Anyone passionate about creating a world-class lubrication program realizes that ultrasound technology is the best tool for executing the replenishment task with precision. But which ultrasound instrument works best? Which features are truly game changers? What should a program leader look for when procuring an expert ultrasound lubrication solution?
Social media is alive with discussions about the virtues of scheduling lube intervals on the basis of asset condition rather than a set number of running hours. There is no shortage of webinars to watch on the subject either.
Program leaders now realize that complicated formulae used in antiquated time-based systems, which rely on best-guess data inputs, do not provide the correct scheduling interval outcomes.
The days of adding a few extra «feel-good» pumps from the grease gun are over. Lubricators need discipline and control in their work. Ultrasonic lube regimens use careful science to calculate both replenishment interval and grease quantity. Lube techs who do not follow the recipe prescribed must now explain their decision making to the lube log.
SDT’s chief implementor and LUBExpert guru Haris Trobradovič says,
«The lubrication chain fails when fine fibers around them are missing. Those include awareness, ownership, communication, discipline, control, responsibility, and recognition.»
Before you purchase an ultrasound lubrication solution, be sure the instrument, software, and solution provider are fully capable and competent to overcome these important, human traits. You don’t need another gadget; you need a strategy.
Lubrication Success Formula:
Instrument + Strategy = Solution
Reasons to choose LUBExpert over the Grease Caddy
- Guided Mode – When lube techs choose «Guided-Mode» operation they receive step-by-step advice from LUBExpert’s onboard intelligence. This AI is the result of learning which stems from greasing thousands of bearings.
Based on physical parameters of the asset, Guided-Mode advises you each step of the task while providing live feedback about the impact your efforts made on the bearing’s greasing mechanism. Every instruction is provided based on real-time measurements. Guidance is based on LUBExpert’s continuous assessment of the bearing’s response to added grease.
- Onboard Instructor – A virtual coach lives inside each LUBExpert system. Your first interaction with this mentor may be in a physical or virtual classroom but they follow with you forever. The algorithm inside LUBExpert is like having your trainer with you all the time, prompting and reassuring you what to do next. All decision making is based on the real-time condition of the bearing and the effect adding grease made; positive or negative.
- Grease Gun Database – LUBExpert and its supporting software Ultranalysis® Suite maintain a database of all your grease guns. It knows how many you have, the name you use to distinguish them from each other, as well as their capabilities. LUBExpert remembers the quantity of grease injected per stroke for every grease gun in your closet.
- Lube Database – We all know that mixing incompatible greases is a big no-no; yet it happens all the time. Ultranalysis® Suite supporting software knows which grease to use with which bearing. LUBExpert reminds you at the start of every grease replenishment task to ensure the right grease is reaching the right bearing.
- Sensor Control – On-condition lubrication is a precision task requiring precise procedures. It is critical that the same sensor type be used for repeating tasks such as bearing grease replenishment. With LUBExpert there is only one sensor type for this task, and it’s called LUBESense. Lube technicians are prevented from accidentally using the wrong sensor, and LUBExpert even remembers the serial number of the sensor and stores it with every reading.
- Location Tags – What are the chances of putting the right grease at the right time in the right quantity in the WRONG BEARING? Higher than you may wish to admit. LUBExpert makes sure you are executing each task on the right asset by reminding you prior to pumping with a physical address location right on its generous display.
- Conditional Reporting – Assessment of bearing and lubrication condition is continuous during the entire re-greasing task. In Guided Mode, each step is reported on board for you to see in the field, and for the final condition to be logged to Ultranalysis® Suite software. Each program’s lube strategist may react to constant feedbacks and adjust the strategy as required. Outcomes include:
- Lubrication Success;
- Lubrication Failure;
- Suspected Bearing Failure;
- Shorten Interval;
- Process aborted;
- Safety risk (as an alarm);
- Defected fitting/line (as an alarm)
- Shopping List – What’s worse than returning home from the grocery store having forgotten to pick up a key ingredient? How about venturing 20 minutes into your plant only to discover you forgot to bring the right grease or the right grease gun for your planned tasks?
No more! LUBExpert and Ultranalysis® Suite provide a list cleverly called «Things You Need». The list is made by smartly calculating all the greases and guns pertinent to the planned lube routes you will do that day. Simply email the list to your storeroom and have all the grease guns, greases, and the correct quantities waiting for you as you head out to the plant.
- Discipline and Control – The lubrication task is arguably the most important one for supporting asset health and longevity. But it requires discipline and control and LUBExpert provides them in several ways. [HT3] LUBExpert’s intelligence assigns automatic messages containing information critical for the strategist. This removes that burden of reporting from the lube technician’s shoulders.
- No lubrication task is completed without assigning a field message.
- No lubrication task is skipped without assigning a field message.
- Lube techs have the freedom to follow their own instincts only after considering the advice given by LUBExpert. In either case, it must be documented through messaging.
- Whatever happens in the field is easily read in Ultranalysis® Suite by the lube strategist, every single detail; what, how and why it was done.
- LUBExpert offers technicians to grease bearings in «Free Mode» with graphical and numeric on-screen representation. This «investigative mode» allows operator to feel the pulse of the assets before assigning alarms and guidance. This is NOT possible with listen-only ultrasound gadgets that force you to memorize values, outcomes and added quantity for each step.
- Amplification Control is a new feature added to LUBExpert that sets it apart from its competitors. Ensuring the acoustic settings are correct is a straightforward step but some inspectors have been known to skip it or miss it. LUBExpert blocks the lube technician from collecting data unless the amplification is correctly set.
- LUBExpert has many internal controls preset in Ultranalysis® Suite and LUBExpert. These controls add discipline and accuracy to the important precision task of grease replenishment.
- Acceptable Grease Gun – During program setup each bearing is assigned a grease gun from the database of per-validated grease guns. The recommended replenishment quantity is calculated based on the bearing dimensions and running speed. Ultranalysis® Suite will not allow the assignment of a grease gun that does not match the required output of the bearing.
- Acquisition Time – As every action during grease replenishment is measured by LUBExpert, it needs to know how long to measure between grease injections. This is dependent again on bearing size and running speed. Ultranalysis® Suite and LUBExpert will not allow the input of an acquisition time that is not well-suited to the parameters of that bearing.
- Mandatory Messaging (stopped process) – During the grease replenishment task, you may choose to stop adding grease at any time. However, you cannot close the process without adding a comment to log your reason for stopping the job early. LUBExpert wants to know and so does your lube strategist. You must always add a comment to explain your actions.
Lubrication is a precision task that when done poorly does more damage to reliability than any other maintenance intervention. Without a strategy, without discipline, without control, and without training it would be better to not grease at all.
LUBExpert offers all of these. The solution is one that is missing from industry but promises to restore the role of lube technician to the high priority it once held and should always hold.
If you are shopping for an ultrasound instrument to assist you in your lubrication efforts, perhaps you should reconsider. An instrument alone will not improve your condition. You need a lubrication strategy, a trainer and a coach. You need LUBExpert to #greasebearingsright.
Compiled by Allan Rienstra and Haris Trobradovič