A scheduled oil analysis program is a key component of a regular maintenance program in order to gather valuable information about lubricant and machine conditions. Over time, you may track trends that can help you prevent costly repairs. There are three main components to this process: |
Comparing the Lubricant - This process compares the chemicals and properties of the used oil against new (virgin) oil to see if the original substance is still an adequate lubricant for the machine.
Checking for Contaminants - Analysis is used to monitor the overall cleanliness of the substance to ensure that contaminants do not compromise the fluid's performance.
Inspecting the Machine - Machine components are analyzed for metal particles to make sure the machinery is getting enough lubrication to perform.
Oil Properties - Viscosity and Acidity
The lubricant's properties should be checked regularly, especially the substance's viscosity. If an abnormal viscosity value is present, you most likely have a problem. The value may be measured at two different temperatures for the best analysis, particularly if the machine using the lubricant must operate at various temperatures.
Another property that's important to monitor is the acidity of the oil. If it is too acidic or becomes oxidized, it must be disposed of and replaced. Some common tests used for this purpose are the Total Acid Number (TAN), Total Base Number (TBN), Rotary Bomb, pH, and FT-IR tests.
In addition to testing for acidity, an oil analysis program usually utilizes an FT-IR test to check for fuel dilution, glycol, sulfation, water, soot, and other additives. Testing for contaminants can be expensive, and these tests are sometimes performed only when necessary, such as with critical machinery or when it is suspected through other routine tests that excessive contaminants could be present.
Wear Debris from the Machinery
During the normal course of machine operation, the wearing parts - such as hydraulic pistons, bearings, gears, and rings - generate fine metal particles. As wear becomes more severe, you may see these particles grow larger within the lubricant as well as a change in the appearance of the lubricant itself. Analysis includes examining the wear particles using both screening tests and diagnostic tests. These tests use special equipment to assess how the particles vaporize and whether the presence of the particles put the machine's operations at risk.
While routine testing is an added cost of business, the costs are typically much less expensive than the costs of the equipment repair that may be necessary if the lubricant loses its key properties, is contaminated, or possesses particles that impede its performance. An oil analysis program is an important part of any industry's normal operating procedures if it wants to keep its equipment running smoothly and efficiently.
If you seek an oil analysis program to monitor your machinery, learn more by visiting http://www.spectrosci.com/services/.
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