Guest post by Paul Llewellyn – LUBRICATION ENGINEERS

Is new oil clean oil? That is a question that can be debated, and has been, for many, many years.  If the new drum that was delivered to my dock, destined for my hydraulic equipment, has never been opened, how can the oil inside it be “dirty”?

To answer that question, perhaps we need to look at a typical journey for a drum of “new” oil.  Most commercial oils leave the finished lubricant manufacturing location in a bulk tanker truck destined for several local oil jobber or distributor locations.  First question: How clean was the tanker truck’s tank when the oil was pumped into it? What method was used to fill the tanker? Was a hose used that had been lying around the filling area floor?  How many stops were made before the tanker arrived at your supplier’s location?

Once arrived at the jobber location, the oil is off-loaded into bulk storage silos on site.  Again, what was the method used to off-load the bulk oil?  Is there a dedicated pump and hose for each different type of oil being off-loaded and stored, or do they flush the same pump and hose and use just one? Where and how were the pump and hose stored?

Once on site, the oil then has to be transferred into the container that you ordered.  Let’s say that’s a 55-gallon drum.  Has that drum been used before and is simply refurbished for reuse? How was it cleaned? What oil was in it before? Is it rusty inside? Does it contain moisture? Dirt?

And what if you ordered a small tanker delivery of say 300 gallons for the 500-gallon stationary tank at your facility? Are you the first stop of the day for the delivery driver or has he been off road on dirt and gravel to five different construction sites before showing up at your facility? Was he/she trained in contamination control best practices?  Most likely, they have no training in that area.

So, it is fairly easy to see how new oil can become dirty and most likely is too dirty for use in a hydraulic system.  It is best practice to take an oil sample of the new oil upon arrival.  This will tell you whether the oil in the container is actually the oil you ordered and what cleanliness level the oil meets.  Then, best practices dictate that you filter that oil before you put it into your expensive equipment.  And use dedicated pumping equipment for that fill. Don’t pay for the cost of reliability with the consequences of unreliability!

Learn more about Lubrication Best Practices from Paul Llewellyn at our Rethink Maintenance Training Roadshows

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by Paul Llewellyn - Lubrication Engineers