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Lube-Tech


One of the main lubrication management challenges commonly faced by power companies is contamination control. This is critical to maximising the performance of the lubricant in equipment. How the lubricant is stored, handled and transported through the site greatly impacts the likelihood of contamination. Storing drums in a sheltered place and wiping the top clean before it is opened will help limit the risk of contamination by water and particles. Applying filtration can also help ensure product cleanliness before oil enters equipment.


Also important is regular lubricant monitoring and analysis, to ensure the lubricant is functioning well and remains fit for purpose, essentially giving it a regular health check. This can provide early warning of equipment malfunction or wear or lubricant degradation, enabling the lubricant to be changed before issues escalate and thereby helping reduce the frequency, time and cost of maintenance. This also helps improve productivity due to greater equipment availability.


Oil condition monitoring services, such as Shell LubeAnalyst, are available to support customers by providing early warning of equipment wear or lubricant degradation or other problems. This enables the lubricant to be changed before issues escalate, thereby helping reduce the frequency, time and cost of maintenance. This also helps improve productivity due to greater equipment availability.


Underpinning good lubrication management practices are industry knowledge and expertise. Yet, 59% of power companies surveyed admit they don’t conduct staff training on lubricants as regularly as they should, and only 43% have all the recommended procedures in place6 lubricants effectively.


A common mistake is limiting the oil drain intervals (ODIs) even though the condition of the oil or equipment remains satisfactory. Implementing an effective lubrication monitoring programme can allow companies to increase ODIs and, ultimately, achieve savings. There can be significant benefits to changing the lubricant based on the results of analysis rather than only at fixed, predetermined intervals, particularly when equipment is operating in demanding conditions.


With a gap in staff expertise and only 25 percent of businesses making use of regular visits from their lubricant supplier’s technical staff, most companies are not well equipped to take action. Power companies should follow six steps for the good management of oil and greases:


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.111 page 5


1. Right storage and handling – oils and greases must be stored in the right conditions and handled correctly to avoid contamination and preserve their key characteristics


2. Right place – for the oils and greases to reach the right surface they must be properly applied to the equipment


3. Right time – the correct frequency of oil change or re-greasing ensures the lubricant reaches the surface at the right time. Delays can result in accelerated wear


4. Right amount – the correct volume of oil or grease applied and topped up to protect moving parts effectively


5. Right monitoring – regular sampling and analysis to ensure the oil or grease remains fit for purpose and check for early indications of loss of equipment performance. Inspections also ensure the consistent application of the first four steps


6. Right people – the competence of those who lubricate equipment can greatly affect its positive impact, particularly when it comes to ensuring all of the above happens


TURBINE OIL UPGRADE AND OIL CONDITION MONITORING SERVICE SAVES STEEL PRODUCER USD $57,0887


to manage and monitor


One such customer is Jiangsu Shagang Group (Shagang), one of the largest steel producers in China. The company was experiencing problems in its power plant steam turbines just a few months after commissioning the new equipment. It discovered that excessive steam ingress to the lubricant system had caused the turbine oil to emulsify and significant amounts of sludge to settle at the bottom of the sump. The excessive contamination had also contributed to accelerated wear of two journal bearings.


Following a review of the turbine lubricant system, oil analysis data and discussions with site management, turbine reliability was improved and a new lubricant was recommended for its robust demulsibility control, which means excess water can be easily drained from the steam turbine lubrication system, helping to minimise corrosion and premature wear, and lower the risk of unplanned maintenance. As a result, the company reported annual savings of USD $57,088.


A STRUCTURED APPROACH TO UPGRADING LUBRICATION


A look at companies who have successfully implemented structured, TCO-driven lubrication projects reveals a number of initial actions that help drive success.


6 7


Shell recommended procedures include: Delivery and storage of oils / greases, Oil change procedures, Oil dispensing systems, Efficient grease lubrication systems, Oil analysis, Training employees in lubricant selection and/or management.


The savings indicated are specific to the calculation date and mentioned site. These calculations may vary from site to site and from time to time, depending on, for example, the application, the operating conditions, the current products being used, the condition of the equipment and the maintenance practices. More details available on request.


32 LUBE MAGAZINE NO.140 AUGUST 2017


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