Uptime is one of the key considerations for all power generators. Electricity supply must equal demand at all times. Downtime, especially unplanned downtime, is very difficult to deal with and can be quite costly. Fortunately condition based monitoring can go a long way towards preventing unscheduled downtime and achieving uptime goals in excess of 98%. In particular, on-site oil analysis is a key tool used by power generators to avoid unplanned outages.
Transmissions are very complex systems for converting and directing power from an engine to a drive train or other end use. Transmissions are typically found on mobile equipment and consist not only of gear sets, but also brake and clutch sets, torque converters and valves. Mobile transmissions are typically broken down into two categories - highway and off highway. Off highway consists of mining equipment, heavy-duty construction equipment, agricultural equipment and other mobile equipment typically used somewhere other than on a paved road.
Chillers are used across a range of industries to remove heat from processes or from facilities. Some examples include commercial brewing operations that keep their entire brew houses near zero degrees Celsius or chemical processes that require a steady supply of chilled water for their processes.
Pumps are used in industrial and fleet applications to move liquids and gases. Most pumps used in industrial applications are either positive displacement or centrifugal. In both cases bearings are the component that must be lubricated and monitored. Rotary positive displacement pumps have gears, screws, lobes or vanes which are also lubricated, usually by the fluid they are pumping, whether it is a lubricant or an oil /air mix.
Hydraulic systems are used in industrial, mobile and aviation applications to transmit power to operate equipment. They are incredibly efficient, compact, and lightweight relative to a mechanical equivalent. Hydraulic fluids transmit force in the system, and as such are carefully chosen by the system maker. Chemical stability, high flash and fire points, viscosity, and oxidation resistance are all valued, and as a result mineral and synthetic hydrocarbon fluids are selected for mobile and industrial systems, whereas functional chemicals such as phosphate esters are chosen for aviation and specialized industrial applications.
Compressed Air is considered to be the 4th utility after power, water and fuel (natural gas), and usually the one that all customers must generate and provide themselves. Compressed air is the energy of choice to power a great variety of applications across fleet and industrial applications. Since compressors are integral to providing the power for a variety of machines throughout a plant or on a vehicle, reliability and uptime of compressors is paramount.
Oil analysis is a key tool used to ensure that compressors stay up and running and that unscheduled downtime is minimized. This brief Ask the Expert video explains the parts of a compressor that are typically monitored using oil analysis, the most common failure modes for compressors, what types of tests are typically run on the oil, and what on-site instruments are best-suited to performing that suite of tests.