Sea Technology

AUG 2017

The industry's recognized authority for design, engineering and application of equipment and services in the global ocean community

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Page 41 of 76 August 2017 / st 41 M any factors come into play when evaluating lubricant options for your fleet. These factors include: quality, in- tended application or use, performance, oil life and price. But there's another very important factor that's often over- looked—how to evaluate lubricant effectiveness once it's in use. This article will take a deep dive into the importance of an oil analysis program and highlight best practices you can apply as you establish your program. Benefits of an Oil Analysis Program Choosing a quality lubricant that meets your needs and is well suited for application is essential. When enrolling in an oil analysis program, you can expect: a detailed breakdown of the lubricant's performance; more value out of your oil in- vestment; maximum performance out of your lubricant and your parts; a proactive program instead of a reactive emer- gency; fewer repairs and equipment downtime; and poten- tial cost savings. Oil analysis offers a snapshot into how your machinery is operating at any given time. It also allows you to compare samples from previous tests so you can make necessary adjustments to keep your equipment operating at peak performance and to plan for maintenance in advance. By knowing the condition of the oil in your system and how it is performing, you can adjust changeover intervals as neces- sary. Oil that is in good condition and working properly can be kept in the system longer, reducing replacement costs. What Is Oil Analysis? Oil analysis is the laboratory analysis of: a lubricant's properties, suspended contaminants and wear debris. This analysis is performed by capturing oil samples during routine predictive maintenance to provide meaningful and accurate information on lubricant and machine condition. By tracking oil analysis sample results over the life of a particular ma- chine, trends can be established that help extend equipment life and eliminate costly repairs. Who Performs Oil Analysis? There is a wide range of oil analysis practices ranging from standardized and routine sampling to ad hoc sampling, or performing no analysis whatsoever. Data are best analyzed by lubrication engineers and tribologists, who specialize in studying the lubrication and the effect of wear of machinery. Best Practices for Developing a Program Not all oil analysis programs are created equal. Approach your oil analysis the same way you would a business partner- ship. Here's how. Regular and Consistent Proactive Oil Analysis. You have bigger things to worry about than the cleanliness of your lu- bricant, and with all the Environmental Protection Agency mandates and regulations, your plate is full. As you evaluate your oil analysis partner, chose one that's going to lead. They should develop a clear plan of how often (monthly or quar- terly) and at what intervals your lubricant should be sampled, as well as sampling instructions and where to send your sample. They should remind you of testing needs and dead- lines for sample collections. Once a sample is analyzed, they should communicate the results and offer any recommenda- tions to ensure lubricant optimization. Use Independent Laboratories for Oil Testing and Analy- sis. Some oil manufacturers use third-party (or independent) labs to perform their analysis, while other manufacturers of- fer in-house analysis services. Seek out a manufacturer that uses an independent lab. A lab that doesn't have a vested interest in the results means you would have better authen- ticity with this third party. Secondly, you get results at the same time as the manufacturer, which means quicker access to your results. Request an In-Depth Analysis. Get a manufacturer that serves as a consultant, as opposed to a vendor. The report is very important, but the interpretation from an oil expert plus a corrective action plan is really what you seek. Use an industry expert that's actively engaged in analyzing and com- municating the results in a way that you understand. Ask to see a sample analysis and make sure it tests for viscosity, acid number, water, elemental content and particle count. Look for comprehensive reports that offer a deeper level of analy- sis in the above categories. Lastly, expect reports that provide an overview of the results—including any recommendations The Importance of an Effective Oil Analysis Program Best Practices for Evaluating Marine Lubricants By Dr. Bernard C. Roell, Jr.

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