The ability to effectively report oil analysis data in relation to asset reliability using trending analysis has the capability to move from a one-off reactive exercise to an overall proactive plan to improve return on investment. Return on investment can be increased by means of proper management of testing in-service lubricants (as well as coolants), good reporting tools, as well as targets and establishment of measurables to effectively improve asset reliability. Below are examples of areas that can be targeted for setting and defining goals to make your fluids analysis program a true success.
Eliminate root cause for failures by establishing thresholds to monitor
Contaminants are a primary root cause of failures. By establishing maximum limits for contaminants such as water, coolant, fuel, varnish, particulate and dirt, the root cause of many failures are eliminated. By applying routine analysis these levels can be monitored to ensure they stay within an acceptable limit. This approach prevents the need for more costly and time consuming corrective action. Current baseline values for contaminants and related failures can be ascertained, targets established for keeping contaminants below root cause levels and improvement in a reduction of related failures can be measured against a determined goal.
Reduce equipment downtime and increase equipment reliability
The impact of unplanned equipment downtime can have a significant economic effect. Setting a goal to reduce downtime with proactive follow-up of routine testing can allow an operation to plan downtime more effectively and reduce overall downtime. A baseline measurement of downtime and associated costs can be established, then targets can be set and measured based on defined goals.
Any operation with a significant investment in new equipment would want to protect the warranty service that supports this investment. Tracking warranty claims is easy enough, but the number of the claims which are substantiated through oil analysis is a valid goal that would realize a return on investment.
Optimize lubrication performance
Optimizing lubricant service life does not necessarily equate to extended oil drains. It equates to optimizing lubricant service life that best serves equipment health and reliability. When it comes to the service life of lubricants one size does not fit all. There are variations in work environments, access to service and maintenance, and equipment age. These and other factors will affect lubricant service life and the formulation most suited to the job. By setting targets based on test parameters most relevant to performance and maintenance requirements, caretakers can balance their lubrication service life with optimal equipment performance
Extend equipment life
Budget constraints and business conditions can affect decisions associated with capital purchases. With using oil analysis as a measurement tool equipment owners can track equipment health in order to establish goals for extending equipment life and planning capital purchases.
Fleet-wide or plant-wide health
These days reporting tools allow for monitoring overall fleet-wide or plant-wide health instead of sifting through individual reports that may not necessarily reflect your overall asset health. Targets and related measurables based on test data can provide a larger picture of your overall investments and management of assets.
These are just a few examples of goals that can be established through trending analysis. Partnering with ALS can help decide what goals can most effectively improve equipment performance and the bottom line. Targets can be set and measurables established to track progress towards these targets; turning the average data into something more dynamic with useful results. ALS has tool to assists clients with measuring remaining fluid life, optimal sampling frequencies and calculating return on investment.
David Doyle, CLS, OMA I, OMA II
Vice President, Americas