Why analyze oil?
Almost any business, regardless of size or number of pieces of equipment, can justify a good oil analysis program.
Prevention of an unexpected outage of an important piece of equipment can avoid or reduce a production loss as well as reduce maintenance and repair costs. Early indication of machine component deterioration can allow for scheduling of maintenance on a timely basis that will allow prevention of a costly failure. Prevention of an unexpected machine outage or failure also reduces the possibility of unusual hazards to personnel who operate and maintain the equipment.
Oil analysis is an indicator of the condition of the lubricant and can allow the optimization of drain and service intervals.
- The oil may be capable of longer service and thus save the labor costs of an oil change as well as the cost of the oil.
- If the oil condition deteriorates mere rapidly than expected, changing of the oil and/or filters can prevent machinery problems from corrosion, erosion, abrasion, or loss of lubrication.
By determining the Total Base Number (TBN), the engine operator can determine from oil condition exactly when the oil should be changed. If the oil does not have to be changed as frequently, large savings are realized in reduced oil and labor costs. If the oil is deteriorating more rapidly than anticipated by the engine supplier in making his number of hours recommendation, savings are realized in less engine wear from corrosion and erosion.
In addition to more accurately determining the need for oil change, other mechanical problems can be identified and nipped in the bud. For example, very small coolant leaks can be identified by the trace of metallic elements that are left when the coolant fluid evaporates. These elements show up long before a leak is severe enough to provide traces of liquids in the oil system.
While no oil analysis program can eliminate 100 percent of the lubrication related machinery problems that may occur, it can contribute to the overall profitability of almost any operation by being a significant predictive maintenance tool.