Anticipate and manage downtime with lubricating oil analysis

Regular oil changes prolong machine life and minimize breakdowns, but how frequent should they be? Scheduling changes based on time or usage ignores machine conditions, likely leading to excess downtime and higher-than-necessary costs. Routine lubrication analysis solves that problem by letting manufacturers predict when fluid will need replacing, and at the same time providing information about overall machine health. This is why ATS offers oil analysis as a component of our comprehensive factory maintenance plan. Below, learn about lube oil analysis methodology and benefits. 

How is lubrication analysis done?

Lubricating oil analysis is carried out through these methods:

Visual inspection — A visual inspection can alert the inspector to the presence of water or other material in the oil, and can also indicate the presence of any debris that is larger than normal.

Fluid property inspection — Carried out as a chemical test, this inspection indicates whether the right lubrication is in use, and whether the correct additives are present. It also can indicate degradation of the oil or additives.

Wear analysis — This inspection is the most revealing as to the condition of equipment. Wear analysis focuses on the debris present in lube oil, and can indicate whether equipment is damaged or is close to failure.

Be informed about equipment condition

Lubricating oil and hydraulic fluids carry away wear particles from moving components, but gradually break down under heat and pressure. Over time they become less able to transmit loads and keep surfaces apart. Lubricating oil analysis involves taking a small sample while the machine is running, performing data-driven techniques and then continuously monitoring trends for insight into the condition of both fluid and machine.

Avoid unnecessary oil changes

Taking machines out of service is costly so there’s often pressure to extend oil change intervals. That’s never good, but the alternative could mean changing oil more often than is needed. Lubricating oil analysis monitors fluid deterioration, allowing replacement only when necessary. That improves uptime and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) while cutting spend.

Manage component replacement

Failure of parts, like bearings and gears, is almost always preceded by accelerating wear. Periodic lubrication analysis identifies this trend and narrows the list of possible sources, sometimes pinpointing the exact part approaching end-of-life. Rather than reacting to a breakdown, there’s time to order replacements and schedule the work for a time that suits production.

Extend machine life

When lubricating oil is in good condition it protects moving parts and minimizes wear. As it deteriorates that protection diminishes and wear accelerates. When oil changes are too infrequent equipment life is reduced. Conversely, equipment that’s looked after lasts longer, and has a higher resale value also.

Lower costs, higher OEE with ATS

One of ATS’ four predictive maintenance services, oil analysis lowers maintenance costs, helps reduce breakdowns and improve OEE. It is an important tool for identifying wear trends. That knowledge helps prevent breakdowns by allowing component replacement to be scheduled for a time that suits production.