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Lubricant Storage & Handling - Doug's Tip of the Month

DEF trailer

One of the most important but overlooked aspects of proper lubricants and lubrication,  is storage, handling and transport of the lubricants.

Storage of lubricants should be in proper containers, which are clearly labeled, to aid in preventing cross contamination.

  • All openings on bulk storage or drum containers should always be kept closed with proper venting, preferably with desiccant breathers. Desiccant breathers help prevent the ingression of contaminants, both in the air such as dust or dirt as well as water content from humidity or a moist environment.
  • Containers should be kept in an area with adequate lighting and ventilation.
  • Lubricants should always be stored with proper containment in case of a spill.
  • Storage areas should always be clean and free of clutter.

Handling and Transport of lubricants should always be in airtight, sealed, color-coded, and clearly labeled container. As part of handling of the lubricants, filtration should be considered.

  • Proper filtration should be used to move lubricants to bulk storage and then again from bulk storage to the transport container.  
  • Optimally, the lubricant should be filtered again before going into the equipment.
  • Filtering systems and carts should have designated pumps and hoses to aid in preventing cross contamination.
  • Filtering lubricants and maintaining clean oil can extend the life of the lubricant as well as extend the life of the equipment being lubricated. An acceptable level of cleanliness is established via the ISO Cleanliness code which is determined by the OEM of the equipment being lubricated.

Improper handling and/or storage of lubricants can easily result in cross-contamination or cross-mixing of oils, which can be very detrimental not only to the lubricant, but also the equipment that it is lubricating. Improper mixing of lubricants can cause oxidation, additive loss, and changes to viscosity.   

If you were to cross contaminate a Gear Oil and an R&O Hydraulic fluid, for example, where only a hydraulic fluid was required it could result in the gear oil attacking (chemically corroding) yellow metals that are found in bearing materials. This is due to the EP – (Extreme Pressure additives) found in Gear Oils. On the other hand, diluting the EP additives in gear oil with an R&O Hydraulic fluid could result in inadequate lubrication for a heavily loaded gear set where Gear Oil is required.

With any lubricant, proper storage and handling should always be the best practice. Keep in mind, that it is easier and less expensive to keep contaminants from entering a lubricant and/or prevent cross contamination, than it is to remove the contaminants or solve the cross contamination issue after the fact.


3 collage

 

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Check out our Taunton Facility, where Product Integrity is Everything

In 2015 we moved out of our longtime corporate headquarters in Chelsea MA into our new facility in Taunton MA. In 2020 we also added another state-of-the art lubricant plant in Saco, Maine.

While current COVID protocols limit our ability to show our facilities to our customers, we thought a photo "walk through" and explanation might be helpful while we wait for things to open up in Massachusetts so we can return to the real thing (which thankfully should be soon!!) 

Below is a quick run through some of the key parts of our main facility in Taunton, Mass. 

One of the things we are most proud of about the Taunton facility, is starting again in the warehouse let us have the ability to put the same level of extra care into planning out product segregation in our facility as we have always done in our trucks. 

We have a substantial tank farm, and our Lubricant Operations team really went the extra mile in installing a segregated piping system, including separate pumps for hydraulic, motor oil, and DEF. This essentially provides extra steps to ensure product integrity, and eliminates the chances of any cross contamination by removing even the chance of slight residual product in hoses after pumping. 

tanksshiny segregated piping

 

Within our customized lube delivery trucks, the same principal applies, as you can see here:

segregated piping in lube trucksloading lube truck

 

For DEF, our DEF trailers are equipped with 1 micron filters, which ensures the cleanest possible product and guarantees no contamination. We run closed systems on all DEF packaging & equipment to ensure quality throughout the life of the product. 

hose reels def trailerdef drum crpped-1

 

Additionally, we added a customized tote wall setup. This setup allows us to store multiple totes in an efficient space, as well as designate each one by product and manufacturer, so each tote only carries its designated item which we can track by barcode from fill through delivery to a customers site, meaning in the event of any issues, we have full visibility into the full journey of the product and know exactly where it is and where it came from. 

Tote Wall - rotatedloading tote wall

 

The barcoded, segregated totes tie into our broader inventory tracking & product delivery platform we use to integrate product management within the warehouse with precise delivery to customers, and route optimization for our drivers, but that's a subject we will cover in another update. 

Saco to follow!

 

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