Jan Hendrick

As the buying market becomes more complex, it is increasingly difficult for customers to discern fact from fiction when it comes to effective lubrication practices. This makes it all the more important for OEMs to equip themselves with the correct lubrication knowledge that will help position them as a trusted and valuable resource.

To expose some of the most commonly-held industry misconceptions, and dispel maintenance myths, we asked Shell OEM Manager Jan-Hendrik Bruns what is needed for effective lubrication and how it can contribute to equipment – and business – success. See how many questions you would feel confident answering and then discover if Jan-Hendrik’s insights line up with your own.

In the manufacturing industry, equipment failure can have significant ramifications for business. But what percentage of it is caused by improper lubrication?

Lubrication accounts for a small amount of total spend for operators, but according to research by Shell Lubricant Solutions, a staggering 70% of equipment failures in the manufacturing sector are as a result of improper lubrication. This underlines the importance of OEMs recommending the right lubricants to customers to help their equipment perform at its best, boosting trust in end customer-OEM business relationships.

High operating temperatures can put equipment under pressure to perform, but when it comes to lubrication, what issues should be looked out for?

Higher operating temperatures can have a hugely damaging impact on oil life, by raising the rate of oxidative and thermal degradation of the oil itself. If OEMs don’t take higher operating temperatures into account, the resulting by-products can lead to the formation of sludge and varnish, which if left untreated, can cause costly downtime. Therefore, effective lubricants must have high oxidation resistance and excellent thermal stability to help mitigate this risk.

Why is it important to choose an oil with a high viscosity index?

To help protect components in all temperature conditions, lubricants should be able to remain thin enough in cold environments and thick enough in higher temperature to effectively protect against wear.

Is it true that the potential financial consequences of equipment breakdowns can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars?

Yes, it is – and this is often overlooked as the power of lubrication can be underestimated. A survey carried out by Shell Lubricant Solutions found that 20% of gear oil customers believe unplanned equipment shutdowns, due to incorrect lubricant selection or management, have cost their business $250,000 or more. While this is a financial issue for customers, this can also affect the reputation of OEMs as the reliability of their equipment is potentially brought into question due to ineffective lubricant recommendations.

Predictive maintenance is an important step to help minimise unplanned downtime, but when it comes to actual savings, how much could it help the global manufacturing industry by 2025?

The best way to reduce the financial ramifications of maintenance issues, is to prevent them from happening in the first place. This enables smooth running of operations, proving the worth of purchased machinery. According to the McKinsey Global Institute report ‘The Internet of Things: Mapping the Value Beyond the Hype’, $630 billion could be saved globally.

Will an effective oil analysis provide information on oil condition?

The main reason for oil analysis is to better understand the physical and chemical state of the oil to showcase the overall condition of the machinery. However, an advanced option can give much more insight. Oil analysis can also test for machine wear and a number of contaminants that may be negatively affecting components, helping to identify the root cause of machine wear and solving the problem before machinery failure occurs.

What are some of the key capabilities of Industry 4.0 technologies for the manufacturing industry?

In manufacturing, connected equipment and sensor technology are used to identify faults and predict when equipment may fail, allowing operators to schedule their servicing much more effectively. This helps operators ensure their machinery is reliable and consistently performing at its peak.
Artificial Intelligence can also be used to collect and process vast amounts of data, which can help operators adapt recommendations in real-time in order to improve equipment performance.

In today’s industry, training and knowledge sharing is key to progress. But who will companies turn to for this?

In today’s industry, there are many factors at play. Equipment is ever advancing, requiring new knowledge and skills for operators, while a complex buying market means sourcing lubrication options can be confusing.
As a result, 87% of manufacturing companies will look to their equipment manufacturer for training. There is a clear role for OEMs here to position themselves as a trusted partner to their customers.

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