Implementing and committing to a high-quality oil analysis program has been proven to have a direct impact on both productivity and cost savings. The show that oil analysis offers the highest rate of return on investment than any of the predictive maintenance procedures, especially when it’s properly utilized with a qualified laboratory, proper testing, and a full commitment of the user. That being said, however, there are many variables that impact the accuracy of fluid condition data, and the best results occur when a consistent, thorough, and accurate oil analysis program is utilized as a key component of an ongoing predictive maintenance or reliability-centered maintenance program.
“Scheduling equipment repairs, rather than reacting to a failure, allows a plant to have replacement equipment available or parts in stock and technicians on hand to minimize or avoid downtime. Fluid analysis data trending also allows a plant to schedule preventive maintenance servicing on a schedule that best suits the company’s manufacturing load. Accurate fluid condition data allows maintenance managers to change oils and coolants only when a change is required, extending the time intervals between changes. This in turn, reduces maintenance costs, lubricant consumption and disposal costs, and increases productivity and machine uptime.”
In order to collect a sample that is representative of the system in which the oil is being used, however, it’s important to use the proper tools and sampling methods for that system. A well-managed oil sampling process should be repeatable on a consistent basis, and also limit the number of samples needed to obtain solid fluid condition data – without exposing the system to airborne contaminants.
To sample the right equipment, at the right time, using the right method, you need the following oil sampling tools:
- Sampling valves/ports
- Pitot sampling tubes/probes
- Vacuum pumps
- Sample bottles, purge bottles, mailer tubes, and flexible tubing
Once a sample is taken, it’s imperative that the sample is submitted to an experienced, reputable lab within 24 hours. After the tests are run and data is available, make sure you take the time to thoroughly read the results. If you’re going to commit to a state-of-the-art oil sampling process, you should follow through by taking the time to understand what the condition of your fluid is telling you.
In addition to reading and evaluating your forensic fluid data, leverage your data to yield the highest return on your investment by tracking results over time, identifying trends, and making proactive decisions based on that data.
- Implement preventative maintenance procedures that will increase plant efficiency and reduce unnecessary fluid change outs.
- Schedule equipment repairs ahead of time so technicians have your part in stock, mitigating downtime.
Over time, these decisions will reduce maintenance costs, lubricant consumption and disposal costs, and increase productivity and machine uptime.
A well-thought-out oil analysis program yields high returns for a small investment. Using proper tools and sampling methods and investing in state-of-the-art laboratory analysis will provide invaluable fluid condition data. Committing to a quality oil analysis program over time can impact your plant’s overall efficiency, while also saving time and money. To learn more about how U.S. Lubricants can help you implement a thorough oil analysis program, contact Tony Springer at or by phone at (800) 490-4900 ext. 8823.