Even when using top quality lubrication products and following correct storage and usage programmes, a lubrication solution can fall flat without consistent, accurate monitoring of the condition of your oil. Oil analysis is critical to understand how well your lubrication programme is working, and to tweak it as and when required.
Callum Ford, National Marketing Manager at Lubrication Engineers (LE) SA, says that oil analysis is important, regardless of whether the oil is in an engine, gearbox, circulating system or mainline power generation turbine. “What people tend to underestimate is the role that implementing an oil analysis programme play in improving their bottom line,” he says. “An effective oil analysis programme can help you to ensure you purchase the correct quantities of lubricant and use less of it, as well as keeping fewer items in inventory. Furthermore, it optimises your lubrication cycle, from procurement to disposal. It means you use less labour and you experience less downtime.”
Ford says oil analysis allows people to understand and manage the mechanical, operational and environmental factors affecting their equipment and oil lifespan. “For example, we’ve found that one of the biggest problems our customers face is oil contamination, which compromises product effectiveness and increases the rate at which oil degrades, and can ultimately damage equipment,” he says. “Regular oil analysis can detect increased levels of contamination before it becomes a problem.”
He suggests considering regular and independent monitoring. “Because we value our customers’ business and their trust, LE South Africa uses third-party testing companies to oversee oil analysis,” he says. “This means you are assured of an independent, objective and unbiased report on your oil. Results cannot be manipulated – we don’t want people to think we’re just trying to sell them product. We want to help them create the best asset reliability solution possible. Of course, we can help customers to interpret technical results so that they can turn them into useful business insights.”
LE recommends oil analysis for engines (basic analysis for off-road, non-extended drain interval applications, and advanced monitoring for extended drain interval applications in reciprocating engines, such as those found in trucking fleets, construction equipment and forklifts). It also suggests monitoring for industrial oils and for turbine oils, and can recommend an analysis programme to suit specific applications and machinery.