Without proper lubrication, machinery of any type — and especially within a food-processing environment — will break down, costing processors time and money.
Lubrication is the lifeblood of the processing industry. Production shutdowns and inefficiencies are often the results of ignoring or making mistakes when it comes to keeping machinery lubricated and running optimally.
We spoke to experts and analysts across the industry, who focus on the importance of lubrication of food-processing equipment, and we present these:
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5 Essential Steps to
Use the correct lubricant
The right viscosity, the right additives and the right base oil.
Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) will recommend ISO viscosity grades based on operating temperature.
Lubricant selection is based on ambient and operating temperatures, metallurgy, rotation speed involved and load (high speed/lighter viscosity, slow speed/higher viscosity).
Look for H1 food grade lubricants, where required, as you can buy lubricants that are non-food grade and meant to be used where there is no possibility of contacting food.
Avoid using old or
All lubricants have a shelf life
and inventory should be managed using "First In, First Out".
Third-party registration, such as NSF International, can assist in bringing peace of mind.
Quality is key, as ultimately you get what you pay for.
Use it in the correct place
All lubrication points on machine/equipment should be identified, and proper lubricant should be used for the particular lube point.
Develop diagrams showing lubrication points on equipment, color-coded to type of lubricant needed, amount and service frequency.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) protocol
is a measure and a process to promote and adhere to overall safety; HACCP is also used to create and monitor lubrication programs, which ensure
equipment is running at
Apply the correct quantity
This is especially important with grease lubrication, where there can be a tendency to over-grease.
can be as damaging as under-lubricating.
OEM will often provide information on the correct oil level amount.
Ensure the correct oil level to provide proper lubrication and cooling.
• Visual inspection
Monitor lubrication levels.
Apply at the correct frequency
Create a consistent lubrication schedule and documentation utilizing industry best practices.
Establish oil drain intervals based on OEM and lubrication provider recommendations.
Set and stick to schedules for measuring and replacing lubricants.
Foster/promote the correct attitude
A lubrication program requires an owner.
Most effective facilities have a highly trained and
certified in-house staff.
The owner is responsible for the program and is supported by a team from all segments of the facility.
The right people with the right training are critical to success.
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Learn More About the 5 Essential Steps to Proper Machinery Lubrication for Maximum Operational Efficiency.
Ensure proper handling of lubricants to eliminate fluid contamination.
Find the right lubricant supplier that provides support specific to your team and plant requirements.
Work collaboratively with your team to achieve food safety standards compliance, increased equipment performance and enhanced plant productivity.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) protocol is a measure and a process to promote and adhere to overall safety; HACCP is also used to create and monitor lubrication programs, which ensure equipment is running at optimal performance.
Processors should ensure they are using HACCP protocols to monitor and control lubrication programs in order to keep equipment operating at optimum performance and reliability.