Visual Lubrication Systems - A Reliability Profit Center

Traditionally, machinery lubrication has been seen as a function of low importance, being messy work, requiring limited skills and lacking organization and structure. This is changing.

Manufacturers today are recognizing the critical contribution machinery lubrication practices play in maximizing plant and equipment reliability and generating the attendant profitability gains that come as a result of best practice lubrication programs. A modern lubrication strategy focuses on all aspects of lubrication and integrates such strategy and activity with other reliability and work process improvement initiatives on the shop floor, such as TPM, LEAN, Six Sigma and 5S to name a few.


Many leading manufacturers are recognizing that one of the most simple, immediate and effective places to start any lubrication improvement journey, is to begin with the basics at the plant level lubricant delivery chain. These are the frontline, day-to-day storage and handling activities that occur from lubricant bulk storage to the point of application on equipment. Often, these are areas for immediate operational improvement and profitability gain.

Visible and demonstrable improvements in daily lubricant storage and handling practices at the plant level serves as a catalyst for program change and sends a clear message to craftspeople and engineers alike, that their lubrication skills and knowledge are valued and respected, as are the profits that flow from them.

Many leading companies have found it profitable to allocate some time to physically walk their plants and take a good look at the actual lubrication practices going on day-to-dayin their frontlines and the lubrication equipment being used to execute on those practices. Filthy and disorganized lubricant storage areas, contamination-prone transfer equipment, ineffective or non-existent fluid identification systems are not uncommon, but recurring lubrication related equipment failures, labor inefficiencies and workplace disorganization are.

Seeing the Future: Visual Lubrication Systems

To address these issues, proactive reliability professionals are radically overhauling their antiquated lubricant storage and handling practices and integrating Visual Lubrication Systems at the plant level that enable the systematic and standardized delivery of well-identified and clean lubricants from bulk storage to the point of application on equipment.

Gone are the days of archaic metal oil jugs, disorganized and filthy storage areas, guessing which lubricant goes where in the plant, or running for the hills during a visit from OSHA or the EPA.

Visual Lubrication Systems feature contamination-resistant and fully integrated color-coded fluid management tools such as:

Visual Lubrication Systems emphasize color coding, identification, standardization, workplace organization, waste reduction and contamination control within the lubrication workflow process and deliver immediate and substantial improvements in workplace lubrication practices. These systems also integrate with plant-wide initiatives such as LEAN manufacturing and 5S programs (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain).

The 5Rs of Lubrication

Visual Lubrication Systems maintain a focus on ensuring the 5Rs of lubrication are satisfied between lubricant bulk storage and the point of application:

  • The right product
  • The right place
  • The right amount
  • The right time
  • The right attitude

Visual Lubrication Systems create a complete color-coded chain of custody from the lubricant storeroom to the plant floor that maintenance personnel can easily follow and help ensure the correct lubricant is applied to the correct fill point on machinery and thereby helping to avoid potentially catastrophic and expensive equipment failures.

Most importantly, Visual Lubrication Systems demonstrate instantaneous workplace improvement efforts by management and restore pride in the craft at the plant floor. The result is a safer, more efficient and potentially profitable lubrication work process, where once there was only hidden cost, damage and downtime.

Related Links:

Article courtesy of Fluid Defense Systems