Why should I spend money on a lube cart when I have drums to store my fluids?

How many trips do your maintenance room employees make to the same 55-gallon drum site for X amount of oil or lubricant? Two? Three? More? And how far do they have to go to where the lubricant is needed? What about trips for oil cans, rags, grease guns, wrenches, etc.? And how much fluid that you’re paying for gets spilled? What about inventory control?  Do you need to store extra product, just in case you run out?  Or have you had to endure downtime because you did run out?  And what about making your employees’ jobs less physically taxing – with less risk of injury and the expense that can entail?  If eliminating all of these time and productivity wasters makes buying a lube cart sound like less of an expense and more of an investment, you can work it out for yourself.  Using a base price of $6,000 for a cart such as the one shown, use the Lube Cart Labor Savings & Investment Payback Worksheet to calculate how much you’d save in what time frame.


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What makes a world-class lube room world-class?

For a worldwide company like pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., it is a dedication to excellence in machinery lubrication. Since taking the reins of Eli Lilly’s corporate lubrication technical team, Rendela Wenzel created a lubrication assessment and an end-user guide to assess each manufacturing site’s overall lubrication program performance. The assessment covers seven different sections – storage, handling/dispensing, safety, training, lubrication PMs, oil analysis and recycling.

When reliability and predictive maintenance in general were not improving as quickly as desired, Eli Lilly’s management realized that some areas were better than others in the reliability space and as a result started to integrate these improvements into their business plans.

For storage and handling and dispensing, the company turned to storage and dispending systems from The IFH Group. The IFH Fluid Storage and Dispensing System improves lubricant storage by providing a better way to handle all kinds of oils, lubricants and industrial fluids that is easier, safer, cleaner, and more cost efficient.


One of Eli Lilly’s world-class lube rooms

Written by Warren Byers is the owner of M. W. Byers Co., Carnegie, PA.
He can be reached at

Can filters be added to my lubrication storage and dispensing system?

by Ben Wolf, The IFH Group

Filters are a great addition to a lubrication storage and dispensing system. We would like to think that oil from a supplier’s drum would be free of contaminants, but this is often not the case. The contaminants that do get into the drum are carried into the dispensing system and then into your equipment. Clean oil is what we are looking to put into our equipment when we change it. There are a few ways to filter oil:

1. Quick connect filter adapters can be added to most existing and operating IFH Group systems. These simply filter the oil as it is transferred into the 65 gallon containers on the rack. They are quick and easy to install, and are an economical way to add filtering to an existing system.

2. Our diverter valve systems provide optimal contamination avoidance. Each container gets its own filter and transfer unit, so there is never cross contamination. The lubricant can be filtered when filling the 65 gallon container, when dispensing, and can even be recycled while in the container continuously through the filter to achieve additional contaminant removal.

3. An IFH lubrication cart can be used to transfer oil from the storage system to equipment. The cart can incorporate a filter so that oil is filtered a final time before being delivered to equipment.

For more information, contact Ben at bwolf@ifhgroup.com.

How can I safely store chemicals and abrasive fluids?

By Larry King, The IFH Group

Storage and dispensing of chemicals and abrasive fluids such as Heat Transfer Fluid, Rust inhibitors, Ethylene Glycol, Glygoyle 30 and Anti-Freeze can be a problem for the lube room maintenance engineer. How to do it safely and efficiently?

One solution is a Special Product Package designed for applications involving chemicals and abrasive fluids that require special handling. Designed by the IFH Group, the standard PVC sight gauge on the front of the steel containers is replaced with a Glass Sight Gauge equipped with ball check fittings at both ends. Underneath the containers are 3/4″ NPT fittings and Flex Steel Hose for resistance to fluids that may damage the PVC hose on standard IFH systems.

The Special Product Package can be supplied with new IFH fluid storage and dispensing systems or as a retrofit to existing systems. The engineering time involved in the customization process is completely cost free. No extra charges are incurred for special designs, only for additional special equipment.

For more information, contact Larry King at ljking@ifhgroup.com

How do I deal with dusty conditions in my lube room?

By Ben Wolf, The IFH Group

One comment we hear is “Our plant is very dusty. The oil storage and dispensing system has a vent in every container and dust is going to contaminate the oil.”

Dusty conditions should certainly be considered carefully. The standard vents have a coarse screen that keeps large items from entering the containers, but for filtering the air that is drawn into the containers, a desiccant air breather should be considered. The IFH Group can supply these with a new system or they can easily be retrofitted. The desiccant breather not only filters the air being drawn into the container, but it also removes moisture from the air that will go into the container. This is particularly useful in damp or humid conditions.

For more information, contact Ben Wolf at The IFH Group. bwolf@ifhgroup.com

How are companies addressing lubricant storage and handling?

Machinery Lubrication magazine asked readers to participate in its annual Lube Room Challenge by submitting exceptional lube rooms that incorporate best-practice features. Several readers met the challenge with evidence of how their lubricant storage and dispensing methods have been transformed. These examples showcase how designing a proper lube room is one of the first steps to achieving lubrication excellence.


How do I make sure my lube room complies with fire safety regulations?

IFH Fire Safety Compliance Kit

By Larry King, The IFH Group

Being in compliance with fire safety regulations presents a challenge to lube room maintenance engineers. Keeping your employees and equipment safe and complying with strict insurance regulations requires a solution that will enable you to do both.

One solution is a fire safety kit.

The kit replaces the standard PVC sight gauge on the front of the containers in a typical IFH storage & dispensing system with a fire-resistant glass sight gauge equipped with ball check fittings at both ends to prevent any product spillage if the glass should break.

Underneath the containers, the standard PVC hose is replaced with a steel hose that connects to a fusible link valve with a spring-activated handle. If the temperature reaches 165º F (73.9º C), the handle is automatically triggered and shuts off any possible leakage of fluid from the container.

The fire safety kit can be supplied with new IFH storage and dispensing systems or as a retrofit to existing systems. It provides a ready-made solution for customers who need to be in compliance with stricter fire safety regulations.

For more information, contact Larry King at ljking@ifhgroup.com

What lubricating fluids can be stored in an IFH storage & dispensing system?

whyifh-1By Larry King, The IFH Group

IFH systems can handle lubricating fluids used throughout your manufacturing plant.

These include gear lubricants, greases, cutting oils, bearing oils, hydraulic fluids and engine oils, as well as specialty fluids like anti-freeze, automatic transmission fluid, 90-140 heavy gear oil, airline oil, and many others.

Each container in the system can hold 65 gallons of fluid. Larger containers are available on special order. The most inexpensive method of increasing capacity of frequently used products is to “wed” two or three containers together, and plumb to one spigot at the filling console.

Can “Food Grade” lubricants be stored in the system? 
IFH Systems are currently being used at many food manufacturing facilities in the US and Canada. The normal modification is composed of dedicated transfer systems for each “Food Grade” lubricant and a stainless steel container.

Are there products that cannot be stored in an IFH System? Yes…products with a flashpoint below 150°F (65°C), or products with a PH below 3. Storing unapproved products can result in operator injury, destruction of the system, contamination of products, and void of warranty.

For more information, contact Larry King at ljking@ifhgroup.com