many
greasing demonstrations as they could
find and then to emulate them.
Visiting the referenced website for
myself, I discovered dozens of such
videos and links to social-media forums
doling out free advice on how to, among
other things, refill grease guns and lubricate bearings. While elements of each
video or bits of proffered advice could
be construed as useful to viewers (or
trainees), many of the shared practices
could cause harm to a bearing or the
person using the grease gun. Highlights
■ Using a rusty, 50-yr.-old grease gun
that transferred rust into a new
■ Cross-contaminating grease by
replenishing an empty delivery
tube with a totally different type of
product, without cleaning the gun
thoroughly or purging all old grease
from the tube.
■ Using an open-flame torch to liquefy
and free old hardened grease, with
no nod to safety equipment or safe
■ Incorrectly disassembling a grease
gun to replace the delivery tube,
creating a greasy mess and introducing unwanted air into the pump.
■ Spinning a bearing dry and handling
it with bare hands during a greasepacking procedure.
■ Dropping a new bearing into metal
shavings on the floor, then cleaning
it "as good as new" with compressed
air before greasing and installing.
■ Filling a bearing with so much grease
that the seal popped off.
Beware: Like the free lunch in
yesteryear's drinking establishments, the
quality of the "food" in some free online
lubrication training seems to be designed
for and delivered to the untrained by the
Consider the source
By all means, enjoy as many online
lubrication-related forums and videos as
you wish. But make sure you and others
on your lubrication team receive formal
training from a reputable lubrication
This collection of grease guns, all with
the same grease but with different
displacements and gun pressures,
presents a problem of inconsistency when
a work order calls for x number of shots.
These guns are also dirty, leading to
contaminant introduction into machinery.
They should be stored individually in an
upright position in a grease-caddy holster.
Photo courtesy EngTech Industries.
expert or qualified training organization.
That's the best way to identify and avoid
the stupid-potentially costly-grease
tricks that show up in free web content.
Remember, you get what you pay for. MT
Contributing editor Ken Bannister is a
Certified Maintenance and Reliability
Professional and certified Machinery
Lubrication Engineer (Canada). The
author of Lubrication for Industry
(Industrial Press, South Norwalk, CT)
and the Lubrication Section of the 28th
Edition of Machinery's Handbook
(Industrial Press), he can be reached at
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maintenance Technology July 2015
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Drive Strategy With Performance Metrics
Train, Audit Electrical Workers
Carbon-Neutral Drives Molding Company
Troubleshoot Hot Hydraulics
Don't Procrastinate, Innovate
Maintenance Technology July 2015