Lubricant Storage and Equipment - Whitepaper

By Matt Thomas

Lubricants are engineered to meet a set of specifications.  If mishandled or stored improperly, lubricants can degrade, deteriorate or become contaminated.  Common causes include damaged containers, moisture from seepage or condensation, dirty handling equipment, exposure to contaminants, and poor storage practices to name a few. If they can no longer meet the required specifications or fail to lubricate adequately, they will simply become waste and require costly disposal.

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Description automatically generatedFor many years, the most common container for lubricants has been the trusted 55-gallon drum.  When handled properly, they can be effective means for storing and handling lubricants.  Unfortunately, if handled improperly, drums can injure workers and damage property as a full drum can weigh 450 lbs.

Storing drums of lubricant outside is not recommended as it is quite easy to unwittingly contaminate the drum’s contents.  When stored outside, drums should be put on blocks or racks several inches above the ground and positioned on their side.  Bung holes should be positioned horizontally from one another.  Storing drums in this manner allows the bungs to be in constant contact with the lubricant product inside the drum, preventing the drum from breathing in moisture with changes in ambient temperature and pressure.

If drums are stored on end vertically with bungs on top, they should be tilted on blocks to keep moisture or rainwater from collecting around the bung holes.  Water can be drawn through the bungs as the barrel breathes with changes in temperature and pressure.

Operators whose shops are cramped for space may want to consider using bulk lubricants.  Instead of housing four or five drums that are difficult to handle and take up a lot of floor space, bulk lubricant tanks can be stacked three to four high.  They can also be equipped with a variety of pumps, hoses, reels, dispensing nozzles, meters etc. for extra convenience.

When set up properly, bulk lubricant handling equipment can eliminate the need for dirty funnels, leaking spouts or incorrectly labeled oil containers.  Bulk lubricants can also reduce spillage and eliminate the numerous mounds of oil dry found on many shop floors.  Further, there is no need to stack unsightly empty oil drums behind the shed.

When you consider the cost savings and multiple benefits, bulk lubricants provide value and convenience.  More importantly, they can help ensure that the lubricants you pour in your equipment are clean and ready to provide the lubrication you need for trouble-free operation. 

See your local Archer Lubricants Specialist for more information.