Oil Analysis Tests What They Mean
What All The Tests Mean
Clean Oil Services comprehensive oil analysis program can be invaluable to the planning and operation of your business.
Be sure your oil analysis provider schools you and your staff on the interpretation of your results so that you can reap the benefits of the service you have paid for and use your oil analysis as an important tool for your lubrication management and preventative maintenance planning.
Used oil analysis will allow you many advantages, a few are as follows:
- Monitor and identify the contamination entering your machine
- Accurately monitor the wear rates of your machinery
- Early identification of premature wear or contamination in the compartment
- Check for excessive wear and predict failure
- Check practices to enable wear rates to be reduced and cleaner operating conditions
- Monitor the condition of your oil and determine its life
- Monitor oil performance and maximise oil use
- Check that optimum oil type and grade is being used to suit operating conditions
- Plan maintenance to suit shutdowns or outages instead of unscheduled breakdowns
- Keep you up to date and at the forefront of technology advancement
- Identify the optimum methods of improving machine health and oil condition
Analysis result interpretations rely very heavily on trending for accurate reliable results and early failure detection, hence taking the occasional oil sample does not constitute an oil analysis program.
Variables such as contamination when sampling can cause discrepancies in the results, NEVER take corrective action based on the results of one sample alone; always resample to check a suspect result and sample regularly to maintain an accurate wear trend.
As part of your maintenance team, Clean Oil Services Pty Ltd staff will discuss with you any possible action which may be necessary in the case of a suspect sample. Should you suspect a problem, or notice any abnormality, advise your lab, as any information is critical in determining possible action from suspect samples. Remember we work with you as a team.
Study the photos supplied with your report and compare the current photo with previous samples. We like to see improvement, which means we are on the right track and getting results – we are saving you money.
If you do not understand or have any questions regarding your report, contact our laboratory.
You are paying us to provide you with results.
Tests: Setting the Limits
When do we raise the alarm?
The levels at which to set limits would be one of the most hotly debated topics in the condition monitoring industry and can be very much a personal decision which will vary greatly from operation to operation and machine to machine.
One of the main objectives of your oil analysis program, should be to set limits and parameters with which to work to for various actions to be taken and should be designed so as to target an overall improvement in machine operating conditions.
Many factors effect the levels set for limits, however most OEM’s have specific limits on wear debris levels and oil drain intervals which must be researched and adhered to by the operator, otherwise warranty can be jeopardised.
At Clean Oil Services, we prefer to sit down with the operator and set the limits for maximum wear levels and various other criteria such as maximum oil drain intervals to suit the operation and management.
The level of limits are based on previous results, OEM levels and are agreed upon by weighing up the current condition of machinery and the target levels the operation is aiming to achieve. They must be set to suit individual machines within the operation and must be budget orientated.
When setting the limits, the fleet average is usually set in favour of the older equipment, however in some fleets, old and new equipment may need to be graded to two or three sets of limits depending on age and condition of machinery. Oil drain intervals will also vary according to a particular operation and machinery condition and the requirements of management.
Never set your limits off those set at another operation.
Conditions will vary from one operation to the next and will not always suit. Your oil analysis provider is well equipped to discuss and advise you on the optimum limits to suit your operation and remember, don’t set your limits too fine; leave room for the unexpected. Your lab provider will notify you to flag a limit when reached or exceeded.
What is the point of all this extra work?
While today’s lubrication technology has advanced to unprecedented levels, many industries continue to use outdated practices handed down over generations.
The old coinage ‘Oil is cheap’ is no more as excessive lubricant consumption and downtime are major contributing factors to your profitability.
To ‘get better at what we do best’, includes decreasing costs and increasing production, we need to implement a reliability enhancing lubrication program which treats our lubrication as a profit centre …not just a mundane activity…it actually involves less work.
Your lubrication personnel need to be trained so that they can perform their job, from oil storage to disposal, with surgical precision while working under some of the most arduous conditions imaginable.
Remember in today’s world you get what you pay for; don’t let price be the deciding factor in your decision when selecting your condition monitoring service provider.
A well run oil analysis program and a close alliance with your oil analysis provider will enhance your bottom line in many ways by:
- Keeping you updated with today’s most advanced technology
- Identifying and reducing contamination levels
- Monitoring oil performance and improving operating integrity
- Reducing wear rates with better lubrication application
- Eliminating any risk involved in extending drain intervals
- Impacting on bottom line by optimising oil life
- Reduced downtime, increase availability – more production
- Better managing our environment with less waste.
Talk to Clean Oil Services Pty Ltd for a free assessment and let us show you how we can impact your bottom line by becoming a partner in your maintenance and planning crew regardless of the industry you are in.
This publication is intended as a guide only and is designed to assist the operator in the most basic interpretations of a standard used oil analysis report. There are many other monitoring methods that have not been discussed here which are capable of producing accurate results. There is also a much wider range of tests for specific qualities, which are often required to suit individual operating conditions and specific machines.
The methods discussed in this publication are the basic methods adopted by Clean Oil Services P/L and have been selected as this combination of methods gives the simplest, most accurate and most reliable tests for monitoring wear metals and oil condition. They combine to give the most comprehensive guide to machine and oil condition in almost any type of unit, being it gearing, turbine, hydraulic or engine and is a ‘one system suits all’ monitoring system for daily monitoring which has proven accurate and reliable through the broadest range of situations.
As machinery operates under a varying range of conditions, we need to be able to vary the interpretation of our results. It is the final assessment of the report, which is individually interpreted to ‘fit’ the unit being sampled, which makes this system stand alone from other oil based condition monitoring methods. Our laboratory technicians are constantly striving to become familiar with your machinery so that they are in a position to comment on its operating condition.
Our microscopic system covers the void left by the spectrometer being “blind” to particles beyond the 5-7um maximum size. The microscope lets us look at your oil’s condition and contamination levels, hence we are able to tell if wear metal particles are newly generated or left over from the previous change and we can see the condition of your oil.
In addition to our standard methods, we are able to supply electron microscope scans, which identify the alloys in a particle and allow us to locate the origin of that particle by it’s alloying elements. This process is quite expensive and is only performed in special circumstances and by request.
Ask for a commitment free assessment of your operation and see what difference we can make to your preventative maintenance program.