It’s a fact that clean oil results in considerable cost savings and extended equipment life. Your maintenance department can use oil analysis as a method to uncover the health of machines and lubricants. In order to reveal the whole truth about your systems’ conditions, you need to verify oil filtration efficiency.

An oil sample is like DNA which contains a vast amount of information about your machines and oils. You need tools and expertise to comprehend this information. Maintenance personnel can reduce maintenance, operation, and ultimately downtime costs by using appropriate lubrication tools and oil filters. For instance, if you install an online particle counter to remotely monitor particles in hydraulic oil, it could mislead you into believing that everything is fine in your systems.

It’s important to consider that the particle counter can’t effectively detect particles greater than 200 microns or submicron. Moreover, you can’t detect installation faults and depleted additives with the help of the particle counter. Distinguishing the oil smell or color, acidity, oxidation, and varnish is also a challenge. This is where you still need to utilize conventional oil analysis and on-site tests to get the complete picture.

The traditional way of verifying oil efficiencies

When you take an oil sample, it can help you extract a lot of information about oil and system properties before you send it to the laboratory for further examination. Here are some traditional on-site techniques to better understand filter efficiencies of your oil systems:

Visual inspection

The color of an oil sample can be visually examined to start the evaluation process. Oxidation changes the oil color and turns it from amber to dark brown indicating the level of soot from entrained air causing micro-dieseling or combustion byproducts. Large wear particles or shiny sediment is another sign that something is wrong.

Crackle test is another visual inspection process where you drop oil on a hot plate to know the water level above 1,000 parts per million. You can mix the oil with water to check the oil’s demulsibility. Most of the environmentally acceptable oils can keep water in suspension.

Let the oil cool down

Take the oil sample and put it in the refrigerator overnight. Hot oil dissolves water and varnish easily. When cold, the same oil will be less clear and hazy. It will be easy to see the difference with a white paper with black lines and strong light. Water and varnish fall out of solution in cold equipment parts and lead to corrosion and jerky valve movement.

Shake the sample

When it comes to understanding air-release and foam properties, you can shake the sample to see how fast bubbles release and rise through the oil. Watch out for surface foam as dirty oils will hold entrained air longer and may create foam. Clean oil releases air faster and reduces the foaming tendency. You can send the oil sample to the lab to test the air-release properties.

Visual inspection and several other traditional techniques can tell a lot about your equipment, oil filter performance, and health of lubricants. However, you need expert maintenance technicians to interpret the information. Keeping your oil clean and properly stored is the ideal way to reduce your maintenance costs, component wear and downtime.

About Micro Lube

Micro Lube helps industries keep their critical equipment up and running through proper maintenance and lubrication solutions. From on-site inspection to a complete range of oil filters, we have what it takes to extend the performance and service life of your machines. Visit our site to learn more about our products and services!