3S5: Extend Asset Life with Oil Mist for Storage Preservation

Keith Macaluso, International Business Development Manager, T.F. Hudgins Lubrication Products/Allied Reliability


Balancing today’s lengthy lead times/supply chain issues with the need to keep critical operations running smoothly, petrochemical and refining plants are hedging their bets by proactively ordering new or replacement equipment (e.g. pumps and motors) a year or more in advance of the anticipated install date. Upon early arrival on-site, the equipment is typically staged in a remote field, where it is likely exposed to damaging elements that threaten the integrity of the components. Preservation of this standby equipment is of utmost importance to avoid premature failure on start-up and to reduce mean time between failures (MTBF).
Oil mist technology is a particularly effective way to protect new equipment, especially if it remains idle for a lengthy period while awaiting installation. Simply stated, this mixture of air and oil is a cool, dry, contaminant-free mist that is applied to a machine’s moving parts, like bearings, in an effort to prolong duty life. A centrally located generator combines the oil and air, producing micro-size particles to allow easy conveyance over a long distance (i.e. approximately 600 feet in any direction). As it reaches its destination, the air/oil mixture passes through a “reclassifier” that turns it into a wet substance for lubricating purposes. Note that certain components, such as gears inside gearboxes, may still require an oil sump for “purge misting.”

T.F. Hudgins’ innovative air mist systems are engineered to deliver efficient, trouble-free operation.

One company recovered its full investment in less than one year after the purchase of an oil mist lubrication system for a refinery’s cooling tower. Two gearbox failures were eliminated per year (saving $50,000 in repair costs for each gearbox), and oil spill risk was reduced to zero. Overall, the oil misting successfully mitigated excessive water contamination that was previously responsible for erosion, rust, and sludge formation in gearbox reservoirs.

1. Reliability starts in the warehouse.
2. There are other ways for the reliability professional to extend the MTBF.
3. Lubrication is the #1 cause of failure, oil mist eliminates many of the issues.


Keith has over 40 years of experience in the oil & gas and other heavy industries. His areas of expertise include oil analysis equipment, oil purification systems, oil mist lubrication, and ultrasound technologies. He works with global clients to ensure equipment health, by preventing failures and controlling energy costs, while increasing asset uptime. Keith is a Certified Reliability Leader (CRL).