Two Minute Tips  

How to Keep Lubricants Clean, Cool & Dry

Rob Kalwarowsky | Senior Reliability Engineer & Host of Rob’s Reliability Project podcast, Rob's Reliability

A Few Best Practices for Lubrication Cleanliness

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my thought processes for choosing an oil sampling location.  To continue on the lubrication theme, I wanted to give you a few ideas for contamination control.  Next week, I’ll take on lubricant storage.

What are some best practices for lubrication cleanliness at your plant?

  • Desiccant Breathers – Keeping moisture and particles out of your oil starts with storage and transportation but once you get it into the equipment, you can’t stop.  As you know, equipment breathes with changes in operation/temperature and that air can have particulate or moisture in it.  Installing high quality breathers instead of open piping will remove the contaminants from the air before they dirty your oil.


  • Portable Filtration – Sometimes your oil will get contaminated during the operation of the equipment and the only solution is changing the oil or portable filtration.  You can use portable filtration to remove particles, water and chemical contaminants from your oil with minimal cost.  If you’re not using portable filtration at your plant now, you’re wasting money on changing oil.  These can also be used to transfer large volumes of oil into your equipment, while filtering at the same time!  Filter your oil when oil analysis results show high contamination or during regular PMs.


  • High Quality Transfer Containers – A lot of plants use open-topped transfer containers, like the picture above.  When using these, you’re topping up your equipment with contaminated oil.  Purchase some high quality transfer containers that have proper labels, desiccant breathers and quick-connect fittings so you can top up your equipment while keeping your oil clean and dry.
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About the Author

Rob Kalwarowsky Senior Reliability Engineer & Host of Rob’s Reliability Project podcast, Rob's Reliability

Robert Kalwarowsky started Rob’s Reliability Project in 2018 and currently produces audio, video and image content to spread the message of reliability and educate the industrial community.  Rob has spent almost 10 years as a reliability engineer & asset manager within mining, oil and gas, and consulting industries.  He specializes in condition monitoring, failure prediction, spare parts optimization, life cycle asset management and coaching.  Prior to that, Rob graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Management.