Poor Lubrication Root Cause

A client’s asset had suffered severe bush degradation and the outage required to replace the damaged bushes had a significant negative impact on production. PEME investigated this failure to reduce the potential for a similar failure occurring in the future.

This task provides an example of how an effective Preventive Maintenance (PM) and Reliability capability will help to avoid breakdowns.

Failure Data Analysis

  • Ongoing lubrication system faults, requiring excessive repeat interventions, had been experienced and reported but maintenance management had no visibility of on-going faults and there was no escalation of repeat interventions.
  • Symptoms only had been addressed.  There had been no attempt to identify root causes and implement a solution that would prevent the later significant failure.
  • There had been no visibility to Maintenance decision-makers of repeat visits by the Maintenance team to reoccurring breakdowns.
  • “Get-them-going” fixes had been carried out and follow-on Corrective Maintenance Work Orders had not been raised for a full repair.
  • Bush wear had previously been identified and reported but not acted on.

Failed Component Inspection

  • The bushes were inspected, identifying significant burnishing, spalling and evidence of heat generation.
  • The results of the visual inspection were consistent with the failure data analysis and provided evidence that inappropriate lubrication initiated this failure sequence.

Maintenance Analysis

  • Maintenance analysis identified improvement opportunities to the existing PM regime by improving task descriptions but more importantly, introduced additional focused tasks at appropriate intervals.
  • These tasks will not only check the level of the central lubrication system but also ensure lubrication is actually being delivered at the point of application.
  • Additional tasks were introduced to find detectable degradation before a breakdown occurs.


  • The root cause was failure of the lubrication regime.  This resulted in excessive bush wear leading to the bushes sticking, generating excessive friction and eventually caused the asset to fail.
  • The failure is avoidable if the lubrication regime is correctly followed.
  • The severe consequences could have been avoided if routine monitoring of failure data was conducted and acted upon.
  • Dominant reoccurring issues should be reported and investigated to prevent re-occurrence.
  • The introduction of New PM tasks will detect earlier bush wear.

If you are interested in exploring how PEME may be able to help you improve your maintenance regime to achieve better reliability and availability, please Contact Us.