"Mobility is the No. 1 reason you would want a lube skid instead of a dedicated lube truck," he adds. "You don't use a mechanics truck for the same thing all the time, so we made the new lube skid easily removable."
The skid comes with three integrated lift points for removal with a truck-mounted crane, as well as integrated fork-truck pockets for removal with an on-site forklift. "The operator can remove the lube skid when he needs to use the truck to haul something, transfer the lube skid from truck to truck or remove it and leave it at a jobsite for lighter lubrication needs," says Worman.
If you have three or four small sites in close proximity, this type of mobility can be an advantage, adds Hayes.
In most cases, however, a lube skid is put into a service truck to allow mechanics to top off fluids after a repair. "Probably 90% of them are left in there all of the time," says Hayes. "We do have some dealers that use their crane or a forklift to set them in or out. [One mechanic] may set the skid off when he gets back to home base, and another mechanic may put it in his truck and go to a job."
The ability to remove the skid means less space is taken up in a shop compared to a truck or trailer, Baker notes. And, he adds, "Having a skid in the back of a truck can allow the driver to maneuver into tighter spots."
However, the choice of product tank sizes tends to be more limited with a lube skid.
"The standard SiteStar lube skid has eight possible product tank configurations," says Worman. "We are able to offer engineered-to-order services for our customers with specific requirements and unique needs." The lube skid has a maximum capacity of 220 gal. split among 55-gal. tanks.
Flexibility and capacity
For larger jobsites, lube trailers offer several advantages. They can be left on site; are available in open or enclosed configurations in both bumper-pull and gooseneck styles; and don't require a dedicated truck to move them. They can also be pulled by a heavy-duty pickup or a dump truck.
ATS Drilling, a full-service caisson and drilling company based in Fort Worth, TX, uses a trailer-mounted Sage Oil Vac System. "We chose the trailer because of the flexibility it allows us," says David Hansford. "We can tow it from job to job and still have the truck bed space available. The trailer is small enough that we can still fly it out to the barges to perform services out of the water."
Lube trailers can be easily unhooked from a tow vehicle and left on site. "If a contractor has one or two sites, like a bridge site, and they have cranes and loaders there, they may want to pull an enclosed trailer out and let it sit on the site," says Hayes. "We have contractors who keep them on their job and if they have an operator who gets a little free time, they will have him service his machine."
Added lube capacity is another benefit. "Trailers can carry larger tanks and more fluids and are more versatile if a firm doesn't have a forklift," notes Baker. "By utilizing a lube trailer, the mechanic can use the bed of his truck to haul parts to the equipment."
But there are limitations to the capacity of lube trailers. "You are limited by tires, wheels and what you have to pull it," says Hayes. "For instance, if you are going to pull it with a dump truck, the weight will not bother you. But if you are pulling it with a 3/4- or 1-ton pickup, you have to be conscious of what you can tow."
No matter which option you choose, seek professional advice to make sure your purchase closely lines up to your needs. Your equipment supplier can help you pinpoint the correct solution for your unique lubrication demands.