Elite Lubrication Specialties will offer “Maintenance 4.0” solutions built around grease
ROCKFORD, MI— Jimmy Kukulski is helping build the factory of the future and it includes the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence, big data—and millions of precisely timed drops of industrial lubricant.
Kukulski, a lubrication expert and consultant, is equipping his clients’ factories with advanced software, sensors and cloud-based technology that not only automate the process of lubricating equipment bearings and gearboxes, but also predict equipment problems long before they occur. To deliver these so-called Predictive Maintenance services, Kukulski’s company, Rockford, Mich.-based Elite Lubrication Specialties LLC, is accessing technology and expertise from best-in-class partners around the world.
Today, Elite Lubrication Specialties (ELS) formally launched a new division to help other manufacturing, energy, food-processing and municipal operations harness smart-factory technology to improve their overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and reduce maintenance, replacement and lubrication costs.
“Industry 4.0 is going to require Maintenance 4.0—and precision lubrication is a huge part of that,” Kukulski said. “As more factories implement automation technology, they’re also starting to turn to automated maintenance solutions that deliver the right lubrication at the right time in the right quantity and at the right cleanliness.”
Lubrication-related equipment failures happen every single day, costing an estimated $1 trillion a year in reactive maintenance, downtime and lost productivity in the United States, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy. Proper preventive maintenance can help operators avoid these failures, especially when complemented by proactive and predictive maintenance solutions.
The 40-year old Kukulski is a Navy veteran and self-described machine enthusiast. He is also an emerging expert in the field of tribology, the science and engineering of interacting surfaces in relative motion. Tribologists study and apply the principles of friction, wear and lubrication in their work, according to the national Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers.
The move into predictive maintenance and Maintenance 4.0 solutions is a natural next step for Kukulski’s four-year old firm, which has experienced rapid growth over the past few years. ELS already offers audits, preventive maintenance and proactive maintenance strategies, as well as a variety of precision lubricants and precision lubrication solutions. As he has walked factory floors over the past half-decade, Kukulski has seen an increasing number of facilities suffering through equipment downtime caused by poor preventive maintenance practices–everything from missed maintenance routines and over-lubricating equipment to using the wrong or contaminated lubricants.
“Preventive maintenance just doesn’t cut it anymore,” he said. “To reduce their repair costs and minimize productivity losses, smart operators are moving from fixed-schedule preventive maintenance to proactive and predictive maintenance solutions.”
ELS offers a variety of proactive maintenance solutions, including single-point and multi-point lubricators that automate precise delivery of lubricants to critical bearings, chains and other key industrial components. The proactive tools can also be paired with predictive technology that continuously collects data on a machine’s performance, streams it to the cloud and uses software to detect minuscule variances in machine operations. The variance data is then analyzed by expert machine analysts around the globe as well as artificial intelligence software to determine their root causes and prescribe changes in maintenance.
“Whether you’re a cardiologist or tribologist, early detection of problems and prescribing changes in routines are always the best solution for long-term health and safety,” Kukulski said.
About ELS: Elite Lubrication Specialties, LLC offers intelligent asset management solutions for manufacturers, municipalities, food-processors, energy firms and transportation/fleet companies. ELS works with clients to implement proactive and predictive maintenance programs that can help them decrease costs, reduce downtime, improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and drive profitability. Based in Rockford, Mich., the company also sells high-performance industrial lubricants and offers a variety of lubricant storage transfer and in-operation filtration processes that can extend your equipment life by up to 10 times, and prolong your lubricant lifespan significantly. For more information, visit ELSLubrication.com.