Oil analysis, or oil analysis Tribology, is a non-intrusive means of determining whether the oil system is clean and dry, if the oil is fit for use, and if wear is occurring inside the machine.
A machine’s operating life is most often determined by the oil that lubricates its load-bearing surfaces. Good lubrication normally provides long life, even under harsh operating conditions, and poor lubrication results in short life, even under mild operating conditions. Industrial machines are generally supposed to have 40,000 hours (about 5 years) mean time between failure (MTBF). This can only happen if you have “good lubrication”. If you have “poor lubrication” or “no lubrication” you get a far shorter operating life.
There are 5 factors in maintaining good lubrication:
- Clean oil
- Dry oil
- Oil with the right properties
- Contamination Control
- Wear debris monitoring
Particle counting is used to monitor the cleanliness level of the machinery. The cleaner the system, the longer it lasts.
Wear debris analysis is used to identify the root cause of abnormal conditions. This analysis of large particles provides the essential difference between conventional oil analysis and industrial oil analysis.
Viscosity is one of the most important properties of an oil. Without the correct viscosity a machine will not have the correct lubrication, resulting in severe damage. Viscosity is measured at 40°C and 100°C as it can differ significantly depending on the operating temperature.
Spectometric analysis is used to measure wear metals (partical size typically less than 5 microns), contaminants such as silica (dust) and additives levels (adding wrong lubricant, addaiive depletion)