Boccard looks to lubricants to increase efficiency
27 May 2009
Following the acquisition of Shell Group’s Fluid Management Services, Boccard UK has produced a White Paper that aims to demonstrate how oils and lubricants can contribute to reduced downtime and improved efficiency. The Manchester, UK based company lists five things companies can focus on to get through tough economic times.
Alex Brain, business development manager at Boccard UK
‘There is no debating that the economic crisis and the high cost of base oil is a genuine concern for many companies,’ explains business development manager, Alex Brain. ‘However, cutting back on lubricant management and using cheaper oils really can cost you more both in the short and long term and has the potential to harm one of your most expensive assets – your machinery.’
Boccard recommends a robust lubrication process and the use of advanced oils, which is proven to reduce energy consumption by up to eight per cent and can actually improve efficiency, decrease waste and reduce the amount of raw materials needed to run machinery in the first place.
Top of the Boccard list of tips is an audit of existing practices to highlight what is working and areas that can be improved. This should cover every aspect of your maintenance programme including training, logistics and materials.
‘A proper audit of current practices should consider not only the equipment and tools used, but also the planning and management of your maintenance regimes and look at everything from the start of the process right through to waste handling,’ says Brain.
Once you know your starting point, adds Brain, you can implement a Total Fluid Management plan, which is essentially a comprehensive programme aimed at maximising the efficiency and life of machines, whilst extending maintenance periods to increase productivity and reduce energy consumption.
The White Paper continues to assert that an essential element of any production facility is training as it will ensure that new practices are fully understood and – equally important – accepted by staff and this is sometimes where companies believe savings can be made.
It suggests that while it can be tempting to make savings by undertaking training internally, hiring in professional and experienced trainers can help implement any changes more effectively and ensure that any expenditure adds genuine value to your business.
Correctly run systems require the support of experienced maintenance technicians; and while in-house support can provide valuable full-time assistance and an insider’s knowledge of a business’s specific fluid management systems, there are drawbacks.
Although a cost-effective solution for sites which anticipate a lot of activity, often the cost of employing a full-time in house specialist far outweighs the needs of a business; particularly for SMEs.
Additionally, in-house maintenance programmes can become rigid, with in-house maintenance teams running the risk of missing out on innovative ideas and the latest best practice due to their lack of interaction with other practitioners.
The final tip in Boccard’s Top 5 is to consider outsourcing fluid management programmes as this option can provide small and medium business managers with peace of mind that their machines are being managed effectively. Furthermore, it frees up valuable time to allow them to concentrate on the crucial matter of running their business.
From effective health and safety management procedures, reduced maintenance and operational costs, greater manufacturing efficiencies, improved product quality and environmental compliance to continual improvement and reviews, the advice from Boccard points to a comprehensive programme aimed at maximising your business.
‘Effective fluid management can help to deliver strategic changes to drive your businesses forward, ready to face the next set of challenges that are sure to arise when the economy begins to recover,’ ends Brain.
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