New Chemical and Lubricant Labeling Maximizes Productivity

There are five goals that help contribute to the success of an industrial manufacturing facility:

  1. Improve Productivity & Performance
  2. Maximize Facility Uptime
  3. Create a Safer Work Environment
  4. Comply with Industry Standards & Regulations
  5. Reduce Inventory Costs

While the order of these goals varies from facility to facility, it can be argued that any one of them could be considered #1 and all others a very close #2. Any new product, technology and methodology that helps employers meet these goals in even the smallest way can help impact the operations and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Improving Chemical and Lubricant Labeling

In 2010, Sprayon® Products, a manufacturer of industrial chemicals and lubricants, found a way to address some of these concerns by introducing a new identification labeling system to the users of their products.
The concept was simple. Chemicals and lubricants used in an industrial facility are not like retail products. As such, the packaging for these products does not need to SELL the product or attract the attention of a potential buyer. The most important thing for any industrial product packaging is clearly communicating to the person who will actually be USING the product what the product is, what it does and where it can and can’t be used.

When you look at the new Sprayon® Packaging, one of the first things you’ll notice is that all of its product categories are visibly identified by color-coding including a 2-letter prefix in front of all their part numbers:

Blue = EL = Electrical & Electronic Products
Yellow = LU = Lubricants
Green = CD = Cleaners & Degreasers
Purple = WL = Welding
Orange = MR = Mold Release
Red = SP = Specialty

A user can quickly and efficiently identify and determine which products to use for each application. This guide also provides an effective and easily recalled method for training the
workforce (e.g. - “For anything electrical or electronic, make sure you look for the Blue label with the EL Prefix”).

The next identification labeling improvement is the clear product descriptions. There is no need for confusing or “catchy” names that don’t help the user know what the product is or where it should be used The name on the package should quickly and clearly tell the user what the product is and its intended application. If  the user cannot quickly determine what the product is or its intended use, the risk that it may be used in the wrong application increases. Using the wrong product on a piece of equipment may reduce its efficiency and could potentially harm the equipment and/or the user. Now,  when you look at a package and clearly see “Open Gear & Wire Rope Lubricant” or “Electronic Contact Cleaner & Protectant”, you’ll know exactly what its application is.

There are specific key attributes that differentiate products from one another and dictate the best application. For example, there are specific characteristics that differentiate an All-Purpose Lubricant from a Dry Film Graphite Lubricant. Dielectric Strength, HMIS Codes, Flash Point and many more specifications help the user know which is the BEST product to use on each application. Sprayon’s new labeling design clearly communicates these key product attributes to help the user know how the product should (and should not) be used by displaying iconography and pictographs on the front of the can. Not only does this method communicate important information in a clear, concise and effective manner, these icons oftentimes are more descriptive than words alone and require little translation to other languages. These icons were field tested with end-users to help ensure that the information was clearly communicated. Although many icons may mean little to the purchasing manager at a facility, they can mean everything to the person using the product.

So how does the new chemical and lubricant packaging meet the considerations of the industrial facility?
Let’s take a look:
1) Improve Productivity & Performance: Clear communication of product use and application on the label means helping the user apply the right products on the right equipment. This helps the facility run at peak performance increasing productivity and efficiency.
2) Maximize Facility Uptime: Clear communication of product use and application on the packaging helps ensure that the product will be used only where it’s intended, avoiding potential damage to equipment which can cause unnecessary downtime.
3) Create a Safer Work Environment: Clear communication of product use and application on the packaging helps communicate workforce safety by avoiding potentially hazardous situations that can occur when the wrong product is used.

5S Visual Management
5S Visual Management is a workplace organizational methodology which originated in Japan. 5S is embraced by the best manufacturing facilities worldwide and involves a series of actions which work together to improve productivity and efficiency. If 5S Visual Management is employed correctly, clear visuals throughout the facility identify where everything is supposed to be located. These visuals range from simple diagrams or labels to detailed process flow maps or directional signs. The general idea is that any person walking through the facility should be able to know what goes where and can identify processes throughout the facility.

Sprayon has integrated a set of tools with their packaging to help any facility implement and/or sustain 5S Visual Management methodology with respect to the use of their chemicals and lubricants.

The Sprayon System includes:

PRODUCT ID TAGS: Adhered to any piece of equipment, the product number and color code on the tags identify the specific Sprayon Product to be used. Available as peel-n-stick or magnetic labels, these tags help ensure that the right product is always used in the spirit of true 5S Visual Management. The icons on the tags also reinforce the key attributes of the product that must be considered for use on each piece of equipment.

MAGNETIC CAN HOLDERS: Made of durable, powder-coated steel, these magnetic holders allow the specific Sprayon product to be located right where your workforce needs it: on or near the equipment on which they are to be used. Available as both single and multi-can holders, each can be labeled with the specific Sprayon Product it holds, taking 5S Visual Management to the next level.

IDENTIFICATION POSTERS: Easily located throughout your facility, these posters not only help reinforce and explain the elements of the re-designed Sprayon packaging, but they also serve as a reference point for the product attributes that your workforce should consider when applying the product to a piece of equipment.

KANBAN TAGS: For years, industrial facilities have been using Kanban to manage their inventory. Kanban is a Japanese term utilized to achieve Just-In-Time (JIT) production or inventory through “pull” signals. These “signals” trigger action when a new part (or product) will be needed based on its lead time so it arrives exactly when it’s needed. Kanban Tags can be located within chemical cabinets to indicate when it’s time to re-order a product based on its lead time. This system helps prevent overstocking and stockouts.

With all these tools available, an organization can extend their 5S initiatives to all processes within their facilities, including the handling of their chemicals and lubricants.


Article courtesy of Sprayon Products.