Advancing Fluid Analysis with Data

Recently, POLARIS Laboratories® changed how we apply flagging limits to our particle quantifier (PQ) test results. Changes to flagging limits happen fairly regularly as we get new information and reach new data accumulation milestones. The change to the PQ is noteworthy for several reasons, but first let me explain a little more about the test.

PQ is a relatively new test in the oil analysis industry, so there isn’t a lot of historical data to examine. Also, unlike most other oil analysis tests, the results are an “index” with no unit of measurement (like microns or millimeters). Flagging limits are set on the index, and our data analysts compare the test results to the flagging limits to determine severity level and maintenance recommendations.

Until now, the flagging limits were limited to the type of component, like engine or differential. The size, configuration or application was not considered because there wasn’t enough historical data to affect the maintenance recommendations.

After offering PQ testing for several years, we have accumulated enough data to go beyond component type and make maintenance recommendations based on component manufacturer and model, like we do with the majority of our other tests. As you can imagine, contamination does not affect equipment made by different OEMs the same way, so being able to flag PQ by manufacturer and model is expected to improve the accuracy of our maintenance recommendations.

We’re proud of our flagging limits because of the time and effort that goes into this kind of data-driven analysis helps our customers identify wear early, safely extend fluid drains and save money. If you have any questions about PQ or our new flagging limits, please don’t hesitate to call (317.808.3750) or email.

Proven Impact. Proven Uptime. Proven Savings.
Let us prove it to you. 

Published April 23, 2015

Testing Confirms When To Extend Recommended Drain Intervals

As engine oil manufacturers continue to develop new products designed to be stronger and last longer, some also are recommending drain intervals. Original equipment manufacturers also specify drain intervals and qualify oils for use in the equipment they sell. In both instances, it is important to recognize these recommendations may not be all inclusive of every operating condition or every application in which the oil might be used. For more information and clarification, please contact one of our data analysts.

How do you know an oil manufacturer’s recommended intervals will protect your equipment? Will the oil last as long as they say it will in your operating conditions? Could it last longer?
Yes, no or maybe! Only testing in-service fluids can answer that question. Combining the manufacturer’s specifications with laboratory results and recommendations from certified data analysts is the best way to safely optimize drain intervals, minimize wear and preserve equipment health.

What tests are needed to safely extend drain intervals?
An Advanced Mobil test package is required to safely extend drain intervals. This test package examines the three main fluid properties – base number (BN), oxidation/nitration and viscosity – that assess the oil properties responsible for protecting equipment. Tracking the values of these tests will alert you when a fluid is no longer capable of performing as expected until the next oil sample or drain.

Are there maintenance practices that will help me extend drain intervals?
When extending drains, the most important maintenance activities are to replenish depleted fluid properties, continue changing filters and monitor contamination/wear levels. If possible, replenish depleted additives or sweeten with new oil as needed. Filters are vital to capturing contaminants, so continue changing oil filters if it doesn’t require draining the sump. Finally, make sure to continue oil analysis testing at the old drain interval in order to monitor contamination levels to determine if the extended exposure to contaminants harms the equipment.


Learn more about tracking BN, oxidation/nitration and viscosity to ensure you’re safe.

Learn more about starting an oil analysis program with POLARIS Laboratories®.



Proven Impact. Proven Uptime. Proven Savings.
Let us prove it to you. 

Published April 7, 2015