Summer Troubles: Testing Your Coolant

Do you have problems with your equipment’s coolant? While addressing coolant issues may seem as easy as changing your coolant, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.

Even if you change your coolant frequently, issues with your equipment can and will persist without any visible indicators. If your equipment has inconsistent levels of fluid properties, you’re not addressing the root cause of the issue by changing the fluid. Only routine fluid analysis can direct you to the real cause of the problem.

When it comes to improving your equipment health, it’s essential you have all the information. Not convinced? The following consequences may be enough to change your mind.

Antifreeze/Glycol %:
Too high or low of a percent can cause issues, including: boiling coolant or the block may freeze, cavitation and corrosion, loss of heat transfer, pitted liners, and seals may fail.

If your coolant becomes acidic, it could cause corrosion on iron components, electrolysis pitting through liners, corrosive attack on engine block and possible corrosion protection chemicals precipitate out of solution.

Specific Conductance:
When this level is in excess, your coolant may lose the ability to resist carrying an electrical current between the dissimilar metals of an engine’s cooling system.

Total Metals:
Abnormal levels of metals is a sign of metal corrosion, liner pitting, and corrosion or erosion of any metal components.

By using fluid analysis to find the root cause of the problem, you can directly address your equipment issues. Learn more about how diagnosing coolant issues through fluid testing can help you protect your equipment by downloading this technical bulletin.

If you’re interested in adding coolant testing to your fluid analysis program, contact your account manager or speak with our customer service team.


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

How To: Lubricant Dispensing and Transferring


Learning to properly dispense and transfer your lubricants is an essential skill for any maintenance professional. Following the correct process to complete this task is necessary to avoid contamination and keep your lubricants well organized.

Organizing Lubricants
When dispensing or transferring your lubricants, you can avoid cross contamination by labeling all containers. Color coding your containers with labels and tags can help you ensure lubricants are not mixed. Once your lubricants are labeled, you can color code equipment with a lubricant tag.

Choosing the Right Container
When choosing a container, do not use a galvanized container to transfer the lubricants. Using this container can cause zinc to leach into the lubricant or oil. Using clean sealed plastic containers and assigning one container per lubricant type will also help you ensure that no cross contamination occurs. This is where strong lubricant organization comes in handy.

It’s important to remember to filter all lubricants that are put into your equipment. That goes for new oil as well! Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s clean. It should be filtered along with your other fluids. A lubricant filter cart should also be used when applicable.

Rack Mount
Using a rack mount for your dispensing station is an effective tool to use for proper handling.

Rack Mount

Choosing a dispensing container that was made for lubricant analysis is incredibly important. It is essential that the instruments you use to dispense and transfer your fluids are kept at the highest level of cleanliness and quality. To do otherwise is to welcome contamination into your fluids and your equipment.

To learn more about best practices for lubricant handling and storage, check out my recent blog posts on contamination and lubricant storage.


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

Dos and Don’ts of Sample Submission


In a hurry to receive your sample results? The method you use to submit your sample for analysis has a significant impact on the speed in which your samples are received and processed by our team. At POLARIS Laboratories® we are working continuously to simplify the sample submission process, introducing a simple to use label and making sample submission available online via HORIZON®.

While these new methods have helped improve the overall process, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your samples arrive at the laboratory ready for processing!

Following these dos and don’ts will help you improve how you send your samples:


  1. Choose the correct sample bottle for your sample
  2. Make sure the cap on the bottle is tightly secured
  3. Follow these steps to fill out your EZ label
  4. Write clearly
  5. Fill out as much information about your sample as possible
  6. Send samples via UPS or FedEx for quicker turnaround time
  7. Take advantage of your carrier’s package tracking feature
  8. Take advantage of HORIZON


  1. Hurry! Speeding through the sample process could lead to mistakes
  2. Use a bottle not made for sampling
  3. Leave blanks in your sample information
  4. Forget to include the EZ label with your bottle (if you did not submit online)
  5. Send via USPS if you’re on deadline

Spending a few extra minutes correctly packaging and sending your sample will help ensure you receive your results in a timely manner as well as improve the maintenance recommendations you receive from our data analysts.

If you have any questions about your sampling methods or your order, please feel free to reach out to us at


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

Contamination: The troublemaker of oil analysis

Contamination in your fluid can be troublesome. Contaminants are all around us—in the air, water, particulates and, for maintenance personnel, in cleanup and process chemicals. As these elements contaminate your fluid, they can potentially shorten the life of your machinery.

In a study conducted by Oklahoma State University, researchers found that when a fluid is maintained 10 times cleaner, hydraulic pump life can extend by as much as 50 years! So how do we protect our lubricants from these unwanted contaminants?

The first step is understanding the symptoms that arise from different methods of contamination. The following are four common diagnoses as well as symptoms of these contaminants.

  • Symptoms: Spongy operation of hydraulics as air compresses under pressure; excessive wear; premature oxidation (especially in high pressure systems); pump cavitation and vibration; an increasing layer of foam.
  • Diagnosis: Air contamination
  • Symptoms: Premature failure or excessive wear due to reduced lubricating ability; corrosion of bearings or other machine elements; premature filter plugging; premature oxidation of lubricants.
  • Diagnosis: Water contamination
  • Symptoms: Increased wear
  • Diagnosis: Particulate contamination
  • Symptoms: Unexplained contamination
  • Diagnosis: Cleanup and process chemical issues

Performing oil analysis can help you identify exactly what type of contamination your machine is experiencing. From there, you can begin to decipher what could be causing it and how to change your maintenance practices to avoid high levels of contamination in the future.

In a recent blog post, I discussed how to best store your lubricants to avoid contamination. You can find the article here.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can improve your oil analysis program, check out our training page to learn more about our training programs.

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

Register for the Customer Summit Now!

Don’t forget! The POLARIS Laboratories® 2016 Customer Summit early registration closes July 31. This is your opportunity to save $200 off of your event registration fee while signing up for a summit unlike any other you’ve ever attended.

Why register early? So you can join our all-star line-up. Learn how to build a quality oil analysis program from companies such as Cummins Filtration, Chevron, RelaDyne LLC, Aggreko, Valvoline® and even the NCAA. These industry leaders have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that can help you make a champion impact on your maintenance program.

Former NFL quarterback and current NCAA Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Oliver Luck, will deliver the keynote. An in-demand speaker on leadership and success, Luck will share his own personal experience with building program champions. Connecting college athletics with oil analysis, he also will touch on the benefits of compliance and the impact strong leaders can have on long-term organizational success.

Registering for the event is easy!

Visit our summit page to learn more about what the event has to offer and stop by our registration page to save your seat. As you register, you have the option to:

  • Add additional workshops
  • Choose which workshops you would prefer to attend
  • Choose between one of two great tour options

I know, I know. This will be a tough call! If you need any additional information to help you decide, visit our programming page.

Be sure you register soon to take advantage of this deal and secure your spot! I look forward to seeing you in Indianapolis September 19 through 21!

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

Published July 9, 2016

Extending Component and Equipment Life

In the same way early detection is used in human health to spot damage to the body, early detection is an important part of maintaining equipment health. Embracing predictive maintenance technology is an essential part of maintaining healthy equipment, lowering the time spent performing maintenance and reducing costs.

Utilizing the reliability model and concepts associated with this method helps maintenance teams extend their component and equipment lifecycles. A leading pharmaceutical company utilizes the predictive maintenance methodology and the four major predictive technologies to improve the reliability of their maintenance program. Using the method, the team tests compressors, hydraulic systems, bearings, gears and other components

Read the Full Case Study


The HORIZON® Mobile App is Available for Android

Android users, we didn’t forget you! After unveiling the HORIZON® app for Apple in 2015, we have spent the last few months working diligently to develop the same easy-to-use app for Android devices.  After all this hard work, I’m happy to announce the HORIZON app for Android is now available in the Google Play™ store!

The application, an extension of our award-winning fluid analysis software, is designed to make submitting your samples easy and reliable. No matter what device you’re using, a smartphone, tablet or computer, the HORIZON app and web versions are capable of syncing in real time, which means you can always rely on the app to keep you in the loop.

Android App and Phone

Whether you’re using Apple or Android, this app is designed to make your day easier. Using the mobile app allows you to stand right next to your equipment and enter fluid time, mileage and other information directly into HORIZON. This eliminates the need for paper submissions and the inevitable errors that come with it.

In addition, the app helps you manage your alerts, notifying you when your sample is complete and allowing you to adjust the alerts based on fluid
type and severity. The sample submission function also shows you the status of the sample (waiting, received, completed) in the sample submission list.

Don’t worry, if your phone battery is low, you can still access HORIZON on your web browser.

As we continue to identify ways to make your sample submission process easier, stay up-to-date on everything HORIZON through our monthly newsletter.

Download for Android
Download for Apple

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

Android and Google Play are trademarks of Google Inc. 

POLARIS Laboratories® Remembers Its Co-Founder, Chairman

Don Woods was a technology pioneer and leader in the oil analysis industry for more than 35 years

INDIANAPOLIS – An influential figure in shaping the importance and growth of the oil analysis industry died suddenly on July 2. Don Woods co-founded and served as chairman and chief information officer of POLARIS Laboratories® since 1999. Under his constant leadership, the company grew into one of the largest independent global oil analysis laboratories. Woods was 59.

The Pendleton native was a Purdue University graduate, where he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer technology. That education helped Woods become the pioneer of information technology systems development and integration specific to the oil analysis industry. Woods broke into the industry as Information Systems Manager for Lubricon, where he worked for 18 years. In April 1999, he co-founded POLARIS Laboratories®, which he guided for more than 17 years. In addition, Woods was twice nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

“Don was an inspirational leader who was truly valued and cherished not just as a company leader but also as a friend and mentor by each and every employee who ever worked at POLARIS Laboratories®,” said Bryan Debshaw, POLARIS Laboratories® chief executive officer. “He not only helped set the industry standard for developing cutting-edge technology solutions, but also for providing the best service possible to our customers, and that’s what we will continue to do in his memory.”

At the onset of his career in 1980, Woods expertise in designing laboratory information management systems (LIMS) soon produced the industry’s first software-based data evaluation, flagging and reporting system. The LIMS concept also has provided the foundation for an extremely successful “one-laboratory, multiple locations” business model POLARIS Laboratories® has proven to be extremely efficient. He also oversaw the evolution of the company’s technology efforts with the industry’s first full-service mobile app for iPhone in 2015 and a complementary version for Android in 2016.

POLARIS Laboratories® will continue to be led by its two surviving owners, Bryan Debshaw and Jeff White, chief science officer, along with the company’s executive management team combining for more than 150 years of experience.

Woods is survived by his wife Jennifer and his two daughters, Alexandra and Samantha.