Overview

Machine condition monitoring based on oil analysis has become an important, if not mandatory, maintenance practice by the marine industry. An effective oil analysis program will keep important assets such as engines, gearboxes, hydraulic systems, turbines, compressors, generators and any other oil-wetted machinery in operation by reducing unexpected failures and costly unscheduled down time.

Spectro Scientific has supplied analytical instruments to the marine industry throughout the world to enhance existing oil analysis programs. The nature of the industry makes it impractical to send samples to on-shore laboratories, therefore an onboard oil and/or fuel analysis capability may be a prerequisite. We welcome the opportunity to continue to be of service to existing customers and to assist new customers with their oil analysis instrumentation requirements.


Challenges

Being at sea for long periods of time makes the use of on-shore oil analysis labs impractical for marine vessels. By the time results are received back on board the equipment being analyzed might have failed already. 

Spectro Scientific offers a set of solutions to transform the vessel owner’s onboard oil analysis program. As instrumentation size decreases and becomes more portable, oil analysis devices are now being put in the hands of the end user. It has been proven that these new smaller devices do not sacrifice analytical performance. This brings the end user closer to the vessel and its problems, enabling time-sensitive, critical decision making.

Cold Corrosion - Large, two-stroke diesel engines are used in over 30,000 ships worldwide. Due to over lubrication, they waste in excess of US$2 billion of cylinder oil every year.  This creates more than 1.25 million tons of contaminated drain oil that needs proper disposal. This over-lubrication in slow speed, two-stroke marine diesel engines can cost ship managers and owners more than $100,000 per year per ship.

Cylinder under-lubrication leads to cold corrosion and early failure of expensive engine components like pistons, piston rings and cylinder liners. Careful monitoring of cylinder oil BN allows the operator to use enough oil to prevent cold corrosion without wasting valuable oil and additives.

  • Recommended by the engine designer
  • Allows quick adjustment of cylinder oil lubrication rates when entering or leaving Sulfur Emission Control Areas.
  • Battery powered portable analyzer can be carried to the test site rather than having to send oil samples back to a central laboratory
  • FluidScan software can store up to 5000 measurement results and export these results by .csv file. This allows the operator to track and store measurements by cylinder for their records and enables trending of measurements. 
  • Upgradeable software allows the user to monitor lubricating oil condition on a wide variety of shipboard equipment. The FluidScan Q1230 can monitor lubricating oils for TAN, TBN, oxidation, sulfation, water and soot.
  • Cold corrosion is best avoided by tightly controlling BN using a simple, easy to use, accurate analyzer like the FluidScan 1200. Measuring corrosive iron is UNNECESSARY if you properly control residual cylinder oil BN and never let it fall below 15 (Wärtsilä recommended limit).
  • See Wärtsilä Services technical bulletin RT-161 

Typical Tests

TBN - One of the biggest issues facing two-stroke engine makers and operators is cold corrosion due to slow steaming. Monitoring and maintaining proper BN is vital to avoid the effects of cold corrosion while minimizing lube oil consumption. 

 Wear

Particle count - a high particle count or a rapid increase in particles can foreshadow an imminent failure. 

 Chemistry

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. 

 Contamination

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.

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.


Marine Products

FerroCheck 2000 Series - Ferrous Wear Metal Measurement In Lubricants

The FerroCheck 2000 Series of portable ferrous analyzers offer accuracy and convenience for total ferrous measurement of in-service lubricating oil and grease. Fast and easy to use samples are analyzed in less than 30 seconds. Small sample volumes of just 1.5 ml of oil or 0.75 ml of grease are needed to measure ferrous content in part per million (ppm) by weight.  The FerroCheck measures the total ferrous content of both small particles from normal machine wear and large abnormal wear particles.

MicroLab 40 - On-Site Oil Analyzer

The MicroLab Series is a fully automated oil analyzer that provides diagnostic analysis of engine, generator, gear box, hydraulics, power steering, and transmission fluids. The MicroLab is used in virtually every industry that operates equipment powered by engines including: automotive, trucking, energy, mining, heavy equipment, government (military, municipal).

FluidScan 1200 - Portable Marine BN Analyzer

Today, marine engine suppliers recommend daily monitoring of the Base Number (BN) to optimize cylinder lubrication feed rate and determine the residual BN of the piston underside oil.The FluidScan® 1200 Series provides direct quantitative BN measurement of cylinder lube oil for two-stroke engines – in less than a minute, reducing lubrication oil costs and improving engine reliability.


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