New Oil

The two basic categories of lube oil found in oil analysis applications are mineral and synthetic. Mineral oils are refined from naturally occurring petroleum, or crude oil. Synthetic oils are manufactured polyalphaolefins, which are hydrocarbon-based polyglycols or ester oils.

Mineral oils are the most commonly used because the supply of crude oil has rendered them inexpensive; moreover, a large body of data on their properties and use already exists. Another advantage of mineral-based lube oils is that they can be produced in a wide range of viscosities.

Synthetic lubricants were first used in the aerospace industry and are usually formulated for a specific application to which mineral oils are ill-suited. For example, synthetics are used where extremely high operating temperatures are encountered or where the lube oil must be fire resistant in applications such as aircraft turbines.

Lubricating oil analysis is primarily a quality control process. It is important to verify the levels of additives and contaminants during the production phase, and equally as important for lubricant users to confirm specifications.

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Used Oil

An effective predictive maintenance program based on condition monitoring through used oil analysis must determine both machine condition and lubricant condition. Lubricating oil may be used as a diagnostic medium which carries wear debris away from the wearing surfaces. Analysis of the wear debris can, therefore, provide important information about the condition of the internal parts of a machine or engine. On the other hand, the condition of the lubricant itself is important to know. Does the lubricant meet specification? Is the viscosity correct? Is the oil contaminated with water, particulates or chemical compounds?

In a modern condition monitoring program based on used oil analysis, a sample, or in some cases several oil samples, are taken from a piece of equipment at a predetermined sampling interval and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Based on the analysis, a diagnostic report is made and a recommendation is sent to the personnel responsible for the equipment. The report may show that everything is normal, warn of a possible problem or make a specific maintenance recommendation. The entire process, from sample taking to the diagnostic report, should take less than 48 hours to be effective. In a modern oil analysis program, the data generated and collected by the laboratory is also used to provide periodic maintenance summaries. These reports can be statistical in nature and provide an insight to management personnel on the effectiveness of the program, efficiency of the maintenance department, repair status of equipment, recurring problems, and even information on the performance of different lubricants.

We have been offering instruments and even complete turnkey systems for used oil analysis for 25 years. They include all the instruments necessary for the analysis of machine and lubricant condition.

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