Efficient Plant May 2022 - 18

feature | lubrication solutions
How Much is
Lubrication
Costing
You?
Mark Barnes, PhD CMRP
Des-Case Corp.
Evaluate yearly costs for replacement
components that require lubrication to
achieve cost avoidance.
AS CONSUMERS ARE seeing increased costs for everyday basics
and unprecedented supply-chain disruptions, so to, manufacturers
are facing the combination of increased costs for replacement parts,
increased lead times for basic components, and a scarcity of consumable
products. In many cases, this has forced companies to look
at their costs and evaluate ways to reduce or eliminate unnecessary
expenses.
Th is is particularly true of lubrication, where the cost of performing
lubrication poorly can equate to 10% to 15% of a plant's overall
maintenance budget. Moreover, supply-chain disruption is creating
issues with lubricant availability. Recently I heard of a company that
was told by their lubricant supplier that they can only guarantee
delivery of 50% of the lubricants the plant typically uses in any given
year. Th is is not an isolated incident, forcing many companies to face
the most basic of questions: " How much is lubrication costing me? "
and " How can I reduce lubrication costs? "
SIZE OF THE PRIZE
One simple way to look at the cost of lubrication is to look at MRO
spend. By evaluating how much is spent each year on replacement
components that require lubrication, such as bearings, pumps, gears,
and chains, as well as hydraulic components, it becomes reasonably
simple to evaluate the " size of prize " for lubrication-based cost
avoidance.
18 | EFFICIENTPLANTMAG.COM
Fig. 1 (p. 20) shows an example of annual MRO spend from a
medium-sized production facility. From the data, it becomes immediately
clear where the problem lies. In the three years from which
the data was pulled, the plant averaged 1,688 replacement bearings
every year and, while most bearings are small, meaning a relatively
low cost to replace, the sheer number of bearings replaced means
that this plant is spending more than $100,000/yr. buying bearings.
According to a leading bearing manufacturer, 63% of premature
bearing failures are caused by lubrication-related issues. If this holds
true for the plant, close to $65,000 is spent every year replacing bearings
that have failed due to an inability to properly lubricate.
Next on the list is hydraulic components. While it would be nice
to have greater granularity to show which components are replaced
most oſt en, overall, the plant is spending $150,000 every year replacing
hydraulic components. Consider that 80% to 90% of hydraulic
failures are due to hydraulic-fl uid contamination and we can see
that roughly $120,000 is being spent annually servicing contamination-induced
hydraulic failures.
What is not listed in Figure 1 is the cost of lubricant purchases. In
years past, oil was oſt en considered to be a necessary consumable,
relatively inexpensive in contrast to downtime and other operating
expenses. In today's world, that is simply not the case.
Th is plant exceeded their Q1 budget for lubricant purchases by
75%. Th is was driven by an increase in hydraulic fl uid and grease
MAY 2022
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Efficient Plant May 2022

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