Oil Analysis Blog-

Oil Analysis Blog

How To Successfully Manage Change


Whether implementing a maintenance reliability improvement program or a new CMMS, it is necessary to have buy-in at all affected levels to facilitate change.

No matter how large or small the change is, to realize success requires education and awareness.

Everyone involved and affected should understand the nature of the change and the desired benefits.

Providing an opportunity for discussion and input will ultimately create a smoother transition, encourage buy-in, and help create a culture of change.

Justifying an Oil Analysis Program


The reason to use oil analysis or for that matter any predictive technology is twofold: to avoid catastrophic failures and to extend equipment life.

A good oil analysis program can save big dollars for a really small investment. You can learn to predict those conditions that are the precursor of failure through spectrographic analysis and trending as well as wear debris analysis. Fluid cleanliness can be tested and compartment targets maintained. Clean fluids make machines last longer.

A solid analysis program results in making condition-based decisions both on the state of the equipment and the lubricant. The oil might be in good condition (minimal contamination, degradation, etc.), but an alignment/load problem may occur that may manifest as higher wear rates as determined by oil analysis. Maintenance supervisors can then look into possible causes (check vibration data) and correct problems before they develop into failure modes.

Even if no premature failures have occurred, it is a risky proposition to operate in such a hostile environment without predictive maintenance tools such as oil analysis. Studies show that 6 to 7 percent of the gross national product (more than $795 billion) is required just to repair the damage caused by mechanical wear.

The single largest cause of mechanical wear is adhesion, most commonly caused by abrasive, tiny particles. Airborne particles are an unfortunate fact of life in many facilities, and even if measures are taken to reduce the amount of particles in systems, it is difficult (if not impossible) to determine whether particle levels are acceptable without periodic oil analysis including particle counts.

Water is another ubiquitous factor in the manufacture of paper, and some of this water will inevitably find its way into lubricating systems. Water is an oxidation catalyst and can increase sludge and corrosion. In small concentrations, water contamination may not be visually apparent, creating another case for regular oil analysis.

Paper machine oils are also exposed to high bearing temperatures, which is another root cause of oxidation. Total acid numbers should be monitored via oil analysis to ensure that oxidation levels are acceptable. Otherwise, deposits will develop, which can have a detrimental effect on reliability and may eventually lead to premature failure.

Routine oil analysis will shed light on metallic wear trends and assist in scheduling overhauls and downtime, as opposed to employing reactive maintenance practices only when serious problems occur. Oil analysis can also provide confirmation that the correct products are being applied.

In short, routine oil analysis should be a mandatory component of an effective maintenance reliability program.

Published by Noria Corporation.

Lubrication: Not Too Much and Not Too Little


Did you know that the two most common failures for bearings are over lubrication and under lubrication.

If a bearing is over lubricated, the bearing can be pushed excessively by the lubricant causing additional wear of the bearing. If the bearing is under lubricated it will rub on the solid surface causing friction and wear on the bearings. The cost for a bearing replacement can be just the tip of the iceberg. The unscheduled downtime is where you can really rack up huge monetary losses.

The Thick and Think of Viscocity


If you have a gearbox with a manufacturer’s nameplate instructing you to use the American Gear Manufacturer’s Association (AGMA) #4 viscosity oil at a given operating temperature, or if it specified a 750 SSU viscosity oil, would you know exactly what viscosity oil you need? If your grease application specified a base oil viscosity of 220 cSt for a given operating temperature would you know which of your greases might fit that specification, if any?

Does it really matter? Oil is oil, grease is grease, and more is better, right?


The importance of proper oil viscosity in your large array of equipment and the varying lubrication regimes they present is one of the most important maintenance practices one can focus on in their facilities. Viscosity is the most important physical property of a lubricant, and viscosity is the most important specification for a lubricant. Along with this, viscosity is the easiest thing to mess up!

A simple definition of viscosity is the thickness of an oil. While this is the most common understanding of viscosity, a more technical definition of viscosity is a measurement of the oil’s internal resistance or its resistance to flow by gravity. Viscosity is what carries the load, separating surfaces in relative motion from touching, thus reducing friction and wear, extending equipment life.

Viscosity should always be measured at a given temperature. Normally viscosity is inversely proportional to temperature, meaning as the temperature of an oil increases, its viscosity generally will decrease.

Stating an oil’s viscosity is found in many different formats depending on the application. The International Standards Organization (ISO) is the universally accepted method for stating oil viscosity (ISO VG) through-out industry (ISO 3448). This ranges from an ISO VG 2 to an ISO VG 3200. ISO VG is stated at 40°C.

AGMA specify grades an oil’s viscosity for industrial gear applications, also at 40ºC. The AGMA uses a #1 through #8A designation.

SUS – or – SSU is not in use much anymore, but you may still find it referenced on an older gearbox nameplate or an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) manual. This stands for Saybolt Universal Seconds – or – Saybolt Seconds Universal, you’ll see it stated either way.

Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Crankcase and SAE Gear classifications are different yet. 0W, 5W, 10W, etc., and straight weights 30, 40, and 50 are designations for crankcase oils, while 70W to 85W and 80 to 250 are designations for automotive gear oils.

If all of this is making sense, I commend you. You are likely on top of your game and know exactly which oils and viscosities belongs in each application throughout your facility. But if this sounds like a foreign language that you do not understand, it’s okay, as long as you now realize that your equipment may be in jeopardy of shorter life cycles and there is potential for cost saving improvements that will greatly enhance your equipment’s reliability.

This article was originally posted at pioneer-engineering.com and Reliabilityweb.com.