Let's talk hydraulic oil in this month's Best Practices report.
But this edition is not just about the mundane subject of changing the oil — although that's important. It seems that hydraulic oil can actually save you money by making machines more efficient.
Evco Plastics Inc., the custom injection molder based in DeForest, Wis., experienced a 3.2 percent reduction in electricity demand on its injection molding presses after testing ExxonMobil Corp.'s Mobil DTE 10 Excel hydraulic oil. Evco permanently switched to that oil, ExxonMobil said.
And ExxonMobil announced Nov. 2 that Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program has verified DTO 10 Excel as an energy-efficient technology. ExxonMobil officials believe this is the first time a lubricant has qualified under a statewide program.
The lesson: Even a small change like the type of hydraulic oil used can help a manufacturer become more efficient. And even if 3.2 percent doesn't sound like a lot, in the energy-gobbling plastics industry with many companies running machinery 24/7, it adds up. Evco, for example, runs 170 injection molding machines with clamping forces ranging from 28-3,500 tons.
The oil assessment was led by a group of engineers from ExxonMobil and Evco Plastics, plus an adviser from Focus on Energy. They worked together to determine Mobil DTE 10 Excel can give a payback range of 1.5-8 years, depending on operating conditions.
"This innovative study … showed how a lubricant can provide significant energy and financial savings," said Casey Langan, spokesman for Focus on Energy, a statewide energy effeciency and renewable resource program funded by Wisconsin's energy utilities.
It's easy to ignore oil in your car's engine — or in your million-dollar investment in plastics machinery. But listen to Michelle Ruiz, an ExxonMobile lubricant engineer, who led the Evco study.
"We've always discussed the important role that lubricants can play in helping industrial operators improve energy efficiency and reduce the total cost of equipment ownership, and this verification is further proof of that view," Ruiz said.