Monitoring the lubrication systems of plant equipment is critical for optimizing performance and reducing machinery downtime. On-site oil analysis supports condition monitoring by providing immediate answers regarding the condition of any lubricated equipment. It ensures the proper lubrication of equipment and it provides early detection of wear and helps with contamination control.
Key Performance Indicators
In Part 1 of this this “Ask the Expert” video series, Dan Walsh describes the key factors that impact industrial plants and he explains how site and maintenance managers can use on-site oil analysis to reduce risks and increase the chances of resolving a maintenance issue early in the process. This is important for industrial sites as discrete and process industrial production are managed using key performance indicators (KPIs). Oil analysis positively affects the KPIs which include: percent uptime, percent reactive maintenance required, percent of maintenance costs over the replacement asset value, overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), the amount of inventory turn and maintenance, repairs and operations (MRO) parts as well as the meantime between failures (MTBF).
Today, on-site oil analysis is integral to an optimized on-site lubrication program since it reaches across the facility and affects all asset components that are lubricated. However, for many years on-site oil analysis wasn’t performed due to the large variety of rotating and reciprocating equipment within a facility and because of the different duty cycles, components and lubricants used. There was a lack of understanding about the role of oil analysis since it was often included as part of an oil company’s offerings. Also, there was a reliance on outside testing labs and poor in-house lubrication practices. Often, there was a lack of in-house expertise needed to diagnose oil analysis results and an overall lack of action when issues were discovered.
The diversity of equipment within an industrial site can span from 5-20,000 pieces of equipment that require lubrication. This equipment ranges from motors, drives, hydraulics, air compressors and chillers to robotic arms for discrete manufacturing systems and conveyor belts for process line control. Other equipment may include back up gen sets, firewater or process fluid pumps, powerhouses (gen sets or dedicated suppliers) as well as machine tools, valves and seals. With such a vast amount of equipment in the industrial plant, a dedicated on-site oil analysis program gives plant maintenance professionals access to immediate results, diagnostics and the ability to rapidly determine what maintenance actions are needed.