53 Lubrication & Applied Sciences

53North has a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in Lubrication and Supporting Technology. This includes scheduling, selection and application across industries but with a main focus within FMCG and NSF food grade compliance.

53North have carried out a number of end of life studies on critical equipment.  It is important to understand whether the equipment was replaced simply based on its chronological age or irreparable / cost inefficient / obsolete components or structural defects.

The studies investigate a range of parameters using technologies such as;

  • Thickness Testing and Comparison to Original Specifications (Material Loss)
  • Visual Inspection
  • Component Stripdowns
  • Metallurgical & Chemical Analysis
  • Corrosion Testing/ Inspection
  • Structural Integrity Testing

The study conclusions can ultimately identify if the equipment has effectively reached its end of life or whether an extension of life can be achieved by utilising 53North’s data driven design or engineering recommendations.

53 North have been to many sites that have no lubrication schedules in place and found that they rely heavily on 3rd party companies to do this for them. They also found that in 90% of sites they visit, they use incompatible or inappropriate greases and oils with no control methods to separate them. 53North create in-depth lubrication schedules that specify the type of lubrication, the amount and frequency required incorporating critical factors such as speed, bearing types, mounting position, run times and environmental conditions. This stops over and under lubrication, reduces the possibility of using incompatible lubricants and ensures longevity of your assets.

53North have designed, installed and commissioned auto lubrication systems from £500 to £120,000. Using job specific configurations, they ensure that the auto lube system will deliver the right amount of lubricant at the right time. Most auto lubrication systems are designed for the delivery of lubricant to rotating components however, 53North have delivered unique types of auto lubrication projects. For example, a mould guide spindle lubrication lead to significant reduction in product waste through elimination of inertia. Additionally, auto lube systems are an effective way to ensure consistent application and reduce reliance on technician application time.  If fitted to equipment with no safe online access, this can often lead to a reduction in offline PM’s.

53North are an advisory partner with SKF & Lincoln Systems for applications in the food and drink sector. This expertise relates to the selection and installation of:

  • Automatic lubricators
  • Single-line systems
  • Dual-line systems
  • Progressive lubrication systems
  • Multi-line lubrication systems
  • Circulating oil lubrication systems
  • Oil and air lubrication systems
  • Minimal quantity lubrication systems (MQL) and Microdosage systems (MDS)
  • Hand-held lubrication equipment
  • Reels and meters
  • Pumps and accessories
  • Used fluid systems

53North’s root cause failure analysis always starts by targeting the physical root cause. Many RCA’s will skip this most crucial step and the resulting actions are often based on assumptions. 53North use every technology and tool available to them to understand the physical cause, this could involve Metallurgical, Chemical, Vibration, Thermal, Tribology or Visual investigation of the environment. Once they have the physical root cause they then investigate any other associated human and latent causes.


53North have the expertise of ISO17025 UKAS accredited laboratories to provide exceptional metallurgy, materials science and analytical analysis. Whether this be a simple confirmation of appropriate material grades for application or understanding the origin of foreign objects found in products, 53North have the specific tests you require.

Metallurgical and chemical analysis testing is exhaustive however, examples of the types of testing carried out are;

  • Gearbox failure assessments
  • Material defect analysis of failed component – Failure and metallurgical forensics
  • Shaft fracture metallurgical with RCA
  • Bolt shearing investigations
  • Metallic fragments found in process origin identification
  • Chilled water quality
  • Oil filter contaminant analysis and identification

Lubricating oil is commonly referred to as the life blood of the machine and so oil analysis is the scientific evaluation of both the machine and lubricant condition. By determining the wear residue, chemical condition and contamination characteristics of the lubricant, 53North Oil analysis provides a straight forward, clear and concise insight into the machine condition and the oils suitability for continued use. Results are issued via conventional PDF by email alerts or utilise www.53applications.com for a straight forward online oil reports system.

53North’s comprehensive oil analysis service combines the universally respected and recognised ISO17025 UKAS accredited laboratory and engineering focussed diagnosis by ISO1843 certified personal.

Certification is awarded through the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML).

Check 53North certified professional status at http://www.lubecouncil.org/exams/professionals.aspx and view ‘By Company’.

53North understand that ageing plant is not related to the chronological age of an asset. Ageing plant is plant assets which are, or may be, no longer considered fully fit for purpose due to deterioration or obsolescence in its integrity (Safety) or functional performance regardless of its age.

53North review the site installation and ergonomic factors prior to new studies, before putting forward a proposal with inspection methods set out to accurately and safely measure condition.  Different technologies are utilised to collect data whilst online and offline.  The methods used provide an accurate means of determining the plant status using scientific evidence and through best practice inspection.

These methods not only provide an assessment of condition with evidence but also help prioritise action through appropriate recommendations for improvement. Therefore the inspection method utilises risk based indices to allow for the severity and overall criticality to be clearly understood. This risk priority numbering (RPN) procedure is utilised and is a recognized HSE assessment criteria for risk mitigation.

It was understood that a high level of certification is normally required alongside the concise method of inspection. Therefore, to further substantiate the independent verification for this project, 53North PCN inspectors are deployed for NDT testing.

Various methods and technologies can be applied dependant on the specific item of static plant.  The inspection methods used, ensure that all technical and HSE criteria are focused upon with application at strategically chosen inspection locations.

Examples of the methods utilised, where necessary are;

  • Standard or High Temperature UL NDT Thickness Testing
  • Thermographic Profiling
  • Visual Inspection
  • Outer Corrosion Inspection (where necessary including;
  • Corrosion under insulation (CUI) Checks
  • Flanges and plant bolting Inspection
  • Valve Inspection
  • Pipe supports and pipe coating Inspections

Chains are a critical component of a machines operation and so often overlooked. 53North’s Chain Condition Monitoring programs can incorporate comprehensive physical inspections including, wear severity, stretch, lubrication effectiveness and root cause of reduced life expectancy. Alternatively, using on-line technologies the chain condition can be continually assessed and alerts generated when critical parameters are breached. Whether you are looking for online solutions for live chain monitoring or offline chain condition evaluation 53North can support your needs.

Non-destructive testing services utilise technologies for testing and evaluation of materials integrity and properties without causing damage.

The common techniques used by by PCN certified experts are;

  • Ultrasonics
  • Radiography
  • Magnetic Particle Inspection (MPI)
  • Dye Penetrant Inspection (DPI)
  • Positive Material Identification (PMI)

53North use NDT techniques on a frequent basis to monitor vessel thickness and integrity however, they have also applied specialist techniques in difficult applications. For example, ultra-sonics have been used to determine sub-surface stress fatigue in grinding rolls to monitor the extent of cyclic stress cracking in a 4 metre long shaft. The testing is normally carried out on site, in situation, which means less disruption to production however, 53North have also utilised these specialist techniques when carrying out inspections on componentry which is required to be returned to service.

Tribology is the scientific study of friction, wear and lubrication. Successful lubrication programs minimise friction and is therefore, a fundamental part of ensuring longevity of a machine. 53North complete an onsite physical audit designed to study rub & metal to metal wear within your assets. Lubrication boundaries are tested for effectiveness to build a picture of the physical mechanisms inducing increased metal wear. Once 53North understand the physical causes they then identify human and latent root causes, for example, over/under lubrication, mixed & incompatible lubricants, poor application, storage shortfalls, incorrect lubricant suitability and current condition of oils in assets using oil analysis. A subsequent report will document the findings and recommend a road map for improvement.



+44 114 299 5007


+44 114 299 5020

Main Office

53North Group, 53North House, Caxton Way, Dinnington, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S25 3QE


53North Group, 53North House, Caxton Way, Dinnington, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S25 3QE

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