When the weather gets cold, businesses face a series of challenges. Fluids, including lubricants, must be kept at the manufacturer’s recommended temperatures to work effectively. Making sure that those temperatures remain at suggested levels is critical to protecting machinery and providing optimal conditions. Here are five simple, but crucial steps manufacturers can take to ensure operational efficiency.
1. Check Your Maintenance Schedule
Rather than relying on service hour meter intervals, try using calendar intervals instead. This is a larger issue if the plant is located in areas that become very cold or hot during the year. This way, you can get a jump-start on winter and summer stress on your machines.
2. Make Certain Lubricant Levels Are Appropriate
Lubricant levels in machinery may be different in colder weather. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for lubricant and other fluids to make sure that the machinery is within limits for winter use. Always keep fluids at room temperature.
3. Warm Up Machinery Before Using
When warming up the machinery, block the radiator which will restrict the cold air from the fan. When using starter fluid, inject only when the engine is actually cranking. When ambient air that is less than 20˚F, starting a cold engine produces up to 100 times more greenhouse gas emissions than one that is pre-warmed. Fuel economy and better lubrication are two other major advantages.
4. Provide Protection for the Lowest Expected Temperature
If the temperatures are expected to be below zero and your machinery is set to withstand 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it is set up to fail. It should be someone’s responsibility to watch weather patterns and ensure that the machines can withstand extreme weather, so that machinery will last longer and perform better.
5. Powerblankets Provide External Heat in Cold Weather
The Powerblanket line of drum heaters is designed to protect products as low as -20ºF. The vinyl shell keeps equipment warm when temperatures drop below freezing. The Powerblanket pro series have controllers for frigid temperatures and are able to bring the fluids up to 145ºF. The blanket is insulated with a wrap-around, heavy-duty structure that provides the optimum viscosity for efficiency.
When winter hits, those in charge of maintenance need to plan to go into action. Efficiency, improved operation and fuel costs, and longer machinery life are all benefits of carefully and efficiently matching temperatures to fluids.