Oil Analysis Blog-

Oil Analysis Blog

How to Design a Successful Oil Analysis Program: Determine Test Packages


Oil analysis test packages should be carefully considered. Different equipment have different test profile requirements. When determining what test packages to choose, the actual equipment and the surrounding environment should dictate what tests are appropriate.

Keep in mind that with oil analysis your goal is to increase machine reliability through improved fluid condition and early detection that otherwise would not be obvious unless it causes machine failures. Having an idea about what the various tests are, what they can accomplish, and taking into account the maintenance philosophy being practiced, test packages can easily be drawn up to accomplish the desired results.

For example, you may know that some equipment can be run to failure much less expensively than the cost of performing a regular oil analysis. On the other hand, on machines with smaller reservoirs when oil quality is all that would be monitored, it may be best to continue with regular or even increased frequency of oil changes.

If you are not sure what tests are right for your equipment, it is best to consult a quality lab for assistance in this area.
When determining what test packages you need, ask yourself the following questions:

1. What is being monitored, the machine, the lubricant, or both? These three items require a different set of tests. Each type of machine should have a test package tailored to its needs. You should also begin a dialogue with an oil analysis lab to help you determine what test packages will help you reach your goals.
2. How often will samples be taken from each machine? Depending on the criticality and type of testing, frequency of sampling could range from once a week to annually.

How To Design A Successful Oil Analysis Program: Identify Critical Equipment


When you start implementing an oil analysis program, you need to decide what equipment in the plant to sample. This can be a daunting task but it cannot be overlooked. Supervisors and management need to take the time to identify the targeted equipment, write detailed procedures, establish routes, and sampling schedules.

Equipment critical to plant operations should be identified first. This equipment often does not have a backup unit to replace it when it is not in service. In addition, major repairs and overhaul of critical equipment often require a complete plant shutdown, substantial manpower and subsequent loss of production activities. Critical equipment in plants typically have these common characteristics:

  • They require very high capital investment and are expensive to maintain and repair.
  • They are engineered for long service lives when operated within design specifications and in a predictable environment.
  • Many are quite large and are made up of several individual components.
  • Downtime is quite expensive since production is usually halted when unexpected problems or a system failure is experienced.

Appropriate testing for critical equipment includes, but is not limited to:

  • Wear metal analysis
  • Moisture content
  • Viscosity
  • Acid number
  • Analytical ferrography
  • Particle counting

[Quiz] Varnish: The Elusive Enigma


Whether tending to a gas turbine or a large hydraulic system, the mere mention of varnish can cause alarm and an immediate call to action.


eBook: Learn How To Outsmart Varnish and Avoid Costly Downtime. Click on the image to get your eBook today.

A number of explanations for the increasing occurrence of lube oil varnish have been postulated. Tighter filtration requirements, higher lube oil flow rates, higher operating temperatures and the switch to Group II base stocks in oil formulations have been offered as potential culprits in the decimation of lube oil systems. Varnish can often lead to unplanned outages and costly downtime, therefore, understanding and responding to varnish with remedial filtration is critical. Unfortunately, the ability to accurately measure varnish potential has remained elusive in routine testing.

Lubricating oil in gas turbines and hydraulic systems is unfortunately subject to the ravages of varnish. It is well-documented that varnish is an insoluble contaminant comprised of oil degradation by-products and sometimes depleted additive molecules. It is generally caused by some type of thermal (heat-related) stress placed on the oil. The debilitating effects of varnish include the loss of operating clearances within machinery and a loss of heat transfer due to thermal insulating. As more operators face the prospect of varnish in their lube oil systems, they are turning to oil analysis labs for answers.

Let’s see how much you know about varnish. (answers are provided at the end)
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Gear Up For Reliability: Using Oil Analysis & Contamination Control to Improve Gearbox Health


Gearboxes are marvels of design and engineering. To ensure reliable operation, there must be a concentrated focus on ensuring the gearbox’s health. Effective contamination control, combined with a well designed oil analysis program, can dramatically improve reliability, reduce waste, and provide significant return on investment.

Join us on June 17, 2014 as Justin Stover of C.C. Jensen guides you through practical steps you can take to improve gearbox health and maintain it throughout the rated life – and potentially beyond.

Justin Stover earned his degree in 2001 in fluid power technology. He has more than 10 years experience in helping end users and OEM’s in the Wind industry implement, develop and deploy contamination control programs. He is certified by the International Council for Machinery Lubrication as a Level 1 Machinery Lubricant Analyst. For more information on reducing operating costs and increasing uptime in your equipment visit www.ccjensen.com