ROI for Tribologists

ROI (return on investment) for Tribologists – The Need to do Better!

Background: The term tribology was first used in the 1966 Jost report in the UK. This was a study on the friction and wear losses in different industrial sectors and what can be done. They reported that the loses were very high and, in many cases, can be prevented or at least reduced using existing technology. But, that more needed to be done. In the UK several subject matter expert centers were established as well as there was an increased focus at universities. Similar studies and reports were issued in Canada by the NRC (National Research Council) and in the US the 1977 report by MIT for the ASME.

For Canada there is a 1986 report commissioned by the NRC Associate Committee on Tribology , NPCC Number 26556. In this, it was reported that Canada loses more that $5 billion annually due to friction and wear.

Unfortunately, in Canada and other countries the full benefit is apparently not been realized and the drive seems to have been lost. The NRC in particular closed their Tribology lab in Vancouver, seemed to downscale the petroleum testing in Ottawa and worse canceled the activities of the NRC Associate Committee on Tribology. This was a shame. Despite growing emphasis on asset management and while the ISO 55000 series of standards can help, many do not seem to be aware of past work nor how easy it can be to save money. Most managers seem to be aware of energy efficient lighting, but when are they taught about tribological savings. Current engineers training also seems to be years out of data in this regard as well.

The attached are some studies that are publicly available.

US Energy Effeciency for Breweries
Energy Efficiency Canadian Lime Institute
The Role of Tribology in Energy Conservation MTI 1978
Real Cost Of Lubrication Roger
Energy Guide Brewers Association of Canada
Energy Efficient Industrial Gear Lubricants
High Performance Lubes vs costs
The Business Case for Lubrication Excellence Fitch 2012
The Business Case for Life Cycle Cost Ron Moore Reliable Plant
Poor Practises STLE 93 Paper
Energy Savings Opportunties Guidebook