4 ways to reduce operational expenses


reduce op ex

Written by Phil Henry, Industrial Lubricant Account Manager, WP Group

When it comes to this time of year, customers often ask me the same question – how can we reduce our op ex? As businesses review their performance and “crunch numbers” from Q1, focus usually falls to the operation team to find solutions and innovations that will help protect their bottom line. Many businesses I’ve worked with think simply spending less on lubricants will result in overall cost savings, but this is not the case so let’s dispel the myth. There are at least 4 different techniques you can implement into your operations to reduce operational spend.

  1. Performance over price

The lifeline of your machinery relies on the quality of lubricants you use. Reliable performance is the true cost differential between the optimum and base level product selection.  

For every pence per litre saved purchasing low cost hydraulic oil, the continued and reactive maintenance costs as well as asset care, often exceeds these initial savings. 

Additional costs, increased safety and reduced environmental risks can in most cases be attributed to poor lubricant selection. The performance of poor quality or incorrectly selected lubricants can be unreliable and detrimental to the performance of your machinery. Common additional costs from using these lubricants are:

  • Labour costs to complete frequent oil changes
  • Cost to remove waste oil
  • Regular filter changes
  • Increase energy consumption
  • Unplanned downtime

Have you calculated the cost and frequency of maintenance completed across your plant? This could be key to understanding the quality and performance of your lubricant.

  1. Reduce leakage

Studies have indicated that every year the average plant uses four times more oil than its machines actually hold, and this is not accounted for by frequent oil changes.1

Leakage of lubricants can be caused by many factors such as:

  • Insufficient seals, fittings and/or covers
  • Lack of condition monitoring
  • Poor maintenance practises
  • Some oils contain ingredients that can attack seals and possibly lead to leaks

Lubricant leakage from assets is not only a reliability and safety concern but a visual representation of your business losing money. To prevent continued loss, a full evaluation of the asset and lubrication management programme is required.

  1. Grease lightning

Grease is the unsung hero of the lubricant world. Whether mineral or synthetic, grease is designed to provide all-round balanced performance even in the most extreme operating conditions. Ensuring the correct grease is applied effectively to your assets will prevent unscheduled downtime, loss of productivity and money.

They offer the advantages that their friction is independent of temperature, and they do not evaporate or creep in terrestrial vacuum or space environments.2                    

Not only is the correct grease essential but applying the correct amount of grease is also crucial. Some of the recommended methods that determine the amount of grease required for individual applications include calculated volume and ultrasonic-assisted greasing.

To build a world-class lubrication program (not just for greasing), employ multiple technological disciplines to ensure that you have accounted for all of the variables.3

  1. Oil Contamination

Reviewing storage and handling practises on your site could be the key to getting the most value for money from your lubricants. The way lubricants are stored and handled is imperative to maintaining the integrity of products. If products are not stored safely in clean, temperature-controlled store rooms they are susceptible to contamination which can prove costly. Component wear and machine failures are the main result of contaminated lubricant.

Oil contamination is often one of the main causes of component and equipment failure, with 70-80% of all hydraulic failures tracing back to contaminated oil.

For added protection you should invest in equipment to handle and apply lubricants to assets. Not only will this reduce the risk of contamination, it will quantify the amount of lubricant used and improve health and safety for your machine operators.

Speak to myself or a member of the team, about your bespoke lubrication requirements and to find out more about your potential cost saving opportunities. Contact us on 0333 222 40347 or complete our enquiry form.

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