Spectro Scientific Blog

FieldLab Commercial: An Introduction to the Technologies Behind Spectro Scientific's Portable Fluid Analysis System

Posted by Lisa Williams on October 19, 2022

Introduction 

Downtime for critical equipment is costly in terms of dollar expense, productivity and human lives. Oil analysis is one of the most important and reliable techniques to keep these assets up and running.

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Topics: Industrial, Fleets, Mining, Tribology, White Paper

Severe Sliding and Fatigue Wear Debris Analysis for Machinery Components

Posted by Ray Garvey on September 23, 2022

Introduction 

This article is the first in a series to make a strong case for performing more and better testing of in service lubricants in order to replace unplanned repairs and unplanned downtime with planned repairs during scheduled time. In other words, this article is about using oil analysis to help improve reliability, planning and scheduling. More and better testing involves more lubricant sample points with better focus on large wear particle analysis.

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Topics: Industrial, Fleets, Mining, Tribology, White Paper

Analysis of Large Wear Debris is Essential for Comprehensive Oil Analysis

Posted by Ray Garvey on August 11, 2022

Introduction 

Comprehensive oil analysis requires sampling, testing and analyzing in-service industrial lubricants to evaluate the wear condition of machinery, the contamination condition of lubrication systems, and chemistry condition of the lubricants. This article intentionally focuses attention on analysis of large wear particles because the resulting analysis information enables informed users time for planned maintenance instead of surprise, reactive unplanned repairs.

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Topics: Industrial, Fleets, Mining, Tribology, White Paper

Oil Analysis Alarms Whitepaper

Posted by Daniel Walsh on June 20, 2022

Practical Steps to Increase Your Site’s Ability to Detect
and Manage Abnormal Lubrication Events

There is a lot of discussion about artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and how these can be applied in all areas of reliability programs, particularly oil analysis. In this technology, many users struggle to understand and trust how alarms are set, maintained, and adapted to meet the changing conditions with lubricated mechanical equipment. All of these intelligence initiatives are ineffective if the data is not trustworthy.

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Topics: Industrial, Fleets, Mining, Tribology, White Paper

Oil Analysis Handbook

Posted by Zack Macik on May 24, 2022

Spectro Scientific's Oil Analysis Handbook

This Oil Analysis Handbook covers a wide variety of topics ranging from specific oil analysis techniques to applications for oil analysis, to success stories of companies that use on-site oil analysis to lower costs and improve uptime. The applications for oil analysis range from mining and trucking to water treatment, service providers, and industrial plants.  Learn how to improve reliability while cutting maintenance costs and avoiding costly downtime.

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Topics: Industrial, Case Study, Fleets, Mining, Tribology

Rapid Analysis: Gold Mine Eliminates Reliance on Outside Lab

Posted by Randi Price on September 11, 2020

Point of care solutions provide the maintenance team with accurate answers about equipment when needed. This is especially important when teams are working in 24/7 operations. Waiting for data to come back in days or weeks to make important decisions is not viable.

Oil analysis is essential to identify problems so they can be corrected before they cause equipment to go down for major repairs. A multinational mining firm was using an outside lab for oil analysis, but there were some real limitations with this approach:

  • The cost of this approach limited the number of samples that could be analyzed.
  • In addition, the four-day lead time to receive the results created the risk that damage could occur before results were obtained.
  • Further, unpredictable delays or interruptions in shipping to the off-site lab can have huge impacts to keeping critical machinery running.

They overcame this problem by creating an in-house lab based on the SpectrOil 100 rotating disk electrode (RDE) atomic emission spectrometer and the Spectro FTIR oil analyzer. The mine can now obtain oil analysis results in only 12 minutes, and the reduced cost per sample has made it possible to increase the number of samples analyzed by nearly a factor of ten. In its first year of operation, the in house lab has identified savings of over a million dollars in downtime and over a million dollars in repairs with several of the larger incidents generating savings that completely paid for the purchase price of the instruments.

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Topics: Case Study, Fleets, Mining

Oil Analysis for Municipal Fleets

Posted by Daniel Walsh on August 11, 2020

How can on-site oil analysis benefit municipal fleets? Our expert, Dan Walsh, illustrates how on-site oil analysis programs can positively impact municipal fleets.

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Topics: Fleets

Simplicity Breeds Confidence: On-site Oil Analysis is Easier than Ever

Posted by Randi Price on June 25, 2020

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.   

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Topics: Industrial, Case Study, Fleets

Lower Maintenance Costs: Large Municipality Uses Point of Care Oil Analysis to Significantly Reduce Costs

Posted by Mitchell Myers on June 04, 2020

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.

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Topics: Case Study, Fleets

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