Is Your Grease Headed to Failure?

Many maintenance technicians can tell you the health of their equipment just by the way it sounds and their maintenances and lubrication schedules. However, if you ask about their greased components, most say we grease it either on schedule or when it sounds like it needs it. Unfortunately both of those answers cannot tell you the health of those grease components. Your grease could be headed to failure without giving you any external indication.

Problems with a Grease Schedule

If you grease on a schedule, you could be greasing that unit too much and as you add that grease, you have to ask how much is too much. If you happen to be greasing too much, then you could be over lubricating your bearings which can cause the balls or rollers to slide along the race rather than turning. Then, the grease could actually churn. This churning mechanism could ultimately bleed the base oil from the grease. What will remain to lubricate the bearing is a thickened grease with little or no lubricating elements. Since there is not enough lubricating oil, and there’s excess heat from the churning, the grease would start to harden. The final outcome is bearing failure and equipment downtime.

Waiting to Re-Grease

On the flip-side, if you wait until it sounds like it needs grease before re-greasing, then you have already starved the component and the damage is already done. Putting grease in will only quiet it down but the final outcome is bearing failure and equipment downtime.

Prevent Failure and Downtime

The proper way to prevent greased equipment failure is to monitor the component through regular grease analysis. By monitoring not only the wear but the grease properties, you can truly know how the grease is holding up. Under operation heat, load and external environmental influences can degrade the properties of the lubricant and its ability to provide lubrication of your greased equipment.

Learn more about our grease testing solution here.

 

Proven Impact. Proven Uptime. Proven Savings.
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Published June 23, 2020

The Importance of Submitting a Baseline Reference Sample

What is a Baseline Reference Sample?

A baseline reference sample is a sample of new or unused product submitted to the fluid analysis laboratory. Submitting a baseline sample allows you to gain an understanding of the starting values of the product in use. It is important that the baseline sample being submitted has not been introduced into a system as this can introduce variables such as commingling, contamination or degradation. Ideally the sample should be pulled from a verifiable source such as a bulk tank, tote, pail or bottle.

What are the benefits of submitting a Baseline Reference Sample? 

It is important to have an understanding of what the starting values are for your lubricant. Knowing where the base number (BN) and/or acid number (AN), oxidation and nitration values start will provide a more precise prediction of how the used oil sample should be flagged as the lubricant degrades. Likewise, if the additive levels are known then it is easier for the Data Analyst to determine if the lubricant was actually installed in the machine.

What does the laboratory do with my Baseline Reference Sample?

Baseline samples are account specific, meaning they will be used on the account for which they were submitted and appear on used oil sample reports using the same product. When submitting a baseline sample, it is important to correctly fill out the sample paperwork to indicate it is a baseline sample by checking the box labeled “baseline reference”.  Selecting this box will automatically enter baseline sample as the component type.

Being careful to provide the complete product information (manufacturer, product name and viscosity grade) and using a specimen from a known, verified source will ensure the information generated by the laboratory will be useful and reliable for comparison against future used or suspect samples. Once an account has an established baseline reference sample, it is important that used samples with the same product have the product information listed exactly the same as the baseline sample. This will ensure the baseline and the used samples are linked for comparison on your reports.

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Published June 9, 2020

Optimizing Intervals in Energy-Producing Turbines

Wind turbines are playing an increasingly important role in greener energy production. This means it is vital that these units operate at optimum capacity for longer periods. This requires a high level of equipment reliability and, due to the remote locations or access difficulties, all types of maintenance need to be planned at optimum intervals to ensure maximum uptime and reductions in total cost of ownership (TCO).

The operating fluids inside a turbine (lubricating oil in gearboxes and hydraulic systems, fluids used in the cooling systems and the greases used) all play a significant part in optimizing operation of the wind turbine. All of these operating fluids should be monitored closely to determine fluid condition, levels of contamination and measure levels of wear metals generated within each system.

What is also becoming more important is the connectivity and integration of all of these fluid sample results with other measurements and operational readings taken from the turbines. With the importance of planning maintenance at optimum operational intervals and reducing unscheduled downtime, monitoring these sample results within OEM asset management or ERP systems, ensures the whole O&M process is made far more efficient.

Using POLARIS Laboratories® unique DataConnect service, companies can benefit from work orders being automatically generated from critical samples within your own operating system, as well as assessing the sample reports alongside other readings to ensure maximum uptime of the turbines.

Using a global fluid analysis laboratory will also ensure operators benefit from having all of their data in a single silo, again making the process of monitoring and mining sample data more consistent and efficient.

 

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

Published May 27, 2020

It’s More Than Fluid Analysis

You’ve made the decision to use POLARIS Laboratories® as your trusted fluid analysis provider, a great start to a successful fluid analysis program. Now are using all the features available? POLARIS Laboratories® provides more than fluid analysis. Learn about how our convenient mobile app can help you manage your program in real time.

Real-Time Alerts

Did you know you can monitor your fluid analysis results, receive real-time alerts on high severity reports and submit online data  for your fluid analysis directly from the HORIZON® mobile app?

The HORIZON® mobile app is just another great feature provided by POLARIS Laboratories® to help you manage your fluid analysis program. With customizable settings to receive alerts of the reports that are most vital to the success of your program. Once an alert is received you have the ability to review a summary of the report or with a single click see the full report details.

Submit Your Sample Online

MOBILE SAMPLE SUBMISSION HOW TO VIDEO

The online sample submission capability of the mobile app is a time saver. Your mechanics now have the ability to select equipment from their phone, scan a QR code with their phone, enter a few fields of information (such as component time and lube time) apply a QR sticker to the bottle and then obtain the sample and mail it directly to the laboratory.No more errors from hand written labels and a much faster process!

But the great features don’t end there. Do you have equipment that you need to transfer from one location to another? You can now keep the data accurate for your fluid analysis program mirrored with physical transfers, and you guessed it, you can do this directly within the mobile app.

Easy Equipment Transfer

What about adding new equipment/components? With just a few fields of information to enter you can add this from the mobile app as well!

At POLARIS Laboratories® we consistently strive to help our customers not just simplify their fluid analysis program but help ensure that your data is always timely and accurate.

The mobile app is free and available for iPhone or Android. Give it a try today, you will not be disappointed.

 

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

Published April 8, 2020

Sink or Swim: Fluid Analysis + Marine

In today’s shipping environment, uptime, safety, equipment life extension and increasing oil drain intervals are, and should be, the focus of any fluids analysis program.

Realizing the most value from your programs, whether lubricants, coolants, fuels, grease or filter debris analysis can help avoid:

  • Unscheduled down time and unplanned maintenance and associated costs for repair
  • Urgent requirements for lubricant replenishment inventory on short notice or in remote areas
  • Extra lubricants expense incurred by changing the oil unnecessarily without the benefit of a historical analysis report
  • Undetected problems manifesting into eventual catastrophic equipment failure

Oil analysis has been around since the 1940’s but, has matured significantly since then. Equipment has also evolved as design or environmental pressures have placed requirements for some equipment to be lighter in weight, be more fuel efficient and be manufactured to higher tolerances with more exotic materials. The result often places more stress to the lubricant, often with a lower volumes of lubricant in circulation to save weight.

Standard Practices

Take for example, marine or power plant engines with anti-polishing rings in the cylinder liners. The use of anti-polishing rings result is lower oil consumption which is an advantage for the equipment owner, but already places higher duty on the lubricant due smaller oil sump volumes and less need for frequent oil top ups. Monitoring critical parameters such as base number with laboratory and onboard testing has worked well and is already proven to be an industry standard practice.

Seeing An ROI

The benefits of your fluids analysis program can very easily pay for itself by being able to more closely monitor equipment and fluid condition, help manage implementation of oil drain interval programs, and in all cases provides information on oil and machinery condition necessary to make informed decisions about operational reliability and future maintenance.

With management reporting tools, a fluids analysis program can bring all of this information onto one platform, making interrogation of key performance indicators across assets much easier to visualize. Used properly, outliers can be detected more quickly. Of course, oil analysis is only one part of a complete maintenance program and should be used in conjunction with vibration, acoustics and thermography where applicable.

Free webinar on Fluid Analysis in the Marine Industry

If you’re interested in learning about fluid analysis as it relates to the maritime industry, I encourage you to attend our upcoming webinar on June 16. There is no cost to join and open to everyone!

Sink or Swim: How Fluid Analysis Saves Marine Engines

June 16 at 11 a.m. ET

See what will be covered and register here.

To learn more about POLARIS Laboratories® please contact us. We will show you the POLARIS Laboratories® way of helping you build a custom fluids analysis program with all the benefits of linking to your CMMS program, providing you with actionable fluids analysis commentary, and an online reporting portal, all with the benefits of being an independent laboratory and helping you save money.

 

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

Published March 25, 2020

Keep Calm and Sample On

As governments try to slow the spread of COVID-19, businesses face new challenges involving logistics, shipping, border closures and quarantines. However, people are still counting on businesses like yours to continue transporting, producing, powering, mining and operating like normal.

So, where does that leave you? Keep sampling, that’s what!

If you are able, we encourage you to keep calm and keep sampling. After all, many years of feedback from our customers confirms fluid analysis is one of the most cost-effective ways to keep equipment operational, especially because it also saves maintenance technicians time. Knowing how helpful our service is to our customers, POLARIS Laboratories® has put new policies in place to keep workers healthy and our laboratories operational. Click here to read our official COVID-19 message to customers.

We’re Here to Help You

Circumstances may arise that close one of our laboratories or prevent samples from being transported to your normal laboratory. In that case, our “one lab, multiple locations” system will provide you with quality testing and analysis no matter which of our laboratories your samples arrive at. Ship your sample to whichever location you can get it to, and we’ll work quickly to get testing started and results back to you. A list of our six global laboratory locations is listed below. We’ve got you covered.

Indianapolis
7451 Winton Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46268

Houston
10910 W. Sam Houston Parkway N.,
Suite 700
Houston, TX 77064-6314

Salt Lake City
3060 W. California Avenue, Suite B
Salt Lake City, UT 84104

Edmonton
5140 75th Street
Edmonton, Alberta Canada T6E 6W2

Guatemala
Calzada Atanasio Tzul 22-00 zona 12, 01012
Centro Empresarial El Cortijo II, Ofibodega 319
Guatemala City, Guatemala

Poznan
ul.Rubież 46H, 61- 612
Poznan, Poland

We will all face challenges with this crisis, but we can overcome them by working together. POLARIS Laboratories® is here when and where you need us.

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

Published March 24, 2020

How to Optimize Your Asset Health

The average asset manager runs an average of approximately 10,000 hours on the asset before it’s sold. So, you’ve had your asset for a while, but it has come time to sell it. Yet, you wonder how much life is left on that asset? If you keep it for another 10,000 hours, you can save a lot of money in replacement costs and maintenance. Your asset has run well, you know its maintenance history and you ask yourself do I really need to sell it?

Deciding whether to repair or sell

Many fleets run equipment to about 80 percent of their life expectancy then sell off. But, did you know you can incorporate filter debris analysis to determine equipment reliability at that 80 percent life expectancy? If an issue is found, you can proceed with a rebuild/repair or they can sell. Things to consider when making the decision to sell:

  • Did you buy your asset used?
  • How was your asset’s maintenance history prior to you buying it?
Utilizing filter debris analysis

You can utilize filter debris analysis (FDA) to determine how your asset is and how it’s holding up. Here are a couple of recommendations how to incorporate FDA into your program, depending on the estimated life expectancy:

0-20%You could characterize this as break in or, in the case of used equipment, the baseline of your equipment. What is the wear pattern in the first 20% of your usage of the asset? Submitting three filters with oil samples on regular intervals can give you a pattern.
20-80% Recommended to test only when wear metal trends are increasing, or you see a significant jump in wear metals
80%> This is what is referred to a senior asset. Submitting three filters with oil samples on regular intervals can give you a pattern. Then review to determine retesting interval based on results of the FDA results. You may find you need to sell your asset before significant maintenance will occur, or you may find your asset has plenty of life on it.
See what’s being caught in your filter

FDA is a great tool to add to your asset reliability toolbox. It compliments fluid analysis testing by seeing not just the data circulating in the oil, but what is being caught in the filter. This data is crucial to understanding the reliability of your equipment.

See how one company was able to to save more than $250,000 by performing the testing and avoiding gearbox replacements.

Is filter debris analysis something you want to start performing on your asset? Contact your account manager or custserv@eoilreports.com to add it to your program.

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

Published March 18, 2020

Appearance May Not Tell the Whole Story

 

Appearances can be deceiving! During every PM you need to be monitoring your cooling system.

Your coolant should be clear of precipitate and have the appearance of new fluid when first put into the system. However, only monitoring the appearance may not tell the whole story of the health of the cooling system. Appearance can indicate some concerns when an odor or clarity change occur. However, with further testing performed at regular PM intervals, in conjunction with laboratory testing to monitor the health of the cooling system, concerns can be caught earlier rather than just monitoring the appearance.

Some early system concerns that will not be visible by just looking at your coolant:

  • Corrosion
  • Hard water contamination
  • Chemical reaction impacting pH levels
  • Inhibitor levels
  • Degradation due to overheating
  • Glycol concentration for adequate freeze point and boil point control

One of these coolant samples caused a $500,000 replacement on the equipment. Can you tell which one?

Utilizing proper testing to monitor the cooling system and fluid health are very important for maintaining your equipment.

The cooling system is critical to maintaining proper temperature for the equipment. Approximately 40 to 50 percent of preventable engine failures can be traced back to problems in the cooling system. Of those failures due to the cooling system, 80 percent of the concerns can be identified and corrected early before attributing to engine concerns leading to an unnecessary failure. Proper testing will detect problems that are not visible to the naked eye and determine if the cooling system is able to protect your equipment and prevent unexpected equipment down time and increase maintenance costs.

Learn more about the importance of field testing coolants at every PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Published March 11, 2020

Managing Your Fleet in Real-Time

Maintenance managers in the construction industry have more information available at their fingertips regarding the health and risk of their equipment than ever before. Real time information regarding equipment location, operating conditions, component temperatures, fault codes and a host of other telematics and on-board sensors data. This information is not just raw data, but is converted to useful information, including alerts, dashboards, charts and graphs allowing informed maintenance decisions.

Fluid Analysis Adds Value

We all know the value of a successful fluid analysis program and how, when implemented and ran correctly, can reveal the earliest stages of abnormal component wear and help determine the optimal drain intervals. Fluid analysis is the leading science for non-invasive testing available for a predictive maintenance program.

So why have you not incorporated your fluid analysis results with the other information you are collecting?

Connections are Happening

Imagine if you had, at your fingertips, an electronic copy of the latest operators walk -around report which indicates ‘low coolant level’, in addition, the engines on-board sensors reveal excessive engine temperature, and you also have your latest engine oil analysis report showing high level of sodium and potassium (which is a sure indicator of coolant in the engine oil).

Would it not be of great benefit to have all this combined information easily available? Just think of the value in not only deciding if the equipment should be shut down immediately or allowed to run, but think of the value regarding the insight of the maintenance actions / repairs that need to be taken!

So, back to the question, why is your fluid analysis data not part of the real time information you are focusing on?

Getting Connected is Easy

Today, with POLARIS Laboratories’s integration solution, DataConnect, your fluid analysis data is syncing directly to your CMMS is just an email away. Perhaps you would like the laboratory to work with your third-party telematics service provider for the development of the dashboards, charts and graphs you would like to see, we can do that. In today’s connected world, it only makes sense to integrate all the available data, including your fluid analysis!

Connect your account manager or custserv@eoilreports.com with your interest in this no-cost service we provide for our customers.

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

Published February 5, 2020

Oil Analysis + Asset Reliability

Equipment Reliability

A well-applied, managed fluid analysis program becomes a major tool in maintaining your equipment in tip-top condition. While it is an additional cost, fluid analysis can pay dividends in keeping the equipment running longer, minimizing repairs and decreasing downtime. Lubricating oil is the most common of the fluids analyzed (click here to see how oil analysis can impact your overall equipment reliability), but there are other equipment fluids just as important that should be considered for analysis: coolant, diesel fuel and greases. Testing all the lubricants and fluids that run through your system can provide a complete picture of what’s going on – and can identify potential problems before they become catastrophic.

In order to establish a great fluid analysis program, you need to start by partnering with a strong, certified laboratory that can analyze all these fluids, and with ample experience in interpreting the results.

Going Beyond the Analysis Report

Your sample data can be utilized to determine trends, as well as wear rates that will impact equipment scheduled maintenance, repairs and overhauls. Your laboratory partner should also assist you with best practices to establish a strong and complete fluid analysis program. Learn more tips for managing an effective fluid analysis program below:

Managing Your Program

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

Published January 14, 2019