Problems Caused with Improper Lubricant Storage and Dispense
Component failure can typically be traced back to improper lubrication. In fact, up to 80 percent of bearing failures can be caused by improper lubrication. Improper lubrication can happen from several areas during transfer, storage and dispense. Insufficient lubrication, using the wrong lubricants or contaminated lubricants, or mixing the wrong kinds of lubricants together, known as cross-contamination, are common problems. Mixing synthetic and mineral-based lubricants can even cause major problems that lead to leaks and complete failures. Oil contamination and cross-contamination typically occur during:
- New oil delivery
- Oil and lubricant storage
- Oil transfer
- Dispensing oils and lubricants
Modernizing Oil Storage and Dispense
Proper oil storage, transfer and dispense are key to maintaining your oil supply's integrity. Bulk oil storage containers and dispense systems make it easier than ever to organize, store and dispense multiple types of fluids, oils and lubricants from the same station while preventing cross-contamination through systems with proper identification. Color-coded systems can ensure each type of oil is traveling through the correct hoses and into the correct machine.
Lets discuss the types of modern oil storage tanks and review important features that you should look for in a reliable oil dispensing system.
Types of Oil Storage Containers
Oil tanks should meet the ULC's regulations. The tank will bear a label stating its UL Listing. For example, the label on each stackable Tote-A-Lube tank from Fluidall states the tank is certified for "Nonmetallic Bulk Container for the Storage and Dispensing of Combustible and Non-combustible Liquids. ULC/ORD-C142.14-03." And the aboveground steel tanks, both the double walled tanks, from Roth or the steel bench tanks, from Newberry also bear the appropriate label. Additionally, oil storage tanks should have a dedicated space to properly identify the type of oil inside.
Steel vs. Polyethylene Containers
Oil storage tanks should either be made of steel or polyethylene. Poly tanks have many advantages over steel tanks. Some advantages polyethylene oil storage tanks have over steel include:
Visibility: Polyethylene tanks are translucent giving you visibility inside the tank, so you can check oil levels inside the container without exposing the interior to the open air.
Longevity/durability: Polyethylene oil storage containers are built for longevity and involve little to no maintenance. While steel is strong, polyethylene oil storage tanks have thicker sidewalls and are more flexible than steel.
Seamless: Welded seams give contaminants a place to hide over time and lend themselves to rusting when fittings are added by welding. Polyethylene oil tanks are seamless by nature and can be formed into stackable configurations with difference capacities and tank sizes.
Mobility: Polyethylene oil storage containers are lightweight and easy to move around if you need to reconfigure your oil storage space or lube room. Tanks can even be outfitted with steel cages for easy of mobility.
One of the most common oil storage containers are 55 gallon oil drums. Drums often come with issues that relate to oil cleanliness. Drums have been known to have waste at the bottom of them. Empty drums leave behind product residue that builds up over time. For this very common problem, polyethylene oil storage tanks offer a huge advantage when it comes to maintaining oil cleanliness levels and minimizing waste.
Double Wall Oil Storage Tanks
The EPA regulations on spill prevention, control and countermeasure (SPCC) state that fuel and storage tanks must have some type of secondary containment vessel. For single wall storage containers, this can be a concrete structure or an inexpensive poly vessel container.
Double-wall oil storage tanks use an inner layer and an outer layer as this secondary containment, providing an extra layer of safety and reliability. They offer the best of both worlds with an outer layer of fire-resistant, leak-proof galvanized steel and an inner layer of molded, high-density polyethylene, they are also available in double wall steel. Like most oil storage tanks, double wall tanks can be used as standalone storage system or a tank can be configured with dispense equipment for a complete oil storage and dispense system.
Two major benefits of double wall oil storage tanks include:
- Class II and III fluids such as hydraulic and gear oil, brake or power steering fluids, ethylene or propylene glycol-based anti-freeze, diesel and biofuels can be stored.
- Outer tanks are usually designed as a secondary containment barrier holding more than 110 percent of the inner tank layer's fluid. This built-in secondary container prevents you from needing to add a secondary containment barrier like you would with a single wall tank.
It's important to know your local state, county or city code requirements. They may require the double wall security, or you may be ok using single wall tanks.
Polyethylene portable oil storage tanks are ideal for mobile applications when you need to transport oil to remote service areas or to another area on your maintenance route within your plant. These resealable containers come in a wide range of sizes, from handheld to more than 400 gallons of storage space. Many portable oil storage containers are stackable and designed with forklift skids for loading and off-loading. If you're shopping for mobile oil storage tanks, make sure they have the capability to be equipped with pumps and hose reels for dispensing oil, as well as onboard filtration to ensure your oil meets cleanliness targets in the field.
Oil Dispensing Systems: What You Need to Know
Oil dispensing systems are an excellent for efficiency and also help keep your lubricants clean.
Bulk oil dispensing systems can be customized to fit your specific lubrication system area. System equipment is available with electric or air pumps, and with different hose reel lengths and dispense meters. Features you should consider for your bulk storage oil dispensing system include:
Color coding: Color-coded transfer tanks that correspond to the same color hose and oil taps help to prevent cross-contamination.
Pressurized dispensing taps: Pressurized taps help make sure oil is dispensed at the appropriate flow rate.
Built-in spill containment: A spill containment tray or vessel ensures compliance with the EPA regulations.
Dedicated pumps and/or filters: A separate pump and filter for each tank is vital, each with three-way filtration (filters while filling, kidney-loop filtration and while dispensing).
Proper hosing: Hoses should offer both auto shutoff and tank isolation valves.
Tanks: Tanks should be polyethylene or steel, as we already discussed.
Desiccant breathers: For bulk oil storage, it's best practice to install desiccant breathers on each tank due to the larger headspace.
Multiple configurations: You have the option to customize your lube system with various sized tanks and many different pump configurations
Benefits of Modern Oil Dispense Tanks and Systems
We've already discussed how modern oil dispensing systems and containers help manage oil safely, cleanly and cost effectively. Let's take a look at some other benefits:
Improves efficiency: Oil dispense systems reduce the inefficient transfer of oil, which can cause safety issues. Controlling safety alone eliminates things like spills and clean-ups, higher labor costs and purchasing absorbents. Additionally, having an oil dispense system lets you store oil close to your work area, keeping it readily available without the need to make multiple trips to and from each machine.
Reduces space: Oil dispense systems are designed to maximize space. Eliminating drum clutter in your shop not only make your shop look nicer but also reduces contamination possibilities.
Prevents cross-contamination: By consistently identifying oils through the use of labels and a color-coding system, you can ensure the right oil goes into the correct storage container, through the correct hose and into the correct machine every time.
Improves compliance: Using an oil dispensing system designed with EPA, OSHA and other standards and regulations in mind helps you improve compliance and safety as well as reduces waste by eliminating spills.