The purpose of oil sampling is to use oil as a technique to uncover the performance of a machine. It can help maintenance teams achieve the highest level of equipment reliability in a cost-efficient manner. The initial samples help identify the machines with critical levels and establish a benchmark.

Routine sampling is carried out to identify any abnormal wear that requires immediate attention. The outcome of your oil sampling efforts depends on how you take and handle samples. The quality of the laboratory performing the analysis also plays a key role in obtaining high-quality results.

Where and how to take a sample is what your staff needs to know in order to effectively use oil sampling as a technique to monitor the overall health of your equipment.

Taking an oil sample

The ideal place to sample in order to determine the condition of machine components is downstream from the machine before any filtration. It will show the undiluted result of any tear in the machine. It is recommended to sample from the most contaminated part of the oil system; for example, the bottom drain of the system tank. It’s important to ensure that the oil system is under stable operating condition. The following are steps for oil sampling:

  • Put the oil container under the sampling valve
  • Depress the button on the sample valve
  • Flush the oil line by allowing several ounces to drain before you take the sample
  • Open the empty sample bottle and place it under the sample valve discharge opening
  • Fill the sample bottle 3/4 full and release the sample valve
  • Place the cap on the bottle immediately after taking the sample
  • Prepare to ship and have the sample analyzed

You must clearly mark all samples with numbers, place of sampling, date and oil type. You should collect the samples when the machine is operating at normal temperature. Besides the valve sampling method, there are other techniques such as pump method and drain line method. The drain line method is not considered as a preferred sampling method. Make sure to drain a considerable amount of oil before taking a sample. Water and particles that settle to the bottom of a reservoir or tank can affect the results.

In order to keep oil clean and dry, your filtration systems and seals should work properly. You should also check oils regularly. Dirt and sand can lead to the generation of abrasive and adhesive wear. Therefore, it’s critical to keep the lubricating oil dry and clean at all times.

For this, you need to analyze oil conditions to ensure it is used within its performance specification. A well-thought-out oil analysis program will help you monitor oil contamination, machine wear condition, and oil degradation. Take preventive maintenance as a strategy to resolve potential problems.

Related: How To Effectively Remove Water And Particulate Contamination From Oil

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