Oil analysis is a type of test which comes under predictive maintenance (PdM) tools, used to enable quick and precise laboratory evaluations of the lubricant found in the machinery.
But even with that understanding, knowing how this tool works is an entirely different matter.
From detecting the wear of moving parts to the presence of harmful substances, oil analysis is important for many good reasons. However, the advantages and uses aren’t just limited to these few – there’s way more than that!
Below, we will give you a better understanding of what oil analysis is and how it benefits your business.
What is an oil analysis
As said earlier on, this routine activity is used to check for oil contamination, machine wear and the equipment’s state of health. All of this is for ensuring that a lubricated machine is functioning according to expectations.
When an accurate assessment is done from the test, you will be able to identify any possible faults which are compromising product quality or service performance. By doing so, scheduling maintenance with your engineer before a critical failure happens can be done as soon as possible.
Understanding its process
Taking the oil sample
First and foremost, an oil sample has to be taken from the engine while the component or the lubricating system has been functioning for a period of time till it’s operating temperature. This helps to make sure the oil has circulated completed in the system and the sample is an accurate representation of what’s found within the motor.
Last but not least, it is crucial for the oil to be drawn from the same point each time to ensure maximum accuracy.
Sending the sample to the lab
Testing is done at the laboratory to check the different components of the oil – including fuel dilution, viscosity, water/coolant content, total acid number, the number of metallic particles and total base number.
For instance, coolant contamination can cause organic acids to build up and result in rust forming on iron and steel surfaces. Such information will be included in the report to detect the cause of these problems. Afterwards, the analysis will help to inform of what early action can be taken to prevent any further problems from occurring.
Oil analysis is essential for keeping your equipment in the pink of condition. From spotting errors to correcting them, there’s plenty of reasons why one should conduct this test:
Thorough assessment of lubricant performance
As mentioned earlier, it lets you see the problem areas clearly and fix them immediately. If it’s a generator malfunctioning, you’ll know it’s time to consider generator rewinding to get the problem fixed. Likewise, it is the same for transformers or switchgears.
Extend equipment’s lifespan
The general rule of thumb for any equipment is always to do regular checkups.
Whenever you identify the problem, such as low viscosity, you can immediately deal with it and prevent it from happening once again. Whether it’s by changing the oil or doing an upgrade, there are many ways to resolve the issue. In turn, this allows for longer-lasting equipment.
Save costs and time
It goes without saying that an equipment which has broken down will result in profit loss and increase equipment downtime.
By having oil analysis done, advanced notice is given for any impending malfunctions. Moreover, you’ll know when to do a repair from the information and avoid having too many of them. And with fewer repairs, the less money is invested and you’ll understand when a repair is necessary.
There are many tests out there like partial discharge tests and load tests done on equipment – oil analysis is just one out of many. Each one of them is equally important and informs you how your equipment is doing.
Whether it’s receiving the report or assessment, make sure to take the necessary actions. If it’s a generator overhauling or an electric motor overhauling you need afterwards – make sure to get it done.