By EREBIRI ZURENUOC
LUBRICATING oil is as important for an engine or gearbox as blood for a human, according to Oil Laboratories PNG, an independent and privately owned used oil analysis facility recently launched in Lae in April.
Just like getting information about human health from blood tests, the same applies for any system using lubricating oil.
Used oil analysis is one of the most important and maybe the simplest approaches to diagnosing the health of a machine.
Used oil analysis provides plant maintanence personnel with three indicators of oil and machine condition;
- The condition of the oil,
- The contamination levels of the oil, and
- The condition of the equipment.
It is standard practice to change oil at the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommended period regardless of the oil blend and quality.
The OEM recommends an oil change that will be 100 per cent safe to ensure they have no warranty claims. However, nowadays most quality engine oils will provide at least double the recommended operating life, 250 hours to 500 hours.
A large number of major companies have implemented an oil life extension program but with the support of a used oil analysis program.
Implementing a used oil analysis program saves direct costs of oil and labor plus it will allow machines to be working in the field not parked in workshops.
The main causes of equipment breakdowns in gearboxes, hydraulic system and transmissions are;
- Abnormal water;
- Oil degradation; and,
- Oil properties.
Some of the costs that can be controlled when decisions are made with the benefit and guidance of oil analysis include; repair costs, downtime costs, lubricant costs, energy consumption costs, quality costs, increased production and risk based costs.
The instrument used in oil sample analysis at Oil Laboratories PNG, owned by Dunlop PNG, have been selected to provide accurate, highly reproducible results with a fast turnaround.
The equipment used is the latest available and selected for reliability and ability to seamlessly integrate into the Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).
All oil samples submitted for analysis will be tested using a Spectroil Q100, Omnitex S-flow duel bath viscometer, FerroCheck 2100 ferrous analyser, SBSS WG Particle Counting System and a Eralytics Eraspec Oil Condition Monitoring System.
The samples will be tracked using the bar code on the ID label. As a sample is analysed the results are transferred directly from each instrument to the LIMS, the bar code ensures the results are correctly consolidated.
When the analysis is completed the laboratory lubes engineer reviews the results, carrying out a diagnosis on the oil and machine condition. The observations are added to the report completing the oil analysis.
The report is then emailed to the person submitting the sample. The process takes 12 to 48 hours from the sample arriving at the laboratory.