Oil contamination during manufacturing, installation, and commissioning can cause delays in delivery, performance reduction, and unit damage. The best practices we have developed over the years have reduced the time we take to supply a cleaner, a more robust system. Applying such practices is vital to obtaining expected performance and equipment life. Among those practices oil analysis is an important part.
Clean, dry oil and lubrication systems can extend equipment maintenance intervals by as much as 8-10-fold while prolonging normal operating life and contribute to avoid wear on parts and to avoid high contamination of the equipment. For example, a bearing manufacturer reports that reducing water levels from 100 ppm to 25 ppm increases bearing life twofold. British research in hydraulics indicates that if the concentration of solid contaminants larger than 5 µm are reduced from 5000-10,000 particles/ml of oil to 160-320 particles, machine life is increased fivefold.
A Periodic Analysis of Hydraulic and Lubricating Oil can be a Beneficial
Ocean Team’s Contamination Monitoring Program provides an extensive analysis of hydraulic and lubricating oil systems. It is thus possible to check the capacity of the system by excluding important factors of contamination, which might cause decomposition or system faults.
Having a clean oil analysis sampling method is of critical importance for the accuracy of the laboratory results. If a sample is contaminated because it is taken from the wrong point or in the wrong way, or if the sampling equipment or method introduces contamination, inaccurate contamination levels will be reported. Reliable samples are those that are taken cleanly from the circulating oil flow according to ISO 4021 and ISO 3722. Ocean Team’s engineers are highly trained and qualified in this field and can help you secure reliable and representative oil analysis samples.
The cleanliness/purity of a lubricant is determined by the count of solid particles in a 100 ml sample of the fluid. The cleanliness class code is defined by the number of particles of different sizes pr. ml of sample fluid. The ISO 4406 (1999) standard describes the electronic laser particles count and also the coding of the cleanliness class for lubricants. In ISO 4406 (1999), three contamination groups are used to describe solids contamination: 4 µm and larger, 6 µm and larger and 14 µm and larger.
Knowledge of the type of contamination can be a great help in finding the cause of system wear. If particles of specific metals are present, it is often possible to find the decomposing components and perhaps the original source of the contamination. According to ISO 4407, part of the oil sample should be filtered through an analysis membrane and analyzed by using an optical microscope to determine the type of contamination (on the spot check). All contaminating particles classified and measured between 5 and 15 µm are evaluated and categorized, according to its material, as bright metal, black metal, brass, silicon, elastomer or plastic, fibre, etc. The number and size of the particles are evaluated visually and compared to photos, master slides or other comparison guides for various purity classes, identified according to ISO 4407 class or directly convertible from Nas 1638 class. Ocean Team’s engineers are highly trained and qualified in particle identification, and can provide a full diagnosis, including advice and suggested action plan for achieving improvements.
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