The Ins and Outs of Oil Analysis, Sampling And Cleanliness

Oil is prone to contamination by dust and dirt, even when it’s not being used. To protect your equipment, you need to make sure that the oil your company uses is clean and free of debris.

Oil cleanliness is typically measured in ISO particulate grades. These levels quantify the amount of particulate contamination levels per milliliter of fluid. In order for your oil to achieve the highest cleanliness grade, it needs to go through a number of filters to remove the buildup of various particles.

Let’s go through some of the basics of oil cleanliness:

Particle contamination. In general, most particulates that contaminate oil are solid. Even tiny particles like sand and dust can get wedged in your lubricant systems and cause major problems for your equipment.

Water is also a common culprit when it comes to oil contamination. Because water has a lower viscosity, it actually reduces the lubricity of the oil. In addition, water acts as a facilitator for oil degradation. Its presence speeds up the oxidizing process of the oil, resulting in sludge and resins.

Oil analysis. The first step in achieving the highest ISO cleanliness grade is performing an oil analysis. Periodic sampling of your oil and lubricants by a knowledgeable professional allows you to check for wear and tear, contamination and the presence of metals that may indicate whether engines, bearings or gearboxes require maintenance.

Regular oil sampling and analysis also allow you to check for things like oxidation stability and demulsibility (resistance to emulsification or breakdown) in order to ensure your oil has a good film thickness and the product is performing as expected for the application. Oil analysis and sampling also help you determine whether the manufacturer-recommended drain intervals could be safely extended, thereby saving your business time and money.

Here’s another tip: when sampling your oil, the best place to sample is the bottom drain of the oil system. By sampling here, you ensure that you are checking the part of the oil system most likely to be contaminated.

Implement a filtration solution. To ensure oil cleanliness, your oil must pass through a number of filters. Good oil filtration catches natural contaminants as well as those that result from lubricant transfers.

Before purchasing a filtration system, be sure to analyze the expected return on investment by factoring in both purchase and operational costs. Purchase costs include the purchase price and installation costs, while operational costs incorporate upkeep, repair and replacement expenses.

Benefits. Clean oil is, hands down, better for the performance and lifespan of your equipment. Here are a few of the many benefits your business will enjoy by paying closer attention to oil cleanliness.

  • Maximize the reliability and safety of your equipment
  • Minimize repair and replacement costs
  • Minimize production down-time
  • Decrease the lifetime operating expense on your equipment
  • Realize a greater return on investment
  • For more information about how Richard Oil and Fuel helps ensure your company’s oil cleanliness, click on the button below or call 855.919.8444 to talk with one of our Petroleum Pros.

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