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. Spectro Scientific provides a comprehensive line of analytical tools to validate lubrication oil quality.

New lubricants are primarily tested during manufacturing by the supplier to ensure the oil meets their own specifications for viscosity, cleanliness and additives. New lubricants are also tested by the customer upon delivery and before deployment in their equipment to make sure they are using the right oil and that it is clean and dry.

Lubricant Manufacturers

Lubricant manufacturers, or blenders, require instant feedback on their oil analysis as it is integral to the manufacturing process. It wouldn’t make sense to blend an oil and then send a sample out to a commercial laboratory and wait a week for the results to come back. Blenders need immediate and reliable answers. Many blenders use Spectro Scientific’s on-site oil analyzers to provide the answers they need without delay.

The SpectrOil products are used to measure levels of elemental contamination to make sure they fall within specified limits. The SpectrOil is easy to use and gives answers in minutes. The SpectrOil is also used to measure the concentration of additives. Additives such as zinc dialkyldithiophosphate (ZDDP) are commonly used as anti-wear additives to protect engine parts. The elemental concentration of zinc is measured to check for proper lubricant formulation.

Testing of new oil by consumers

A study conducted by Noria found that fewer than 40% of lubrication professionals tested incoming oil. This is really a missed opportunity for the consumer and can lead to lots of problems down the road. If you take an oil delivery without testing it upon receipt and then later find a problem with your oil stock how can you prove it was the fault of the supplier if you didn’t test it? The supplier could say that your tanks were contaminated, not their oil. Testing incoming oil ensures it is clean, dry and the proper type of oil.

New oils should be tested before they are pumped into your storage tanks. Cross contamination could have occurred in the tanker truck that was delivering the oil. The only insurance you have is to test that oil before taking delivery of it.

An audit performed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) tested 562 motor oils. The results were as follows:

  • 4 percent of the motor oils were classified as having standard deviations (one out of every 25 oils tested). Many had the wrong concentration of additives, while others failed to meet low-temperature specifications.
  • 16 percent were classified as having marginal deviations (one out of every six oils tested).

Portable tools can be taken right to the loading dock and afford you the opportunity to quickly and easily run some checks on new oil before taking delivery. The MiniVisc 3000 is a portable, battery-operated viscometer that can tell you in just a couple of minutes if the new oil is the right viscosity. The FluidScan can take one drop of oil and within one minute tell you if the oil is free of water and if the additive level is correct.