The progressive approach that industries are adopting to move towards condition-based oil change and maintenance can prove to be a game changer.
Lubrication oil in thousands of litres is changed in the industrial world, based on the periodic oil change intervals or schedules, which is part of a preventive maintenance programme. Most of the oil is prematurely changed in the equipment resulting in disposal of oil still having a remaining useful life. This results in loss of revenue due to cost of new oil and disposal of the used oil. The flip side of the preventive oil change schedules is that the lubricant can exceed its useful life before oil change interval, which can result in equipment breakdown resulting in loss of revenue again.
A better way, which progressive companies are adopting, involves periodic oil analysis and scheduling oil changes based on the oil condition, which not only maximises the lubricant life based on condition but also acts as a tool for a proactive approach to prevent equipment breakdown because of oil quality.
The oil analysis programme is a useful tool to monitor the condition of the oil and the equipment where it is being used. It consists of predetermined oil sampling plans from the equipment, testing the oils for major tests and determining the condition of oil and equipment. There are industry accepted precautionary and critical limits for the major tests, which are well established. The interpretation of these major tests help determine the oil and condition equipment and is the backbone of the condition-based oil changes. Almost 50 per cent of equipment damages are caused by oils and about 70 per cent of equipment defects are visible in the lubrication oil.
Lubricant contamination or degradation
Lubricant consists of either mineral or synthetic base stock fortified with performance chemicals called additives. These impart the specific properties required by lubricant based on its application. Over its usage, we all know that lube oil gets polluted due to internal contaminants like wear particles or degradation products or external contaminants like dirt, dust, water etc. Oil contamination is the major reason why oil is condemned. More and more companies are getting into oil regeneration programmes to extend the oil’s life.
Drawing oil samples at periodic intervals for analysis, trends are monitored of the oil condition, The oil is retested if any significant changes occur in the test results of the sample in comparison to the previous. The test results are compared to the standard Industry limits which are used as guidelines. These limits are based on oil and equipment types. The oil analysis results can be used to make intelligent decisions on maximising oil life without compromising the equipment.
Periodic oil analysis has resulted in significant savings in oil life extension and also savings from proactively detecting potential failures caused by poor oil quality and degrading components. Condition monitoring provides gradual information and warnings according to the significance of the abnormality in the oil analysis.
Many of the industrial plants condemn their lubricating oils based on water and particulate contamination or sometimes on the recommended oil change interval. These oils can be regenerated by using high quality efficient filtration systems and sometimes by topping up with additives to restore their performance to original. Oil never dies, just
gets contaminated and depleted. It is possible to restore many such lubricants to their original performance levels.
Total Lubrication Management (TLM) is a very productive practice followed by many companies, its key features being:
TLM is now augmented with vibration sensors, thermal imaging and ultrasound analysis integrated with software driven by AI, making the equipment more reliable and predictive to operate and manage.
Condition-based oil monitoring in modern industries has progressed to a broader perspective of condition-based maintenance, which is to implement maintenance schedules that can be considered as actual condition of the equipment. Shorter response time with more targeted and corrective actions are resulting in improved productivity.
(Communication by the management of the company)
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South sees cement price rise
Prices have risen by Rs 13 per bag.
Cement prices across most regions in India headed lower in August as the monsoon continued to pick up pace. However, south India was an exception. The latest dealers’ channel check by Kotak Institutional Equities showed cement prices in south India have risen by ₹13 per bag in August from July and are now at ₹404. One cement bag weighs 50 kg.
Most dealers based in the South continue to report poor sales on a month-on-month basis in August compared to July because of lack of credit flow, high cement prices, a heavy monsoon and a slowdown in government infrastructure projects.
Fuel for Thought
As the world moves towards novel exchange denominators like cryptocurrency, the cement industry is busy battling one of the oldest currencies in the world – fuel.
With the war between Russia and Ukraine continuing to rage, fuel prices have hit the roof, as can be seen from the rising cost of pet coke, diesel, freight and energy, which are important factors for cement manufacturing and mobilisation. The most likely scenario would have been a resulting increase in cement price, however the price correction did not follow through and the cement sector witnessed flat rates in May and a dip in prices in June across India. This has adversely affected the profitability of cement. Amid elevated costs of raw materials and decrease in demand, Emkay Global Financial Services has cut its earnings before interest tax depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) estimates for the sector by 5-6 per cent for FY 23/24/25.
Apart from this, currently sustainability is also detrimental to cost efficiency for cement companies. Green energy initiatives, such as alternative fuel and raw materials (AFR) and waste heat recovery system (WHRS), are adding to the production costs. These costs are not getting translated into price hike, leaving the cement makers to bear the brunt. However, sustainable production and net zero targets are not to be toyed with, and each player has to put in their best effort. With regards to input costs, experts are hopeful of price corrections through rise in demand for cement in the months to come.
All eyes are right now on Russia, thanks to the compelling need to sourcing fuel from low-cost destinations. Giants from the steel and power industries are already dealing with Russia for its pulverised coal. India has also shown an interest in increasing its import of thermal and coking coal from Russia, and is estimated to import 40 million tonnes tonnes by 2035.
Corrections in pricing and innovations in raw materials and alternative energy might be at different ends of the spectrum but they are bound to have a long lasting impact on cement companies, as each player puts in their best effort to win this fuel fight.
KEC International bags orders worth Rs. 12.33 billion
Secures an order to build India’s first 765 kV Digital Substation
KEC International, an RPG Group Company, has secured new orders of Rs. 12.33 billion across its various businesses:
The business has secured orders for T&D projects in India, Middle East and Americas: 765 kV Digital GIS Substation order in India, from Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), supply of towers in Middle East, secured by subsidiary in UAE, supply of towers, hardware and poles in Americas, secured by the company’s subsidiary, SAE Towers.
The business has secured orders for infra works in the paints and metals & mining segments; laying of cross-country pipeline and associated works and various types of cables in India and overseas.
Mr. Vimal Kejriwal, MD & CEO, KEC International commented, “We are pleased with the new order wins, especially the prestigious order from PGCIL, to build India’s first 765 kV Digital substation. Our Civil business continues to strengthen and diversify its presence in the industrial segment with the addition of a very reputed client. We are also encouraged by the order in the Oil and Gas Pipelines, which further enhances the business’ order book.”