For many shops, the traditional solution is to dispense lubricants and fluids right out of jugs, pails, kegs or drums. However, these methods present some issues, he says. “For one thing, with drum storage, accurate inventory control is very difficult. Too often, the drum runs dry before a technician has dispensed the necessary amount of lubricant.
“Another frequent occurrence is that empty containers and drums often have residual product left in them. Over time, that amounts to a lot of wasted product.”
Drums take up a lot of valuable floor space and can be messy, Murphy says. There is also the chance that shop employees might hurt themselves when handling the drums.
There are alternatives to traditional packaged lubricants that “can provide an easier, safer, cleaner and more accurate and efficient way to handle all kinds of lubricants and other maintenance fluids,” he points out. These include centralized lubrication systems where lubricants can be stored in bulk containers and dispensed through hose reels right into the unit being serviced.
“Without a fluid management system, it is difficult and time consuming for shops to track fluid changes in vehicles,” says Scott Hill, worldwide product marketing manager for Graco’s Petroleum Management Group. “These systems help record the date, technician, fluid type and amount dispensed into vehicles with relative ease.”
Graco is a world leader in fluid handling systems and components.
“Systems can dispense fluids, such as petroleum and synthetic oil products, transmission lube and antifreeze,” he says. “The systems provide access to data throughout the facility for automated tracking and monitoring, plus state-of-the-art dispensing for complete control of the fluid inventory.”
Fluid management technologies are evolving, notes Hill. “Older, wired systems can accurately meter oil and other fluids, but require technicians to walk to the parts counter where they make a request for the amount of fluids they need to dispense in their service bay. If the parts desk is busy with other orders or personnel are away from the desk, the technician must wait or come back later.
“In addition, many older systems only dispense fluids to one meter at a time. The technician might return to his workstation and have to wait his turn to dispense fluid.
“Neither one of these scenarios is an efficient use of the technicians time.”
Newer, wireless systems optimize technician time with systems that can provide accurate fluid inventory control, permit multiple fluids to be dispensed at the same time and allow the technicians to control the dispensing process at the service bay,” Hill says. These systems can also:
- Track vehicle fluids for more accurate and reliable metering and reporting.
- Track and maintain the correct level of fluid changeovers, from top-offs to complete fluid drains, and tie them back to the manufacturer’s recommended intervals.
- Support warranty claims with a complete history of fluid changes.
In addition, “wireless systems offer system installation and setup costs that are much less with far superior capabilities and flexibility over wired systems, he points out.
Len Badal, commercial sector manager, Chevron Lubricants, a leading supplier of lubricants worldwide, says “maintenance facilities can benefit greatly from an optimized storage and dispensing system for lubricants by preventing contamination, improving efficiency to deliver key lubricants at the right place, time and quantities and also help eliminate waste.”
Using programming dispensing equipment with meters can help manage the amount of lubricant that is dispensed to the working equipment, he says. “This helps eliminate waste from overfilling, and in the case of some products, such as grease, can help prevent damage.
“Overfilling cavities can lead to increased friction and heat or failed seals, which would then leak out grease causing lubrication starvation.”
Balcrank has been designing and manufacturing automotive lubrication equipment including pumps, reels, control handles, drains and accessories for over 100 years.
Manufactures lube pumps, reels, dispense valves and fluid management systems for oil, grease and ATF