Oil contamination is a leading cause of machinery failure. In fact, 90 per cent of machinery failure is due to unclean lubricants. Accidentally mixing even a small amount of different oils together impairs a lubricant’s ability to control friction, wear and corrosion, leading to a manufacturer’s nightmare.
It is important that whenever a lubricant is transferred from its container to machinery that no contaminant is present and that the container itself is sealed properly. A recent article by Shell product application specialist Augusto Fernandes titled Contamination Control for Lubes and Fuels in Mining Equipment showed just how small contamination can be to affect the performance of equipment. A human hair is around 75µm in size. The naked eye can see down to 40µm. Modern components in some mining machinery can have dynamic clearances of only 5µm. In other words, it doesn’t take much for contaminated lubricants to cause mining plant or machinery to become compromised.
The typical workshop uses numerous types of oils, with differing containers, meaning the risk of cross contamination is high. To eradicate this problem, and improve the cleanliness of oils introduced into machines, a new lubricant storage, handling and dispensing solution named iCan has hit the market.
Be it in a Workshop, a factory, a production line or even on a mine site, the iCan oil storage and dispensing system can bring order and system to a dirty and contaminated working environment.
Distributed in Australia and New Zealand exclusively by Alemlube, the cutting-edge product uses colour coding to allow operators to easily identify the different types of oils being stored.
Unlike other products on the market that use coloured lids, iCan’s range of containers come with coloured bands for both lid and handle, which can quickly and easily be changed as needed, saving money on freight, storage and obsolete inventory.
“The whole idea of the iCan product range is that you have a colour-coded system for the oil that you use,” said Ross Williamson, Operations & IT Manager at Alemlube. “With other products the complete lid itself is coloured, so if you want to have a yellow lid, an orange lid or a black lid to denote the different grades of oils, as a distributor you need to stock all those lids, and as a customer you need to own all those lids; that can be expensive.
“As you change your grades and number of oils in your workshop, you could find you have too many yellow lids and not enough orange lids so you have to buy more and throw out the old obsolete ones.
With the iCan system, the lid comes with a pack of 10 coloured cards that clip into the lid handle, which makes the product much more flexible in terms of stocking and the customer using them. There’s even an iBand accessory kit of 10 coloured lid bands if you want to further colour code the lid; it’s a really clever system.”
iCan also comes with backed ‘iPouches’, which stick onto any iCan container and give users the ability to store important documents such as material safety data sheets (MSDS), operating instructions or fluids data sheets. This again clearly identifies which grade of oil is inside each container.
Designed with minimising the risk of contamination in mind, the range also comes with a quick-fill port on the top of each lid, reducing the chance of foreign particles entering during refilling.
A second threaded port on the lid provides a further option to add a desiccant filter to further minimises any impurities in the oil for added protection, while an on/off dispensing breather switch makes dispensing a breeze. It also can reduce the incidence of repetitive strain injury (RSI) concerns which other products on the market do not have.
“With other similar products you have to manually hold up the toggle switch the whole time whilst dispensing,” explained Williamson. “With iCan, you just flick up the switch and a spring allows it to sit in the open position until you flick it back down. It’s much simpler for the operator to use.”
The range is simple yet covers most users’ applications and requirements with 2 litre, 5 litre and 10 litre containers available. Dispensing pour lids with 6mm, 12mm and 25mm match all the above containers. There is also a combo unit complete with storage lid and hand operated oil pump.
iCan is available to purchase now through Alemlube. Click here for more information.