Machinery Lubrication


Machinery Lubrication magazine published by Noria Corporation

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Page 47 of 80 | July - August 2017 | 43 ML ASTM Crosscheck Program Most oil analysis practitioners assume the data from their laboratory is accurate and irrefutable, but this may not always be the case. Routine checking of your lab is crucial. Fortunately, a system already exists for this practice, known as the ASTM Crosscheck Program. Although this program is voluntary, it can confirm when a lab is able to produce accu- rate, consistent results. The program is based on different types of oil testing, but includes several common tests that would be performed on industrial fluids, such as viscosity, particle counting and elemental analysis. As with most programs like this, there are various subcommittees for different oil appli- cations, such as automotive and turbines. Regardless of the oil type, the testing parameters should be consistent no matter which lab conducts the test. The program is quite simple. Oil samples are sent to participating laboratories and tested. All the results are then gathered and analyzed to determine how accurate the labs are in achieving similar results from similar oil samples. This is important information to look for or request when using a commercial laboratory. Ask if the lab participates in the crosscheck program and if it has any other quality-control accredita- tions. Sometimes these questions alone are enough to shed light on a laboratory's shortcomings. If you plan to conduct your own crosscheck by utilizing the tracer method or employing multiple labs, make certain they all run the tests according to the same ASTM method. Even with some of the more common tests like elemental analysis, there are several ways in which they can be performed, with each producing slightly different results. To help minimize this risk, always ask or instruct the lab which ASTM standard of the test will be used. Also, be sure to select methods that can be cross- checked by either your onsite lab or another commercial laboratory. If you suspect an issue with the testing, at the very least you should call the laboratory and ask for the test to be performed again. Most labs keep a small amount of each sample, commonly referred to as the retain. The retain can often be retested to confirm or potentially correct any error in the original sample. This practice is at the discretion of the laboratory, so it will require a conversation between you and your lab. This is more common among commercial laboratories and much harder for onsite labs to accommodate. As you continue to refine your oil analysis program, keep in mind that the data from your laboratory may be incorrect. Use these recom- mendations and have an open conversation with your lab so you can rest easy knowing that the data you receive is as accurate as possible. And, as always, double-checking your lab is never a bad idea. About the Author Wes Cash is the director of technical ser vices for Noria Corporation. He ser ves as a senior technical consultant for Lubrication Program Development projects and as a senior instructor for Noria's Oil Analysis II and Machinery Lubrication I and II training courses. Wes holds a Machine Lubrication Techni - cian (MLT) Level II certification and a Machine Lubricant Analyst (ML A) Level III certification through the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML). Contact Wes at to learn how Noria can help you ensure the integrity of your oil analysis results.

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