Machinery Lubrication

Machinery Lubrication Nov Dec 2013

Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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Page 36 of 81

OIL ANALYSIS 6 O BY CARY F ORGERON, A NALYSTS INC. Ways to Maximize Your OilSoftware Value Analysis Organizations have used oil analysis for decades to identify lubrication problems that could require equipment repair or even shut down an entire line of heavy machinery. Although the technique for sample collection remains predominantly unchanged, technology has revolutionized the information available once the sample is analyzed. Improved technology, however, can mean a sea of data, which may be overwhelming to even the most business-savvy customer. There are many oil analysis software programs that promise to process complicated data, interpret results and offer recommendations. Additionally, beyond traditional sample analysis, software programs now offer systems for managing maintenance schedules, advanced data graphing and data-mining applications. Not surprisingly, today's plant engineers and fleet managers have several options when selecting software to manage their oil analysis needs. Choosing the proper software and maximizing its features can provide a huge payback for the user through reduced machinery maintenance expenses. For more than 50 years, oil analysis has been used to help diagnose the internal condition of oil-wetted components. Original testing methods focused on visual inspection coupled with a simple smell test. First used in the railroad industry in 1946, laboratory analysts detected problems in diesel engines through evaluation of metals in used oils. By 1955, the United States Naval Bureau of Weapons had adopted oil analysis procedures to predict aircraft component failure. Testing and evaluation practices have evolved dramatically over the last five decades, making oil analysis one of the most effective predictive maintenance technologies available. Monumental changes have taken place within the laboratory in the areas of sample evaluation and more importantly in how the data is reported and managed. As recently as 10 years ago, customers collected an oil sample, hand-wrote information on a label and mailed the sample to the laboratory via traditional mail services. Two or three weeks later, the customer would receive a hard copy of the laboratory report in the mail. Today, improved instrumentation, streamlined delivery 34 November - December 2013 | services and enhanced technology put comprehensive results in a customer's hand within 24 hours. This shortened result cycle is essential in the identification of critical samples and can prevent expensive equipment repairs and costly downtime. Additional benefits of a properly executed oil analysis program include reduced lubricant costs, decreased energy consumption, enhanced equipment efficacy, improved production, and reduced risk of injury and environmental damage. Technology Enhancements As research and technology have advanced over the years, progress in lubricant testing has kept pace. The following are some of the key areas of technology enhancement in the oil analysis industry: Information Delivery Once limited to a single hard copy of a distinct sample, customers can now review results online, download reports and

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