Seven Steps to Managing an Effective Fluid Analysis Program

Managing your fluid analysis program is simple. At least it should be. If you struggle to ensure your fluid analysis program meets your maintenance goals, check out these seven steps. I guarantee, it will make a world of a difference.

Set attainable program goals
Take a moment to set your goals. Then, review your current maintenance practices and strategies to determine if they will help you accomplish your goals.

 Identify the resources you need to sufficiently run the program
Resources play an important role in program success. Another factor is the size of your program. This will impact the personnel and resources needed to reach your goals.

Build the appropriate equipment lists
Equipment list information should be sent to your laboratory before samples are submitted for processing.

Determine sampling intervals
Although an equipment manufacturer’s recommendations provide a good starting point for developing preventive maintenance practices, sampling intervals should be based on various factors.

Take an active role in minimizing sample turnaround time
Don’t compromise the value of your fluid analysis results and the laboratory’s maintenance recommendations with unnecessary delays in turnaround time.

Report key results to management
When reviewing your most critical information, consider what management needs to know most – and share the results with them. The size of your operation and your goals and resources will dictate the best and most efficient metrics to share with management.

Select a laboratory that will help you every step of the way
To realize the true value that an effective fluid analysis program can have on your overall business performance, you need to select the right partner.

To learn more, read this article about what makes a successful fluid analysis program or contact us a

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Published February 7, 2017

Building a Championship Organization

At the root of every successful fluid analysis program is a program champion committed to success. From creating a project plan to assembling a sampling team, there are a number of actions maintenance professionals can take to maximize the value sampling provides.

A global leader in providing temperature control, temporary power generation and compressed air systems already had a robust maintenance program, but they decided to explore fluid analysis as a way to reduce downtime and costs.

With the leadership of their program champion, they developed into a reliability program saving between $750,000 to $2 million each year using fluid analysis. By documenting their process and program success, the team proved their value to their leadership team ten times over.

Read the Full Case Study


Measuring Success


The success of a fluid analysis program is usually measured by the amount of money or number of assets saved. However, program success can also be measured through an organization’s compliance.

A global lubricant manufacturer partnered with POLARIS Laboratories® to provide oil analysis to their customers with the goal of ensuring product quality. Determined to prove their commitment to their customer’s success, the manufacturer hired business consultants to help showcase the value of their product and extend drain intervals using oil analysis. Providing this free service helped the company build long-term relationships with their customers based on mutual trust.

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Preparing for Winter Weather

Did you know your coolant and diesel fuel can both be negatively impacted by nasty winter weather? Monitoring your fluids before this unpredictable season can help you avoid damage to your equipment as well as unexpected downtime.

There’s nothing worse than having an asset break down in the cold, snowy slush of winter. To keep any unwanted damage from occurring, you need to make sure you are performing the right tests on your coolant and diesel fuel.

When you start monitoring your diesel fuel, cloud point, pour point, and cold filter plug point testing can help you determine if your fuel is able to perform at low temperatures. It’s important to conduct these tests as, in cold weather, the paraffins in your diesel fuel will form filter clogging wax crystals– causing a major engine issue.

Coolant can also run into trouble in the winter. When glycol levels are low, the freeze protection may not be adequate for the winter cold. This is a major problem that results in extremely expensive repairs plus downtime to fix the issue. Testing your glycol percent and refraining from mixing your coolant can help you avoid any unplanned maintenance.

To learn more about how winter can impact your equipment health, download this winter health sheet. If you have any questions feel free to contact us at


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

Realizing Your Return on Investment, One Step at a Time


Whether your goal is to save money on equipment repairs or eliminate any excessive downtime, fluid analysis is an incredible diagnostic tool for enhancing maintenance programs. Used correctly, it can result in increased productivity, reduced maintenance costs and a serious boost in profits.

With the right combination of expert input and high level software, maximizing the Return On Investment (ROI) of your fluid analysis program is simple. If you’re ready to take action to discover your ROI, follow these ten simple steps.

  1. Set goals you can reach. If you’re not sure what your goals should be, our team at POLARIS Laboratories® can help you set manageable targets for your business.
  2. Designate a program champion. In addition to an experienced, well-trained team of maintenance professionals, a program champion can serve in a leadership role. Under their guidance, your program is sure to stay on track.
  3. Decide what to test. Make sure your test package reflects your maintenance needs. Whether you’re looking to extend drains or reduce downtime, your tests should reflect those predetermined goals.
  4. Establish a sampling frequency. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to sampling frequencies. When deciding your sampling frequency, be sure to take into account the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer, the equipment’s environment as well as well as the timing of the sample.
  5. Have a complete view of your equipment. The more you know about your equipment, the more information you can supply. This information is critical as data analysts work to provide in-depth comments and recommendations.
  6. Take action to minimize your sample turnaround time. Pre-logging your sample information online, providing clear instructions and tightly closing all sample lids are all good ways to help ensure a fast turnaround time.
  7. Once you receive your reports, take action! Receiving the reports is not enough, you must review the data analyst’s recommendations and take action to address critical reports. This could mean anything from ordering more testing, re-sampling, monitoring a unit or taking immediate action.
  8. Organize your data. Use a data management system to run reports and identify trends within your data.
  9. Continue monitoring your fluid analysis system. Make sure you’re taking appropriate action and providing feedback to the laboratory on actions taken.
  10. Choose the right laboratory. Choose an accredited laboratory that fits your program needs.

Keeping clear, detailed accounts of your management reports and your actions taken will not only help you realize the ROI of fluid analysis but also help you show others the value of your program.

For more information on maximizing the ROI from your fluid analysis program, download this technical bulletin.


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

Responding to Severity Reports


No equipment is safe from the wear and tear that comes from operating in the harsh conditions of a mining site. The challenging environment, along with the extreme load variations and the high costs involved in equipment replacement, makes avoiding catastrophic failure exceedingly important.

Many mining companies turn towards fluid analysis as a means of avoiding the high replacement costs associated with these extreme conditions. In fact, routine testing helps maintenance professionals identify problems in their equipment before full scale failures occur. Utilizing fluid analysis allows managers to take control of their reliability programs.

Read the Full Case Study


Tracking Sources of Contamination


It’s no secret contamination has a negative impact on machinery. The trouble is, potential sources of contamination can be found in a number of common locations. The key is knowing how to track down the source and drive action to limit the impact it has on equipment.

A leading manufacturer of engines, filtration, and power generation products, established diesel fuel quality, oil drains, engine oil, hydraulic and transmission, engine failure and cooling systems were hot button topics for their company as well as their customers. After identifying these pain points, they determined contamination was an issue they wanted to actively help their customers address and alleviate.

Read the Full Case Study


Optimizing Program Management

The backbone of every oil analysis program is the efficiency of the program’s management system. Managing equipment in an organized manner is a vital step towards saving time, reducing errors and accurately tracking the return on investment (ROI).

A leading company in the oil and fuel industry uses POLARIS Laboratories® program management software, HORIZON®, as the centerpiece of their maintenance management system. Focused on improving their program organization, they found that using this system helped increase their overall productivity

Read the Full Case Study


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.

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.