Traditional consoles sit at the part counter and require the technician to go there to order product, costing productivity, he says. Second generation systems have a keypad out in the shop to allow a technician to enter dispensing requests which increases efficiency. The keypad controls fluid using solenoid valves installed at the fluid outlets.
Third generation equipment is totally wireless and can tie into the shop’s in-house computer system, he says. There are systems than can simultaneously control, dispense and monitor numerous locations, are able to create reports by product, user, customer or location and monitor fluid stock levels.
Because they are not hard-wired, wireless control systems are a good option for retrofitting existing shops, plus they can handle portable dispensing equipment that wired systems cannot, he notes.
Proper storage, handling and dispensing guidelines are critical to ensure product cleanliness and performance in all types of equipment and all types of storage units, stresses Chevron’s Badal. “Improperly stored and handled lubricants can cause cleanliness issues and contamination, and that impacts equipment performance and useful life.”
Always ensure that dispensing lines and equipment are clean and that lines are periodically checked, and even purged, to make certain contaminants are not built up over time, or in the case of grease, that the thickeners don’t “harden” and block appropriate dispensing, he advises. Furthermore, in the case of changing lubricants, always clean storage and dispensing equipment to eliminate contamination or incompatibility, which will lead to equipment performance issues or damage.
The proper care and use of grease guns or keg/pail top dispensing units, is also important, as is keeping them clean and free of dirt or old grease to ensure correct application, he adds.
Frequently, the dispensing nozzle can end up on the floor or ground where it can pick up contaminants that could get inputted to a grease cavity, and causes problem. “Always be sure to store these nozzles properly and wipe them off before pumping in grease to the lubricated parts.”
It is best to “deal with lubricant suppliers that provide consistent quality of product and blending process to ensure all OEM specifications are maintained and product integrity is not compromised,” says Badal. “This becomes critical when any failures occur to ensure that warranties are covered and support is required for customer claims.
“Typically customers don’t realize the amount of testing required to maintain OEM approvals for quality products and some of the detriments to performance when short cuts are taken by less quality oriented suppliers. This can lead to costly failures and rejection of claims that can offset any savings in product prices.”
To see if a fluid management system is right for your shop, Graco’s Hill suggests contacting other shops using systems to get feedback on how their systems perform.
“Do some research to find out what the system features and benefits are so you can be certain it fits the needs of your maintenance department,” he suggests. “Contact a distributor to get an idea on cost, and realize that many systems can pay for themselves in less than one year.”
Regardless of the type of fluid storage, handling and dispensing equipment and system a shop decides upon, there are a variety of control systems available to ensure you have a record of the maintenance done on vehicles and all your fluids get billed out,” Murphy says. “From the tank to the control system, a well-designed lubrication system can make your technician’s work easier, save you money and increase the productivity of your maintenance shop.”
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