Joanna Chisholm
Business Development Coordinator Latin America
Des-Case Corporation
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Des-Case: The Heart of Healthy Lubrication Systems

By Alejandro Ehrenberg | Wed, 07/08/2020 - 15:37

Q: What industry trends are gaining pace due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

A: An event like the COVID-19 outbreak puts stress on companies and brings to the forefront the extent to which their processes are in order. Several industries, including mining, are finding ways to evolve the processes within their organizations. A major factor for doing that is automation. Better tools must be put in place to limit the severity of a disruptive event on production. Automation technologies will gain appeal thanks to the pandemic.

Automation feeds into the larger movement toward Industry 4.0. Sensors are crucial in this respect, as they make it possible to gather data and make educated decisions to interact with and fine-tune a given piece of equipment.

In addition to smart technologies making it possible to continue working with fewer personnel, they also improve safety conditions. The more human interaction there is, the higher the possibility for errors and safety breaches. Smart technologies like sensors provide real-time data and reduce the resources spent on daily routines. They make it possible to identify trends for better decision-making.

Q: What solutions does Des-Case offer in this area?

A: Des-Case is experienced in pioneering technology and introducing it to the market. We are the creators of the dessicant breather, a simple, economical and effective way to control contamination and extend lubricant life. We continuously innovate and are now focusing on the market need for tools that gather information in different equipment areas that are holistic. Des-Case presently offers a wide variety of sensors. 

Our IsoLogic breather is the first connected breather in the industry. It allows you to effectively measure if the lubricant is saturated with moisture or if there is contamination. Our clients can know in real-time whether the moisture or contamination is coming from the lubricant reservoir or from the exterior. At the same time, it enables users to monitor variables like temperature change within the filter to see if it is normal or suddenly out of line.

Over this last year, we have developed other solutions by integrating the IsoLogic breather with other sensors in our portfolio. For instance, Des-Case has portable laser particle counters that make it possible to get an isocode measurement on the run.

To integrate all its smart technologies and gain more operability, Des-Case is working on a subscription plan that will soon be available in Latin America. It entails the connection of all these smart technologies to generate trends while the assets are running. Once we gather the data, we measure it and present it to the client. If something is not right, Des-Case lets them know that; for instance, Gearbox No. 3 is showing a sudden increase in moisture content, which could mean that there is a leak.

Q: How does Des-Case target issues particular to the mining industry?

A: The mining industry is demanding because equipment needs to perform reliably under extreme conditions. Our breathers for large off-road equipment have responded very well in this sector. Our engine kits and hydraulic kits are also highly useful for miners. They help reservoirs within those big mining trucks stay clean and maintain their isocodes while running. That is crucially important because it is not always viable to stop what you are doing to do a maintenance check, but you do need to monitor oil in machines to make sure it is clean. 

However, it is important to point out that Des-Case works with each mining operation individually. Ours is not a one-size-fits-all approach in every case. We help clients define what parts of the process could be improved and what weak points can be addressed. We are aware that our clients need knowledge to really get the most out of our solutions. We offer them training and the possibility to take tests and assessments so we can guide them on what parts of the processes can be enhanced. From that point, we move on to issuing custom recommendations and propose a solution that can be effective for their particular needs.

Q: What are the main pillars of a healthy lubrication system for a mining operation?

A: Lubricant affects equipment throughout the whole process. It resembles blood in the human body. There are two key areas that must be addressed at all times. First, how to properly handle and store the lubricant when it first arrives at your facility. It has to be in proper condition for it to be dispensed into your assets. You are already winning a battle ahead of time if you have this under control. The lube room is where the lubricant is stored. It is like the heart of the whole system. Storage of new oil is a central function of the lube room. New oil should be filtered before use. Storage units with built-in filtration or filter carts to cleanse oil in drums are useful. These units should also be outfitted with desiccant breathers. Any contamination in the lube room and the whole system is compromised.

The second key area is on the level of a single piece of equipment or machinery. From that perspective, the heart of the system would be the reservoir. To keep the lubricant clean, a dessicant breather or a kidney lube filtration system are key.

Focusing on those two areas—the lube room and the reservoir—allows miners to improve lubricant life dramatically. Therefore, if you had to choose two actions to focus on, they would have to be to properly store oil by means of a lubricant management system. Then, once the lubricant is in use, at the very least you need to have a dessicant breather. That will help ensure that the operation’s lubricant is protected from moisture and dust. Particles down to three microns are the most damaging. If you prevent those from coming in, you can guarantee a long life for your lubricant and your equipment.

It is a matter of analyzing what the customer wants and needs. Whatever that may be, a way must be found to protect and monitor oil throughout the process. A simple oil sight glass along with a dessicant breather can be a simple and effective solution.

The Des-Case Corporation is the worldwide standard for contamination control, providing the lubricant industry with innovative solutions to extend oil and equipment life.

Alejandro Ehrenberg Alejandro Ehrenberg Journalist and Industry Analyst