TLC, Tight, Lubricated and Clean or TALC, Tight, Aligned, Lubricated and Clean. Whichever acronym you prefer these are the fundamentals of proactive maintenance which leads to mechanical component reliability. Effective lubrication, fluid management, hydrocarbon management or FLAC whichever term you prefer is one of the fundamentals that comes and goes from an organisational consciousness over time. Proactive fluid management practices lead to improved reliability and increased component life but it is not easy to maintain given that fluids and lubrication can be easily contaminated.
Most fluid management programs developed within companies include the following elements or another combination of the same themes:
- Fluid delivery standards and storage
- Equipment standards and filtration
- Leadership, general handling and sampling practices
- An assessment program against the standard
- Fluid condition standards and ongoing metrics
These themes provide for a holistic program but do all of the themes deliver the same benefits in terms of delivering effective lubrication conditions? Can the process to improvement be simplified?
From our experience, the fastest way to achieve the intended outcomes is to focus on the following key items first. Ie these have the greatest impact on achieving the intended outcomes:
- Equipment standards and filtration – This includes the standard for compartment breathing, mechanisms to take samples, fluid cooling and mechanisms to maintain fluid levels
- Leadership and Awareness of general handling practices
We have audited sites where they have lost the site-wide consciousness of the importance of fluid management but found they had clean fluids in good condition as the fluid compartments have been designed and upgraded to maintain a clean operating environment. Of course, though equipment does not get to this standard without the leadership and team understanding of the importance and value of fluid cleanliness and lubricating standards. For these reasons and from our experience in helping site achieve improved standards we have found these to be the place to start.
Providing fluid management auditing and assisting sites to improve in the most effective manner is a core capability of our operational reliability improvement services. Our methods have been proven to deliver sustainable results because we embed the capability and belief within the site teams.