Staffing costs related to greasing could drop if Vesconite polymer bearings, which require little or no lubrication, were introduced.
This is according to Vesconite Bearings technical consultant Eddie Swanepoel, who has performed a greasing staffing cost exercise for one of his South African clients.
Greasing costs add up as the number of greasing points multiplies, the frequency of required greasing increases, and the number of machines in a large plant or fleet increases, he says.
“This alone justifies the investment in Vesconite bushings,” states Swanepoel, who notes that the costing exercise may even be more persuasive in high-tech companies that have sophisticated lubrication equipment, higher paid staff or policies that have been developed to ensure that poor lubrication does not result in equipment breakdowns and plant downtime.
Sources have revealed that the costs included in Swanepoel’s calculations may have to be adjusted depending on the lubrication model employed at a given company.
The classic lubricant department model requires a lubrication technician, or dedicated staff member, to grease equipment. There is also the multi-skilled maintenance mechanic model, which has a mechanic lubricate machines while performing other tasks, and the operator model, in which machine operators lubricate equipment.
Depending on which model is being used, greasing labour costs may rise substantially, with labour costs based on seniority, country, job description and skills level.
Labour is also not the only cost associated with bushings that require lubrication, since there are the costs associated with equipment downtime if greasing is not performed or carried out incorrectly; the costs of lubrication equipment – including grease lines, zerks and manifolds; and, of course, the cost of the grease itself.