April 28, 2020

Improving Lubrication Practices through Benchmarking: Case Study

by Drew MacRae

World class facilities regularly benchmark their current lubrication practices through a series of evaluations and audits. This way they can determine how they compare to similar facilities, identify gaps, and determine what they can do to improve upon their current practices.



A large mining company looked to us for a review of their current lubrication programs. When we arrived on site, we discovered there were no standard methods or procedures for completing lubrication tasks. This included greasing processes, lubricant storing procedures, and sampling frequencies. The processes were simply passed down from one technician to another in no systematic way, aside from the commonly heard phrase “We have always done it this way.”


Our Reliability Specialists completed multiple projects over a period of a few months.

  • We first started with the Scorecard which allowed them to benchmark where they were at in their lubrication program. A scorecard is a three step benchmarking task – identification, documentation, and solution – that provides a prioritized action plan to address shortcomings and provide best practice recommendations for improvement.
  • As it was determined there weren’t any documented processes and procedures, we next executed an Oil Analysis Audit of every lubricated asset in both the mine and the plant. An Oil Analysis Audit involves a thorough inspection of a lubrication program, the equipment being tested, and equipment operation conditions. Organizational gaps are identified to build a framework for an oil analysis program. A proper oil sampling procedure, along with recommended fittings, sampling frequencies and test package was compiled and recommended to the customer.
  • The final step involved a full audit of their equipment greasing procedures. Similar to the Oil Analysis Audit, a Greasing Audit identifies all greased assets and components in order to develop comprehensive plans on proper greasing procedures. In this case, all greased assets were reviewed for their frequency and grease amounts based upon operating conditions to determine the optimal requirements.
  • All of the recommendations provided were uploaded to the company’s myLab profile so that all lubrication tasks are properly tracked.


The customer was able to improve their sampling and greasing practices to be more in line with industry standards and now have a defined lubrication program for both oil wetted and greased assets. The audits also identified other areas of concern in their reliability programs such as training deficiencies at different plants and mine sites. In partnership with Fluid Life, these issues were identified and resolved via ongoing consultations to determine what reliability initiatives would be best for the other sites.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team of reliability specialists and find out how we can help you with your lubrication program benchmarking and auditing needs.