3 Key Benefits of Contracting Certified Engineers for Lubrication Excellence

Lubrication is the lifeblood of the industry. The bearings, gears, hydraulics, and other moving parts that keep factories running smoothly demand careful oil and grease management. With advanced automation and tighter tolerances, machines require a higher degree of lubrication engineering competence. This is where certification comes in as a mark of excellence.

Certified lubrication engineers bring rigorously validated expertise to optimize asset reliability. Their strategic insights deliver significant ROI by minimizing downtime and maintenance costs. Let’s examine the key benefits of partnering with certified experts for lubrication excellence.

Certified Engineers Earn More for Good Reason

Skills development and career advancement are top motivators for lubrication engineers pursuing certification. The effort pays off handsomely.

According to a survey by Machinery Lubrication magazine, ICML-certified plant personnel earn 7% higher salaries compared to their non-certified counterparts.

Higher compensation reflects mastery of specialized skills in an increasingly technology-driven field. Machine components and lubricants have become more complex. Most lubrication specialists now need to be specialists with advanced training, notes Jim Fitch, CEO of Noria Corporation.

So certification clearly correlates to fatter paychecks for lubrication specialists. But does it actually translate into better on-the-job performance?

I. The Imperative of Professional Certification in Lubrication Engineering

When working with complex mechanical systems, most maintenance managers want assurance that the engineer servicing their equipment is competent, credible, and adheres to industry best practices. 

Professional certifications like the ones offered by the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) and the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) are designed to provide precisely that assurance. They vouch for an individual’s expertise in areas like lubricant selection, contamination control, oil analysis, equipment reliability, and energy optimization.

A survey conducted by Machinery Lubrication magazine found that ICML-certified plant personnel earned 7% more than their non-certified peers. Clearly, the qualifications matter.

So, if your goal is lubrication excellence, partnering with certified lubrication engineers should be a priority. Their specialized competence brings immense value.

II. The Competitive Edge: Certified vs. Non-Certified Engineers

When assessing prospective partners, a certification can be the difference-maker. Certified individuals often receive stronger consideration from clients and employers, especially in industrial areas like lubrication.

Why? Because certification provides a marker of their proficiency. Certified lubrication engineers have a demonstrated understanding of tribology, contamination control, lubricant selection, oil analysis, reliability principles, and best maintenance practices. 

Employers and clients recognize that partnering with them reduces risk and enhances outcomes. They bring rigor, methodology, and technical mastery – translating to operational efficiency and cost savings.

In essence, contracting certified lubrication engineers give you a competitive edge. Their expertise results in increased uptime, longer equipment life, improved energy efficiency, and lower maintenance costs.

III. The Role of Certifying Organizations in Lubrication Excellence

Two major organizations offer certifications in lubrication engineering – ICML and STLE. Let’s examine their role and impact.

ICML issues certifications like the Machine Lubricant Technician (MLT) and Lubrication Specialist (MLS) that are tailored to the needs of plant personnel and lubricant technicians. 

The number of MLT I certifications has grown by 75% since 2011, indicating industry demand for ICML’s credentials.

STLE offers niche certifications like the Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS) and Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialist (CMFS) that focus on specific applications like metalworking fluids.

By maintaining rigorous standards and promoting continuous learning, these organizations cultivate excellence within the lubrication profession. The growth of their programs underscores the imperative of certification for engineers seeking career advancement and competitive differentiation.

Certified Engineers Deliver Measurable Operational Improvements

Stora Enso, a pulp and paper manufacturer based in Wisconsin, saw hydraulic fluid consumption drop significantly after bringing in ICML-certified lubrication specialists. By optimizing lubrication practices, leak points were curtailed, and fluid loss was minimized. This created savings of $200,000 a year.

Another success story comes from Fecon, a forestry mulching equipment company. They eliminated recurring motor failures in their machines by partnering with lubrication experts certified by STLE. The prescribed modifications doubled the lifespan of equipment between rebuilds.

Such examples provide tangible evidence that specialized expertise drives lubrication excellence. Certified engineers make measurable improvements in equipment reliability, uptime, and cost savings.

Why Certification Matters More Than Ever

Traditionally, experience and informal on-the-job training were considered adequate for lubrication technicians. That was acceptable decades ago when equipment was simple. But machine technologies today are exponentially more sophisticated, explains Mark Barnes, SKF USA’s director of factory reliability. 

With advanced automation, tighter tolerances and stricter reliability requirements, informal learning is no longer enough. Structured competency development through certification has become indispensable. 

There’s no guarantee that someone calling themselves a lubrication engineer is actually qualified. Certification provides assurance that formal knowledge benchmarks have been met, notes John Beard, machinery maintenance expert at Allied Reliability Group.

Indeed, certification has become crucial for both professionals seeking career advancement and organizations wanting world-class lubrication expertise. Two respected nonprofits – ICML and STLE – have emerged as the credentialing bodies of choice.

Inside ICML and STLE: The Leading Certification Programs

The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) offers three levels of certification:

  • Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I covers lubricant functions, contamination control, and storage/handling. 
  • MLT Level II focuses on lubrication program management, oil analysis, and reliability principles.
  • MLT Level III deals with tribology, asset reliability, and program optimization.
  • The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) provides two well-recognized certifications:
  • Certified Lubrication Specialist (CLS) demonstrates proficiency in lubricant composition, application, maintenance, and analysis.
  • Certified Lubrication Engineer (CLE) recognizes advanced technical expertise needed to design, install, manage, and improve lubrication programs.

These certifications have seen steadily rising demand over the past decade, proving their value in the job market.

The Future of Lubrication Will be Driven by Certified Experts

With Industry 4.0 taking center stage globally, equipment is getting increasingly connected and data-driven. Smart sensors will soon become ubiquitous, providing real-time lubrication insights. Machine learning will be leveraged for predictive maintenance and reliability enhancement. IoT and the industrial Internet of Things will disrupt conventional approaches.

In this technology-fueled future, certified lubrication engineers will be more indispensable than ever. Their expertise will be vital to harnessing data, optimizing automated systems, and implementing cutting-edge solutions. 

John Evans, an ICML Board Member, sums it up well: “Ongoing education and testing are vital. Technologies and lubricants continue to change rapidly. Organizations need certified experts to take lubrication excellence to the next level.”


Lubrication is a complex science that requires specialized competence as equipment evolves. Certification enables professionals to prove their expertise as per rigorous industry benchmarks.

For organizations, certified lubrication engineers provide third-party validated skills to optimize reliability, sustainability, and cost savings. Their strategic insights minimize downtime and boost production.

In short, partnering with certified experts is a smart long-term investment. It paves the path for transformative gains in equipment performance even as technologies continue to advance.

To learn more and find certified lubrication engineers for your facility, check out the consultant databases provided by ICML and STLE. Take steps today to leverage world-class expertise. Your assets will thank you!

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