Many large oil companies are Spectro Scientific customers because they employ oil analysis not only to monitor their own equipment in refineries, tankers, and pipelines, but they monitor their own blended lubricant products and also frequently provide oil analysis services to customers who buy their lubricants. Many industrial and transportation companies receive oil analysis services from their lubricant supplier.
Quite often, lubricant suppliers send their samples to commercial laboratories that “private label” the oil analysis reports for lubricant company customers. Lubricant suppliers provide some of the largest oil analysis programs, but the actual analytical work is performed by a commercial laboratory under contract to the lubricant supplier.
Lubricant manufacturers and distributors want to add value to their business. Instead of simply selling lubricants to customers, they want to add value by supporting the customers with ongoing oil analysis. Spectro Scientific’s products are specifically designed for oil analysis as opposed to many other generic laboratory tools. This enables faster analysis and response time which in turn enables higher machinery uptime and fewer equipment failures for the end user of the lubricants.
A lubricant supplier may need to test a wide variety of parameters depending upon the final customer’s application. Spectro Scientific products provide a holistic picture of all oil parameters allowing a lube supplier to offer any testing that might be required.
Particle count - a high particle count or a rapid increase in particles can foreshadow an imminent failure.
Particle composition - it is often important to understand the elemental composition of particles in order to find out where they came from. Optical Emission Spectroscopy gives the user elemental information for up to 32 elements, from Li to Ce (varies with application).
Particle type - The size, shape and opacity of particles is used to determine if they are from cutting wear, sliding wear, fatigue wear, nonmetallic or fibers. This allows operators to determine the type of wear debris, wear mode and potential source from internal machinery components.
Ferrous wear - Ferrous wear measurement is a critical requirement for monitoring machine condition. The high sensitivity magnetometer measures and reports ferrous content in ppm/ml, and provides ferrous particle count and size distribution for large ferrous particles.
Total Acid Number (TAN) - TAN is measured to determine the corrosive potential of lubrication oils. If the TAN gets too high the oil can induce corrosion of machine parts and should be changed.
Total Base Number (TBN) - TBN measures the amount of active additive left in a sample of oil. The TBN is useful for people who want to extend their oil usage far beyond the normal range. The TBN of a used oil can aid the user in determining how much reserve additive the oil has left to neutralize acids. The lower the TBN reading, the less active additive the oil has left.
Viscosity - The main function of lubrication oil is to create and maintain a lubrication film between two moving metal surfaces. Insuring the viscosity is within recommended ranges is one of the most important tests one can run on lube oil.
Oxidation, Nitration, Sulfation - Lubricating oil at elevated temperatures can react with oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere, as well as sulfur in fuel, to form undesirable by-products that can affect the oil's viscosity and lead to corrosion or damage of equipment.
Fuel Dilution - Fuel dilution in oil is a condition caused by excess, unburned fuel mixing with engine oil in an engine crankcase. Hydrocarbon-based fuel, usually with a lower vapor pressure than the lubricant, has a thinning effect, lowering the oil viscosity. Oil film strength is reduced, increasing the cylinder liner and bearing wear.
Soot - Soot is a product of combustion and has always been found in engine oils. Soot can use up an oil's additives and deposit on vital engine surfaces.
Glycol - Glycol is found in engine coolant. If glycol is found in engine oil it typically indicates there is a leak in the engine that can cause catastrophic damage to the cylinder or cylinder wall.
Water - Water contamination in industrial oils can cause severe issues with machinery components. The presence of water can alter the viscosity of a lubricant as well as cause chemical changes resulting in additive depletion and the formation of acids, sludge, and varnish.
Lubricant & Additive Manufacturers Products
The Spectro Scientific Industrial Tribology Laboratory (ITL) is a turnkey system that provides a complete lubricant analysis condition monitoring solution. The measurements made using the Industrial Tribology Laboratory determine lubricant and machine condition, the core of any effective predictive maintenance system. Spectro Inc.’s ITL system is expandable and can incorporate testing and measurement solutions for other machinery fluids such as fuel, coolants, transformer oils and greases.