Avoiding costly downtime can be as simple as making sure a system is properly lubricated. Recently, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery interviewed Kimberly Eldridge, North American market manager for Klüber Lubrication North America, based in Londonderry, N.H. Here is what she had to say.
Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery: What are the challenges facing bakers and snack producers in the area of maintenance and preventive maintenance? Specifically, how have the advances in technology created new issues for them? What solutions do you provide for these challenges?
Kimberly Eldridge: The baking industry is one of extremes where high temperatures, humid environments, etc., all work together to wreak havoc on component life. Protecting and optimizing the performance of the components and machinery allows for greater uptime and productivity. This is where a high-performance lubrication program can be of great benefit for the facility. Today's synthetic, high-performance lubricants should be considered integral to machine design and machine performance. Klüber’s complete line of NSF [National Sanitation Foundation International] H1-registered lubricants are designed to meet these needs.
SF&WB: What are some of the most common mistakes made by maintenance engineers when it comes to lubrication and maintenance, and how can these be avoided? What are some helpful tips or common sense suggestions for avoiding unnecessary downtime?
Eldridge: Like any other process, maintenance and lubrication programs can fall into the trap of doing things a certain way simply because they've always been done that way. A complete review of a lubrication program can uncover a multitude of savings opportunities. The use of synthetic chemistries can extend re-lubrication intervals, reduce the amount of lubricant used in the facility and protect the machinery components for longer life. Additionally, plant managers should pay careful attention to how lubricants are stored within the plant; choosing the correct oil or grease for an application is only half the battle. Getting the lubricant to the application point without contaminating it is the other half. We work with baking facilities to ensure that best practices are being utilized in this arena. Lastly, beware of the idea that if a little lubricant is good, than more is better. Over lubrication can be even more catastrophic to a component than lubricant starvation.
SF&WB: How are you helping your snack and bakery customers save money through energy efficiency and other ways?
Eldridge: An optimized lubrication program can absolutely help reduce energy consumption in a bakery facility. Using a gear oil, for instance, that improves efficiency by reducing temperatures in the box can have an immediate impact on overall energy consumption. We recommend using a PAG-based [polyalkylene glycol] gear oil such as our Klubersynth UH1 6 family of products to achieve these savings.
SF&WB: In a food plant, what critical sanitation issues need to be addressed or avoided during the lubrication process?
Eldridge: Although many companies still adhere to the "H1 above the line, H2 below the line" concept, Klüber advocates using NSF H1 lubricants throughout their facilities to minimize the risk of an H2 product being applied in an area of the plant where there may be incidental contact with the food. We know that mistakes can happen, and by eliminating the variable of non-H1 products in the plant, we help support food safety practices.
SF&WB: What new products have you rolled out and how are they providing solutions to the baking industry?
Eldridge: One of the most critical applications in a baking facility is the oven chain. To that end, Klüber recently launched the first-ever, NSF H1-registered ester oil for oven chains: Klüberfood NH1 CH 2-220. Ester-based oils have long been considered the best chemistry for high temperature applications but until recently there were none on the market that could meet the NSF H1 criteria. Beyond the chain, however, there are myriad application points in a bakery that require high-performance lubrication. Klüber offers a full range of NSF H1 gear oils, bearing greases, air compressor oils, and more. We are also pleased to launch a new line of mineral and PAO based gear oils - our Klüberfood NH1 G series.
Editor’s Note: Check out the Production Technology department in our December issue for our feature on lubrication and maintenance.