Oil analysis for condition monitoring
The analysis of oil samples from machinery such as engines, gearboxes and hydraulic systems can provide crucial information about the condition of the machine components or the ability of the lubricant to provide effective protection. This can be subdivided into two categories:
Machine component wear can be monitored by the measurement of increasing metal particulate content in the lubricating or hydraulic oil. Elemental analysis can identify which metals are present and hence the source of the wear. Particle counting and shaping can determine the type and severity of wear.
Hydraulic and particularly lubricating oils are subjected to extremes of physical stress, temperature and pressure. Together with this and contamination from combustion and cooling components, oils can rapidly lose their effectiveness.
Trending of information from both machine and oil condition assists in the determination of efficient maintenance schedules and can indicate the onset of catastrophic machine failure, saving costs on both counts.