Monitoring Extended Life Coolant with Testing

Using heavy-duty Extended Life Coolant (ELC) within your equipment means the coolant can reach a longer service life, according to coolant manufacturer guidelines. However, issues may arise during extended use. As these issues persist, the coolant’s ability to properly protect internal components can diminish over time.

Monitoring Coolant Properties and Conditions

Coolant manufacturers recommend monitoring engine coolant properties while in the system. Condition monitoring is a key tool and can assist with reaching the indicated lifespan of the coolant and identifying preventable problems like:

  • Contamination
  • Dilution
  • Evaporation
  • Degradation
  • Mechanical issues

Early detection of these problems with regular coolant sampling will provide maintenance personnel with proper recommendations and suggested corrections to address abnormal fluid conditions and can result in fewer failures.

Monitoring ELC with Testing

Monitoring ELC corrosion inhibitors require different test methods compared to test methods used for conventional supplemental corrosion additives (SCAs). Proper laboratory testing and fluid information are important when submitting ELC samples to the laboratory for routine testing. Some ELC formulations that only contain carboxylic acid corrosion inhibitors may utilize a different curve for determination of glycol concentration and ELC fluids require additional testing to monitor carboxylic acid. Understanding the proper testing needed, performing regular fluid analysis and making proper adjustments will assist with reaching the coolant’s extended lifespan.

Learn More About ELC Testing

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Published January 21, 2022

Case Study: Extending Oil Drains with Micropatch Testing

When looking at options available to extend oil drain intervals, a U.K.-based power generation company contacted Delta-Xero® (a fluid systems manufacturer) to assess their new filtration systems as a potential way to remove or reduce contamination levels, optimize oil drain intervals and realize better cost and environmental savings on the company’s operating units.

Download the case study below to see how the power generation customer utilized micropatch testing on their samples to better understand the condition of the oil, and with close monitoring and regular sampling, was able to extend the oil drain interval from a weekly change of around 150 hours, to an operating time of 650 hours on average. This has resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of oil changes required on each engine, as well as significant savings on the labor involved, and the associated disposal costs of the used oil from each change out.

Download the Case Study

Submit Samples Faster with QR Code Asset Tags

Any number of component ID’s registered on the HORIZON® platform can instantly be rendered into a QR code directly from your list of equipment. The QR codes can be conveniently printed and affixed near the sample point of the corresponding equipment with a tag or label. The component ID tag can then be scanned anytime with your smartphone while using the HORIZON mobile app. Whether registering a sample after collection or searching for the latest sample report, component ID tags effortlessly identify the asset’s sample point on-the-spot.

Here are just a few advantages of utilizing component ID QR code tags:

  • Completely eliminates the need to hand-enter ID’s
  • Decreases time locating equipment and increases operational efficiency and productivity
  • Streamline sample registration during maintenance intervals saving time
  • Instantly locate reports for a unit with signs of trouble
  • Maintain component ID integrity utilizing the same identifications system across your organization without the pollution of false IDs or risk when units move location
  • Integration with CMMS or 3rd party applications incorporating the same component ID
  • Easily able to scan even when damaged and can be manually read in a worst state scenario

Learn More about QR code tags

Avoid Delays and Ship Samples ASAP

Sample. Ship. Results. 

Taking into account the shipping issues and labor shortages affecting shipments in addition to the holidays fast approaching, it’s more important now than ever to ship your samples as soon as you can so they can make it to the laboratory for testing.

We know how vital your sample results are when faced with making tough maintenance decisions and we want to help you prepare to navigate this crazy time to eliminate your equipment’s downtime.

The good news is, we’re providing a few steps you can take now to help tackle today’s shipping problems we’re facing.

1. Pre-order Kits and Supplies

Place orders for sample kits now. Having a back stock of sample jars on hand for when equipment is scheduled for its upcoming preventive maintenance makes it simple and convenient to pull your samples. Don’t forget to add tubing, vacuum pumps, prepaid postage and valves to your cart!

2. Implement a Shipping Strategy

Get those important samples taken and send them on their way to the closest laboratory as soon as you can (click here to see all of our locations). Timing is everything these days and, if you plan accordingly, you can avoid your package being delayed by this season’s holiday shipping surge. Also, be sure to utilize carriers who offer a trackable shipping service to our laboratory doors. This way you know when your package arrives for processing.

3. Communication

Team communication is very important as well this holiday season. Make sure your team is prepared to ship samples out to a laboratory location closest to them as soon as they can (click here for a guide on How to Ship Samples). In addition, make sure they know that they can purchase prepaid UPS labels on the online store when ordering kits. These pre-paid labels are perfect for a 10-pack of samples and are designed to reduce packaging preparation time so you can get your samples on their way to the laboratory.

While these are unprecedented times, POLARIS Laboratories® is continually looking for ways to save you time and money.

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

Published November 2, 2021

Your Guide to the HORIZON® Technical Library

There are many helpful resources, videos, technical bulletins, position papers and reports to run in the HORIZON® Technical Library that it can be hard to know where to start. So, where do you start? Well, it depends on your role in your fluid analysis program.

  1. Are you a technician pulling samples?
    • You need practical information to collect the most accurate fluid samples
  2. Are you submitting and shipping the samples?
    • You need to know the ways to get those samples submitted and shipped as soon as possible
  3. Are you a maintenance supervisor?
    • You need to know what maintenance needs to be done immediately, what can wait for tomorrow and what samples need to be pulled so you can stay ahead of the breakdown
  4. Are you a site or operations manager?
    • You need daily, weekly, monthly,and quarterly reports sent to you automatically
  5. Are you a program manager or executive?
    • You need reports to see your program as a whole as well as resources to integrate your sample data into the systems you’re already using

We’ve put together a quick guide to understanding where you need to be within the Technical Library to get the most out of what resources are there:

Using the Technical Library

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Published April 15, 2021

Identifying and Tackling Particle Contamination

The most common cause of equipment failure is particle contamination. This includes external contaminants, such as dirt or sand, as well as the microscopic pieces of metal generated during equipment operation.

The following tests can further investigate the size and shape of the particles to help your team discover the source of the contamination and assess the damage to the component:

  • Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (AES-ICP):
    • Elemental analysis (usually performed by an ICP) can identify the most common wear and contamination elements and quantify the concentration of contamination, with a size limitation of particles less than 8 to 10 micron in size, but other typical oil analysis technology can provide additional information of the sizes and type of contamination.
  • Particle Count
  • Particle Quantifier
    • This technology will determine ferrous contamination without a size limitation. And when used in conjunction with AES-ICP when comparing PQ results with ICP results the severity of ferrous particles present can be understood. The ICP will detect the smaller sizes and the Particle Quantifier result greater than ICP would indicate larger particles are present.
      Further testing can investigate the size and shape of the particles to help maintenance personnel discover the source of the contamination and assess the damage to the component
    • See the multiple techniques to quantify particles
  • Microscope Analysis

Each test takes a slightly different approach to this task, and each have their own limitations.

Thankfully, not every method should be included in every circumstance. Recommended tests vary based on type of equipment, equipment criticality, and operating cycles. POLARIS Laboratories® is here to help you choose the best, most cost effective testing for your application. Reach out today for assistance on selecting to correct method for each of your equipment to provide the best information to catch concerns early overall increasing your ROI.

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

Published April 7, 2021

How to Avoid On-Hold Samples

Having your fluid sample placed on hold creates a hold-up for our laboratory processing your sample, laboratory performing testing and in turn, a delay in providing you with the important results you need to take action. As your fluid analysis provider, we want to make sure we provide the most accurate results as possible by testing the right fluids for the right components for the right equipment and that the information is recorded in the right account.

Based on our internal research of on-hold samples, 1.72% of all fluid samples sent to our laboratories are placed on hold – this equates to more than 25,000 samples per year.

Reasons for On-Hold

Based on our research, 85% of fluid samples that are placed on hold are indicated as having seven different reasons. Here are the top 7 reasons a sample is placed on hold before it can be processed, tested and analyzed:

  1. Locked Account | We are unable to add your equipment to your account in our sample data system. This could be because of a request from your account owner.
  2. No Information | There is little to no account information for us to be able to identify the sample. This means there is incomplete, incorrect or missing information submitted.
  3. Prepaid Barcode Required | Your account is set up for prepaid sample barcodes, we received your sample without one of these barcodes and are unable to process your sample
  4. Unknown Account | There was no account information submitted with your sample.
  5. Missing Required Info | We are missing sample or component information that is required for your account.
  6. Incorrect Sample Form | Your fluid sample was received with a form that did not match the fluid type.
  7. Component Type | Your sample was submitted with no component type. To perform the correct fluid testing, we need the type of component your sample came from.
What if your sample is placed on hold?

We’ve put together an infographic outlining what you can do to resolve your on-hold sample so it can be placed in the laboratory queue for testing – and so you can get your results when you need them.

In addition, on your HORIZON® Dashboard, you can click on the blue link by ‘samples on hold’ to submit a resolution to address the on-hold issue. We will review your resolution and contact you if we need additional information.

Why is My Sample on Hold?

So, what can your team do to avoid your samples being placed on hold?
  • Ensure your account information in HORIZON® is correct with the owner of your account
  • Pay the correct amount of postage due (if you’re using a non pre-paid test kit)
  • Make sure both the account and component information is correct when submitting your sample
  • Submit all the required sample information
  • Avoid paperwork errors – submit your samples through online sample submission in HORIZON

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

Published March 25, 2021

Ensure Uptime During Times of Emergency

With the recent demand and reliance on back-up power generators as a result of 1) the global pandemic and 2) inclement weather forcing us to work from home more, this puts stress on the power grid as well as the internet connectivity now more than ever. Ensuring your back-up power generators are reliable and up and available when you need them is crucial during these times.

Here are some key points to help provide you with guidance on what to look for in our power generation systems, not limited to just engines, but the whole system. Monitoring radiator and coolant performance and fuel quality are keys to ensuring continuous uptime without any unexpected failures or run time issues.

Maintenance Tips To Perform During Each Preventive Maintenance:
  • Visual | Check the system gauges, sensors, hoses, thermostats, breathers and filters for any abnormalities, loss of pressure, damage/missing breathers or filters. Check exhaust for white or black smoke and overheating
  • Audible | Listen for any abnormal knocking, vibrations or air leaks. This may lead to performing pressure test checks on both the coolant and engine. These tests may result in further troubleshooting (pressure test checks, vibration analysis or data sensor review)
  • Smell | Coolant leaks can often lead to a sweet smell – this can be the glycol. Burnt smells can be from both coolant and engine oil. Also check for signs of strong diesel fuel or fluid leaks from hoses, radiator, head gaskets and injectors
  • Fluid | Check for emulsion (a milky lacey appearance) and visible water and/or oil or separation of fluid types. This can indicate fluid contamination
  • Visible Debris | Check for any type of flakes, flocculent, debris, wear, dirt, microorganisms or filter media in the fluid. A magnet can be used to see if the debris is magnetic. In coolants/fuels this can indicate corrosion in radiator or fuel tanks and in engines wear
Why Test All Three Fluid Types?

All three fluid types (oil, coolant and diesel fuel) run within your system in sync. If any one component type isn’t running up-to-par, it will put stress on the other components leading to a snowball effect of failures. These can easily be prevented by putting in place preventive measures to minimize failures, incur maintenance/part costs and down time. Here’s why:

  • OEM’s have stated roughly 40 percent of engine failures are due to cooling systems
  • Roughly 80 percent of premature engine failures are traced back to cooling system issues that could have been corrected by coolant sampling
  • Poor diesel fuel maintenance can result in fuel injector failures, filter plugging, smoking and loss of power
  • Dirty fuel can lead to injectors leaking fuel into the crankcase causing lubricity issues for the lubricant and increasing engine wear
  • Poor cold weather fuel properties can also lead to fuel gelling, cold filter clogging and engine failures
  • Engine and coolant overheating can place stress on the coolant system causing a chemical reaction within the coolant properties
  • Engine and lubricant overheating has a negative impact on the lubricant. Increasing the oxidative life of the oil results in  the inability to protect the engine from wear while keeping it clean.
Using the Right Fluid

Oil | Checking your engine oil will ensure the engine is not experiencing any type of abnormal wear, contamination or oil degradation. This keeps the engine running longer and prevents overheating – resulting in a longer engine life cycle.

Coolant | Ensuring that you are using the right OEM-specified coolant is the first step. Make sure to test the coolant properties yearly for signs of degradation, checking that the coolant properties are still within range and what corrections/adjustments need to be made to the formulations.

Diesel Fuel | Making sure diesel fuel properties meet ASTM D975 requirements (learn more about ASTM D975 here), during the summer and winter months is key. The fuel needs meet the quality specifications will save you on any engine related issues.

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

Published March 3, 2021

Pathway to Reliable Greased Components

Receive More In-Depth Info + Achieve Reliability in Your Grease

All grease samples received after March 1, 2021 will receive one of our Grease Reliability Test Packages. If you have not already received the new testing under our Grease Reliability Testing Program, your next grease sample will reflect a change in testing performed. We are now able to provide new and improved testing for grease that our previous testing was limited to. Performing testing within our Grease Reliability Testing program will ensure your grease sample receives industry-wide testing and provides more detailed recommendations when concerns are present.

The Grease Reliability Testing Program provides three testing options:

  1. Basic Grease Testing
  2. Ferrous Wear Identification
  3. Advanced Grease Testing

Our new Technical Bulletin, linked below, will provide further details of what is included in each of these grease test packages available under the Grease Reliability Testing program.

Grease Reliability Testing

How this change will impact my current test kits?
All current programs with grease testing will be moved to our new program automatically. If you program still has outdated testing kits, your grease samples will automatically receive the Basic Grease Testing.

Time to order new sample kits? Customer service or your account manager can advise which of our three grease tests will be best for your needs.

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

Published March 1, 2021

Determining Degradation in Your Fuel

Fuel prices have been at an all-time low, the global pandemic had slowed down the economy, winter’s grip is lessening, you have weathered 2020 … has your fuel?

Fuel can degrade in storage while waiting for use and environmental conditions, water and bio duel blends can accelerate that degradation in your fuels.

What Is Diesel Fuel Degradation?

All diesel fuel degrades. The oxidative instability in diesel fuel creates fuel degradation materials like sediments and acids. These materials can result in hard particulate formation, corrosion, filter clogging and damage to fuel pumps and injector through deposits. The consequences can include increased maintenance issues, poor fuel economy, diminished performance and poor combustion quality resulting in issues like black smoke and difficulty starting, or even complete mechanical failure.

How to Avoid Diesel Fuel Degradation?

Most times, you’re not aware of how long your fuel may have been in storage, whether it’s for a short or considerable amount of time, the potential for fuel degradation is increasing.

What steps can you take to avoid or minimize it? It starts with understanding your fuels current state.

  1.  Test Your Fuel | Testing can help you know where your fuel stands. Understanding water contamination, biodiesel levels, cleanliness levels and degradation tendencies of the fuel.
  2. Understand Your Storage Tank Levels | Low fuel levels in a storage tank allows the formation of condensate. When you top off your diesel fuel storage tank, make sure you leave about 10-15 percent space on the top to minimize the condensation and to allow your fuel to react safely with changes in temperature.
  3. Keep a clean tank | Ensure draining your tank of settled water or clean your tank regularly so that there are fewer particles present that can cause a reaction with hour fuel.

To learn more about keeping your fuel clean, monitor degradation and keep it in usable condition, see our Technical Bulletin Verify Fuel Specs with ULSDF Testing, linked below.

Verify Fuel Specs with ULSDF Testing

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

Published February 16, 2021