Industrial maintenance technicians often find it difficult to identify the most common ways contaminants can enter fluid systems. For a contamination control strategy, two methods can be considered: removal and exclusion. Since one method is not sufficient on its own, you need to consider both to achieve optimum results.

So far as the contaminant exclusion strategy is concerned, you must understand the potential sources of contaminants and their ingression points in the system. Ingression points such as seal, port, breather, hatch, and other inlets are some of the common sources of external contaminants.

If you think that the external sources are the only way contaminants can enter a system, think again, contaminants can also be generated internally. Human interaction with equipment is also a source of contamination. Let’s take a look at some of the major sources of contamination in a system:

Internally Generated

A lubricant’s constituents can turn into abrasive contaminants due to many reasons. For example, if you use lubricants over an extended time period, contaminants can be generated internally. When generated internally, contaminants lead to oxidation insoluble, additive fallout, sludge, etc. When rust is generated internally, it causes iron to deteriorate and form red-iron oxides. Filters, seals, hoses, and other materials also let the contaminants invade the system. To control the abrasive or fatigue wear, you need to control internally generated contaminants.

Externally Ingested

Clean oil is essential for any machine operating in an industrial environment. Businesses usually understand the significance of clean oil and how externally ingested contaminants can affect the performance and service life of the equipment.

Contaminants can enter your systems due to a range of factors: worn seal material, poor seal design, environmental or operational conditions, etc. Breathable headspace points also allow soil, moisture, road dust, and other contaminants to enter the system. Despite a machine being properly equipped with a breather, gaps in the ports and hatches let the air to be breathed in.

Human Interactions

One of the common mistakes lubrication technicians make is the use of new oils without ensuring cleanliness. New oils do contain contaminants that can seriously affect a system in the long run. The fluid reservoir in a system may be exposed to contaminants when internal work is performed. For example, when industrial mechanics replace bearings and seals, contaminants can enter the system. Human interactions with the equipment can leave behind welding spatter, machining swarf, and adhesive materials.

Whether it’s an off-road loader in a mine or a hydraulic press in a manufacturing plant, downtimes are costly. Oil contamination is a leading factor why factories and plants experience premature equipment failure and downtime. Poor oil handling and storage practices also increase the likelihood of contamination. To avoid equipment downtime and expensive repairs, make sure to develop a sound preventive maintenance strategy that covers all the critical lubrication matters from contamination control to lubrication storage and dispensing.

Micro Lube Can Help

Micro Lube offers a comprehensive range of lubricants, oil filtration systems, handling and dispensing solutions to help businesses achieve lubrication excellence. From Kaydon Filtration Systems and Whitmore to Harvard and Y2K, we represent brands that are known for their premium quality products. Visit our site for more details!