Oil analysis testing of machine lubricants is done as part of the practice of condition monitoring and can provide a wealth of information regarding the health and condition of the machinery. Lubrication of plant equipment is essential to keep it functioning properly and efficiently; hence lubricant testing is indispensable in providing accurate and important information about the current state of the machines.
Correct lubrication can mean the difference between an efficiently functioning machine and one that is operating inefficiently or headed towards a breakdown. The attributes of machine oil can change due to degradation, contamination or even due to decrease in the amount of lubricant and can cause machine damage or collapse resulting in loss of valuable production time. Hence, oil analysis testing can be critical in being able to foresee such impending complications and save valuable production time.
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Data on the attributes of the lubricant and its additives are collected by oil analysis testing of new oil and used oil and entail wear debris analysis as well. The information collected from such laboratory analysis is then tracked and examined for trends to reveal latent problems so as to prevent costly repairs. A successful condition monitoring system should contain a good oil analysis program so as to provide many times the return on its investment.
The major component of a fruitful oil analysis program is appropriate and regular sampling method. The sampling spots should be carefully determined and consistency should be applied with regard to location, sampling equipment, procedure, frequency, testing methods and documentation. Contamination control of oil can be achieved by ensuring that both new oil and used oil analysis are performed. Complete condition monitoring services are offered by many companies and comprise of sampling and testing equipment and training of plant personnel.
Such services can help in selecting the most informative tests that should be performed in order to obtain the required data. They will also provide sophisticated laboratory analysis, data assessment and reporting.
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A good oil analysis testing program can be indispensable because experts suggest that oil analysis can provide earlier detection of machine wear that other commonly used testing procedures like vibration analysis.