Spectro Scientific Blog

On-Site Oil Analysis for Aerospace

Posted by Professor Dan on March 12, 2019

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.

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Topics: Industrial

Oil Analysis for Marine Industries

Posted by Professor Dan on January 25, 2019

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.

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Topics: Industrial

On-site Oil Analysis for Shipboard Maintenance

Posted by Augustus Kaskons on December 07, 2018

Naval Sealift Ship Puts Accuracy to the Test

(This is an excerpt from a published article in the April 2013 issue of "Lubes 'N' Greases" magazine)

The United States Naval Ship (USNS) Watson is one of the largest, medium-speed, roll-on, roll-off ships that have significantly expanded the nation’s sealift capacity. The Watson has a considerable amount of machinery, including main engines, generators, and cranes, that require oil testing on a regular basis to detect potential problems and eliminate the possibility of a catastrophic failure. The Watson operated by, Ocean Shipholdings Inc., is under contract to the Military Sealift Command. The Watson previously used oil test kits but found them time-consuming. Its engineers questioned the kits’ accuracy as well.

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Topics: Industrial

Oil Analysis Fundamentals Course

Posted by Lisa Williams on November 20, 2018

Spectro Scientific is proud to present our "Oil Analysis Fundamentals Course" presented in partnership with Noria Corporation. The Oil Analysis Fundamentals course provides comprehensive information regarding lubricant analysis and its critical role in increasing machinery life and uptime.

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Topics: Industrial

Oil Analysis for Pulp and Paper

Posted by Professor Dan on November 06, 2018

The pulp and paper industry is comprised of facilities that manufacture corrugated paper, flake or particle board pressing, woven or fiber spinning, and general craft paper. The unique aspect of pulp and paper is the integrated complexity in medium to large- sized plant operations. Typically, people think about the paper end of the system, but there is actually a much more complex system at hand.

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Topics: Industrial

Oil Analysis for Food and Beverage

Posted by Professor Dan on October 05, 2018

How can on-site oil analysis benefit food and beverage organizations? Our expert, Dan Walsh, illustrates how on-site oil analysis programs can positively impact operational excellence for food and beverage manufacturers.

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Topics: Industrial

Why Industrial Oil Analysis On-site?

Posted by Professor Dan on September 21, 2018

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.

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Topics: Industrial

InfraCal new high range measurement of oil in water

Posted by Lisa LaRusso on September 19, 2018

The InfraCal 2 analyzer with an ATR sample stage can now be used for measuring the 0.5-10% range of oil in water or soil. The sample is extracted using a solvent that does not have an infrared absorbance at the hydrocarbon wavelength and, therefore, does not require evaporation. Measuring the extract directly in the solvent, instead of evaporating off the solvent, allows for percent range measurements with the same ATR sample stage used to measure the ppm levels.

The InfraCal 2 portable infrared analyzers have been used worldwide for measuring offshore oil levels in produced water for over 45 years. They have an advantage over other analytical instruments in that the measurement can be performed by non-technical users and it is relatively unaffected by composition changes in the effluent. They also provide users with the necessary ruggedness and reliability that is a key requirement.  In addition to their use for measuring oil content in produced water, portable IR analyzers are ideal for both onshore and offshore oil content measurements in drill cuttings, total petroleum hydrocarbons in soil at remediation sites, and Fracking water where the samples may have oil concentrations greater than 1%.

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Oil Analysis for Industrial Sites Part 1

Posted by Professor Dan on August 27, 2018

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.


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Topics: Industrial

Ask the Expert: Oil Analysis for Mining Fleets

Posted by Professor Dan on July 30, 2018

Mining Fleet Oil Analysis

Mining fleets and their managers utilize oil analysis to keep their equipment up and running. From drill and blast to transportation, they need to know their equipment won't fail on them. Some of the largest equipment in the world is created for mining fleets, and keeping them lubricated is of utmost importance. On-site oil analysis can not only keep equipment in check, but lower maintenance costs as well. In the latest addition to the "Ask the Expert" video series, Dan Walsh discusses how on-site oil analysis can decrease maintenance costs, and increase profit.


Typical mining processes have five key stages that can either be in one location, or spread out in multiple areas. Those stages are drill and blast, load and haul, process, stockpile, and transport.

In the world of mining, there are different types of mining. It can range from strip, also known as open pit, mining which is common for some of the major ores, to underground mining, which is common in different areas of the world. Mines extracting precious metals such as gold, lead, silver, coal, iron, etc. have interest in on-site oil analysis because those metals can show up in the oil itself.

Understanding the entire process from drill and blast, to actually getting the ore on the market is very important. Knowing that all in cost, or major KPI, is how mines determine how much profit they are able to make. For example, gold extraction can range from $350 to $700 per oz for the all in cash cost. Reducing the cost of operation is how all mines can increase their profit margins.

Why On-site Oil Analysis?

Maintenance costs are the largest percentage of the entire operation costs. For open pit mining, 45% to 60% of the operation cost is purely maintenance cost due to it being heavily intensive with capital equipment. Underground mining is typically less than 35% because the product and equipment is different. Smelters and other first processes can be between 25% to 30%. Any effort to reduce the cost of maintenance increases overall profit. On-site oil analysis is very attractive to mining operations for that exact purpose. 

Mining maintenance personnel will use all four maintenance strategies when they approach their maintenance cost. In most cases they will try to strike an optimal balance between the time it takes and the cost of disruption to reduce time lost due to breakdowns, and cost of maintenance, while increasing up time.
Asset utilization, mean time between failure, and cost per horse power per hour, are all important KPI's for mining managers to be aware of. Any time an oil analysis solution is brought on-site, managers have a way of directly affecting those KPI's by lowering them and essentially raising the profit margins of the operation.


Equipment and Tests

The image below shows the type of equipment seen at each stage of the mining process- drill and blast, load and haul, and final process, the moving parts within that equipment, and the tests that should be run for each stage.

Because most of the equipment has similar moving parts, such as hydraulics and transmissions, the main set of tests are similar for all three stages of the typical mining operation. TBN, particle count, oxidation, water introgression, dirt and processed material dust, are all important metrics used to monitor equipment health in every stage of the process. 

The Solution

The Microlab 40 is the ideal solution to run the recommended tests for a typical mining operation in less than 10 minutes. It is easy to use, so there is no need for a technician to operate it. It provides an easy-to-read report of the test results, along with the suggested maintenance actions that should be taken to correct any abnormalities found in the equipment. The MicroLab 40 truly is the ideal solution for mining fleets and their managers.   In specific cases where exotic fluids (PAG) and lubricants are required, the MiniLab 153 also may be considered.
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Topics: Fleets

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