Lubrication Engineers and Advanced Technology Services have announced a strategic partnership in which the two companies will collaborate to develop and implement best practice lubrication reliability programs for industrial customers. After successfully working together on past projects, LE and ATS recognized their great potential for synergy. Both companies focus on helping factories run better with long-term programs that increase uptime and decrease costs.
With this new partnership, ATS has the opportunity to add LE’s expertise and capabilities to its already substantial portfolio of in-plant maintenance solutions.
"LE has a long-standing history with the industrial sector," said Jeffrey Owens, president of ATS. "We needed a company that understood the dynamics involved and could provide a premium lubrication program. LE has the ability to provide customized programs across multiple locations with consistency. We are eager to work with LE to help our customers on their lubrication reliability journey."
Lubrication: the hidden cost center
When researching the reasons for frequent equipment failures and downtime, factories often attribute a significant portion to inadequate lubrication practices. However, without that research, the subject of lubrication is hidden within the factory setting. Even when identified, the knowledge base or manpower may not exist to initiate lubrication reliability improvements.
In most cases, the cost of lubrication is less than 2% to 3% of the overall operating budget of a factory. However, lubrication can have a much larger impact on the cost of the operation, including downtime, replacement parts, manpower, lubricant costs, and expensive equipment failures. LE helps identify this hidden cost center, bringing to light the need for lubrication improvements. LE routinely documents savings by year two or three of as much as 10%-25% for the operations it helps.
"To see improvements, you have to invest in people and materials," said Scott Schwindaman, president and CEO of Lubrication Engineers. "With the right organizational stamina, most companies can see the upfront investment pay off within a relatively short time and in a very quantifiable manner. This is what LE has helped companies do since 1951 – save money through their lubrication efforts. We are very excited to be working with a respected company like ATS to reach more of the industrial market with our solutions. ATS understands the value that LE can help deliver to factories."
One example of the success ATS and LE have experienced working together is the story of a major oriented strand board manufacturer that was striving to improve uptime as demand for their product increased. They were experiencing gearbox, bearing and hydraulic pump failures due to inadequate lubrication practices, resulting in significant downtime. With more than 1,500 lubrication points, the manpower dedicated to lubrication was inadequate, and limited processes were in place to handle the large lubrication scope.
The OSB manufacturer contracted with ATS, which then partnered with LE. Together, ATS and LE offered a comprehensive program that included all lubrication-related equipment, lubricants and manpower. The team developed and implemented lube routes, filtering schedules, an oil analysis program and preventive maintenance tasks, in addition to adding a lube room, filter carts, automatic lubricators, breathers and sight glasses.
One year after the start of the program, the manufacturer realized the following results:
- Increased uptime
- Reduced hydraulic fluid usage by 50%
- Reduced lubrication-related maintenance time by two man years
- Increased completion of operator PMs
- Reduced gearbox and bearing costs
- Improved equipment life
- Improved safety and housekeeping
These outstanding results in a limited amount of time led the manufacturer to expand the program to other plants.