The term oil analysis refers to the laboratory analysis of lubricant’s properties which provides a detailed view of what’s happening within your machine components during operation. It is a condition monitoring process where approximately 100 milliliters of an oil sample is taken from a machine while it is in use and subject to all kinds of internal elements such as a variety of chemicals. Examining used oils is a great way to understand contamination issues and current health of your equipment. Organizations that operate intensive capital such as mining and industrial equipment take advantage of condition monitoring techniques.

Oil analysis programs have been helping numerous industries diagnose and fix internal lubricant-related issues of oil-wetted components in every industry that involve industrial equipment. A business that operates machines can understand the significance of investment in such testing procedures. Unfortunately, many oil analysis programs fail to deliver the expected results. The following are some of the common reasons why oil analysis programs fail:

Infrequent analysis intervals

Consistency is a key element of any successful maintenance strategy. Performing oil analysis infrequently is one of the factors why oil analysis processes don’t yield success. Most companies come up with short-sighted explanations such as cost. As a maintenance expert or plant owner, you should take into account the cost of an oil analysis program using the right frequencies and do the cost-benefit analysis. You will come to know that shortcuts, inappropriate maintenance activities and absence of oil analysis strategy can lead to premature equipment failure.

If the cost is a concern, you can find ways to reduce the overall expense of an oil analysis program. For example, on-site oil testing is an inexpensive and powerful process. There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to analysis frequencies. However, it’s advisable to perform analysis on a three-monthly basis for less critical equipment, and critical equipment on a monthly basis.

Poor sampling technique

The success of an oil analysis program largely depends on dedicated efforts, proven techniques, and knowledge. Poor oil sampling program is another reason why your oil analysis program isn’t producing the desired results. Extracting the sample is a sensitive activity in the oil analysis procedures. Therefore, it’s important to invest time and efforts to avoid data disturbances such as sample contamination. Document your sampling procedures to ensure consistency and valuable insights for the staff.

Delays in processing samples

It’s critical to take the sample to the laboratory as soon as possible. If you’re looking to limit the degree of obsolescence, dispatch the samples immediately and without waiting for weeks and months. Send the sample to the laboratory even the box of samples isn’t full.

Getting back the results in a timely manner is also critical. It’s recommended to have the results delivered at your doorstep and in your hands within 1-2 days. Specialized testing may take more time. You need to locate the bottleneck and fix it if you can’t dispatch or receive results on time.

Lack of correct tests, poor interpretation of the test, the absence of the right tools, and poor strategies are also common factors that lead to failure. If you’re not sure where to start or how to fix the bottleneck, talk to Micro Lube, a maintenance company in Canada where we provide premium quality oil analysis products and on-site maintenance expertise.