Oil analysis is a core practice recognized within the reliability professional community to improve machine reliability and save money. Many companies and organizations already employ some type of oil analysis program within their maintenance practices.
A large municipality located in the northwestern United States operates a fleet of over 1,700 vehicles and over 3,000 pieces of motorized equipment which it uses for critical everyday functions. As you can imagine, maintenance on this equipment is expensive with oil changes alone costing in excess of $3 million dollars annually when done at set intervals. The municipality recognized that they could save millions of dollars by using oil analysis on their fleet to extend oil change intervals as well as identify and fix serious problems before they cause a catastrophic failure.
Point of care oil analysis is now established and accelerating as companies find reliability improvements and cost savings.
In a recent reliability survey, between 60 to 70% of industrial facilities employ oil analysis as an important component of their reliability programs. Oil analysis gives a snapshot of machinery health, preventing unnecessary oil changes and predicting equipment failures before they happen. Most organizations draw oil analysis samples and ship them off-site to be analyzed in a laboratory. The results are sent back anywhere from days to weeks depending on location and industry.
Point of care oil analysis (today’s on-site oil analysis) has grown rapidly in the last three years as leading companies in power generation, mining, food production and industrial manufacturing invest in tools and software solutions to insource at each production site. Benefits experienced by these early leaders indicates that this trend will accelerate more now, despite current challenges. Here are 5 reasons why organizations across the world are investing in point of care solutions:
The Beginner's Guide to Trending Parameters for Machinery Wear on the LaserNet 200 Series
Establishing alarm limits and condemnation levels for large machinery wear particles is a common topic discussed among reliability professionals. Equipment manufacturers are often not forthcoming with this information since each piece of equipment potentially generates wear at a different rate. Trending and monitoring deviations from trends is the recommended way for developing alarm limits and condemnation levels on the component. As part of the MiniLab system, the LaserNet 200 Series is a powerful tool to trend particle counts, classify wear particles and monitor ferrous debris levels.
What is lubricant mix-up?
Lubricant mix-up describes any situation where the lubricant, new or in service, does not meet the exact specification requirement.
A Major Municipal Laboratory's analysts regularly perform Fats, Oil and Grease (FOG) measurements on wastewater samples from various industrial plants and apartment buildings. In the past, these measurements were all performed with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Method 1664B, which requires about 20 minutes of handling time per sample and 24 hours total to produce results.
Measuring the Viscosity of an Oil
Viscosity is the measurement of an oil’s resistance to flow. Typically, we can expect viscosity to decrease with a temperature increase, and increase with a temperature decrease. Viscosity and temperature are considered to be inversely proportional. In oil analysis, viscosity is commonly measured using kinematic viscometers and reported in centistokes (cSt). Viscosity can also be measured using absolute (dynamic) viscosity techniques and reported in centipoise. Absolute techniques typically use rotational viscometers, whereas kinematic techniques will commonly use flow viscometers dependent on gravity. The two techniques are differentiated by fluid density.
When talking about aviation assets one asset stands above the rest - the aircraft. There are approximately thirty thousand airliners in service today, used for both passenger and freight transportation. This number includes hundreds of thousands of individual small aircraft. Today, all of these fleets are growing quickly as the need for air travel continues to increase. Oil analysis is widely used in the aviation industry and has been for many years because the benefits are well understood. Large planes, smaller planes, and even helicopters are all considered aircraft, and a few major lubricated assets are critical to these aircraft. One of these assets is the engine. Engine types have various designs such as turbofans, turbojets, turbo props, even piston engines. The majority of them have similar lubricants, but different lubricants exist depending on the specific application. Other types of lubricated components in an aircraft consist of hydraulic systems, gearbox systems and APU's (auxiliary power units). There are also a lot of ground support equipment types supporting the aircraft before it gets in the air, including gen sets, air handler systems or fuel transfer systems.
Let's Discuss Marine Markets
When talking about marine markets there are three major areas: merchant fleets, Marine Naval Forces, and cruise lines. It's important to note that this large industry uses on-site oil analysis at all times to ensure equipment uptime. Ninety percent of global trade is by sea, with about 70,000 vessels transporting goods around the world. All countries with Naval forces use them to project power and influence. Reliability is critical, so on board oil analysis is widely used. The cruise line entertainment industry is a fast growing segment of the marine market with high profitability, so reliability is critical for success.
In any marine application there's a prime mover, which is the main engine, but there are other key lubricated assets on board as well. There are thruster hydraulics, backup generators for power, gear reducers, compressors for air -- essentially a floating power plant. Since there are so many different lubricated assets, there are a variety of different lubricants on board. Engine designs, types of fuel, and types of fluids per regulatory compliance all complicate the monitoring task. As a result, monitoring should be performed on a regular basis.