Routine oil analysis is key to a successful maintenance program. Regular oil testing provides information essential to determining the condition of your equipment.
We work with clients to create cost-effective test packages applicable to their particular equipment and mechanical designs. Companies typically spend at least 10 percent of their revenues on maintenance and equipment repair. Add to this the cost of equipment downtime, decreased productivity, and devalued used machines, and this can easily add up to thousands of dollars per year. Standard testing programs for equipment reliability are comprised of routine tests that can meet most service requirements.
Our basic preventative maintenance package is designed to provide early detection of:
- Problems in the initial stages of development
- Excessive wear and the source of that component’s wear
- Unwanted contaminants, such as dirt, water, coolant, nitration, and incorrect oil
- The lubricant’s suitability for further service time, i.e. oil and equipment degradation
- Dilution of lubricants
- Misapplication of lubricants
- The oil’s physical properties
Companies that take oil analysis to the next level concentrate on root cause analysis. Equipment diagnosis and evaluating test results consists of looking at both the health of the equipment and the integrity of the oil. Trending of the test data over a period of time is a valuable tool to monitor ongoing equipment condition and allows you to predict corrective action before interruption to operations or increased maintenance costs occur.
Effective trending analysis will minimize equipment downtime, permit more efficient maintenance scheduling, protect warranty claims, and increase equipment resale value.
Feedback from our loyal clients has one thing in common, knowledge about what was happening inside their equipment and early problem detection forewarned them about potential problems, saved them time and money, and helped them protect their assets.
Microscopic Particle Examination FAQs
To save money! Machinery is expensive. Research has shown that repairing a failed component will, on average, cost you 50% more than if the component was attended to before failure. And this does not take into account production lost during unplanned downtime.
MPE, also commonly known as Analytical Ferrography, is an extra tool in the maintenance engineer’s toolbox. It can help detect faults before wear becomes too significant. It will help you decide whether an overhaul is actually needed, and whether it needs to be done now or later. It can also tell you which part of the component needs attention when you open it up.
The skilled analyst performs the analytical ferrography to provide a root cause for wear mechanisms based on the morphology and composition of the particles, as well as which equipment component the wear particles originated from. The analyst will report material composition and wear morphology that will include, but is not limited to the following:
- Ferrous wear particles
- High alloy steel
- Low alloy steel
- Dark metallic oxides and cast iron
- Red oxides (rust)
- White nonferrous metal particles
- Yellow metals wear particles
- Contaminants, dirt (silica), fibers and other particulates
- Fatigue Wear
- Sliding Wear
- Cutting Wear—Abrasive Wear
- Adhesive Wear
- Corrosive Wear
The spectrometric analysis for a component could be abnormal, yet there is no apparent cause of the wear such as dirt or water. The diagnostician may feel that the diagnosis would be enhanced by a MPE analysis, and would recommend one. This is particularly important in a situation where dismantling may be an option. The MPE analysis could reveal that an overhaul may be premature - perhaps the machine was wearing ‘more’ (i.e. normally but at a faster rate) as opposed to ‘abnormally’—it may have been working in muddy conditions at full load, but essentially nothing was wrong.
Some maintenance engineers also like to perform a MPE at regular intervals such as at a major service. As well as providing peace of mind, these MPE’s back up and complement regular oil analysis.
Any component can have a MPE analysis performed on it. MPE is especially suited to gear and/or roller bearing systems. Drive train components such as differentials, final drive hubs and gearboxes—both automotive and industrial—are most commonly analyzed.
MPE is an additional test carried out on request to complement standard oil analysis. Conventional spectrometric oil analysis measures the concentration of an element, say iron, in a sample of oil. It is from the concentration of iron, not the actual particles that the statement of wear is produced. Whilst spectrometric oil analysis is obviously very useful, there are two limitations:
- The size of particle that is picked up by the spectrometer is limited to a maximum of 8 to 10 microns (micrometres).
- The spectrometer gives no indication of the morphology, or form, of the wear particles.
In a normal situation, wear particles are small in size (less than 8 microns). These are detected by the spectrometer. But in some abnormal wear modes, only large particles are generated which the spectrometer cannot detect. ALS is often asked why urgent action is recommended, when in fact the readings have dropped. The first limitation of Spectrometry is somewhat offset by the other tests performed, such as PQ Index. But there is no way of ascertaining the form of the wear particles without performing a MPE. So an MPE combined with spectrometric oil analysis or PQ Index gives a clearer picture of the state of your component.
Yes. In addition to ascertaining the wear mode of the component, MPE can detect other features too:
- Discoloration of the particles that indicates overheating.
- Corrosion (rust) particles are obvious.
- Black oxides indicating that lubrication is insufficient.
Contact ALS for further information about having a Microscopic Particle Examination performed on your oil.
Diesel Engine Oil
Testing of in-service heavy duty engine oils is recognized as a valuable tool which compliments maintenance practices to optimize equipment and lubricant reliability. With changes in engine technology and lubrication formulations testing of in-service engine oils is more important than ever today. Current engine technology has put increasing demands on diesel engine lubrication performance. ALS provides quick and cost effective testing of in-service diesel engine oils. Testing targets owner and fleet maintenance managers needs in monitoring engine and fluid condition for predictive and proactive maintenance.
Diesel Engine Oil FAQs
Routine testing provides information for wear, contaminants and lubricant properties.
- Metals are monitored for excessive engine wear. Aluminum, copper, chrome, lead, and tin are some of the wear metals monitored
- Contaminants are monitored which includes fuel dilution, water and coolant, excessive soot build up, and dirt.
- Lubricant physical and chemical properties monitors and measures service life. Lubricant condition can indicate engine operating conditions and fluid integrity. Testing includes viscosity, base number, acid number, oxidation, nitration, and sulphation
With the changes in engine technology and oil formulations there has been increasing focus on using acid number and oxidation monitoring relevant to diesel engine oil performance and service life. ALS is the right partner to help establish test packages that meet equipment and fleet requirements. ALS works with clients to establish an effective testing program to optimize equipment and lubricant reliability.
- Sample submission, test results and management reports available through our interactive website
- Mobile app for sample submission and test results
- Test report summary commentary
- Trending of test data on individual equipment
- OEM and customer specific flagging limits for equipment models and design
- Sampling products