One-Stop Shop for Maintenance Management

Fluid analysis data is a key component to a successful asset reliability and maintenance tracking program. Do you and your maintenance team feel the frustration of accessing multiple systems just to manage your fluid analysis data and equipment information? Is utilizing multiple systems for program management starting to cause inefficiencies resulting in lost production time for your team? Looking for a one-stop shop for accessing and managing your equipment maintenance that will save you time and money?

The solution: DataConnect

This advanced solution allows all of your HORIZON® sample data to be automatically imported into your internal maintenance tracking program. By doing this, frustration, inconveniences and inefficient practices are eliminated. Organize your equipment data, submit samples and evaluate the testing results – all within one system.

  • Increase visibility
  • React quickly to high severity results
  • Cut maintenance costs
  • Prove the value of fluid analysis to leadership

Contact us for more information on how to set up DataConnect for your fluid analysis program!

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

Published February 26, 2019

Cooling System Do’s and Don’ts

40% of engine failures can be attributed to issues within the cooling system. Knowing the do’s and don’ts for maintaining your cooling system will help protect your equipment, increase reliability and avoid failure. Here’s few things to do and a few things not to do.

Do:

  • Use a water that meets specifications
    • This includes water being used for top offs, mixing a concentrate and if you are unable to remove the majority of the flush water.
    • Water that meets specifications will not add contaminates to cooling system and will help maintain fluid properties.
  • Use the same coolant formulation for maintenance adjustments
    • If you are unable to use the same coolant in the cooling system (this is recommended), then select a coolant that has similar corrosion protection inhibitors (this will maintain the inhibitor levels for adequate corrosion protection)
  • Test your engine coolant and observe fluid at every PM
    • Every engine sample should have at least one coolant sample tested by the laboratory to ensure equipment health and fluid properties are adequate
    • Catching issues early will stop further corrosion or potential for corrosion by proactively correcting the issues found before catastrophic failure occurs
  • Ensure the correct coolant testing is included in your test package
    • Testing all inhibitors in the formulation will help determine if the corrosion protection levels are adequate or not
    • Advanced testing will help determine if degradation acids are present, identify mechanical issues and determine if the system was contaminated with sulfate and/or chloride
    • Using the right test package will provide the best recommendations and protection for your equipment

Do not:

  • Use any type of water to mix with antifreeze
    • This includes top offs, diluting a concentration or leaving excessive amounts of flush water in the system
    • Using hard water that does not meet specifications, will cause scaling of the system components resulting in loss of heat transfer abilities of the cooling system
  • Mix different coolant corrosion protection formulations
    • Be aware, if you mix an organic formulation with a conventional formulation, some OEMs or coolant manufacturers will state the coolant now must be treated as a conventional antifreeze
    • Some OEMs and coolant manufacturers may also only recommend to change out the coolant if mixed. It’s important to know what recommendations for mixing are for you equipment
    • Mixing formulations will hinder corrosion protection levels and could cause inhibitor drop out, leaving the system vulnerable for corrosion. Concerns of incompatibility between inhibitors can be concerning for the equipment health, too.
  • Put coolant in and forget about the cooling system
    • The most preventable engine failure is not maintaining the cooling system. The cooling system should circulate, absorb heat and dissipate heat from the engine. If issues within the cooling system hinder the removal of heat from the engine then equipment issues and eventually engine failure will occur
  • Simply choose to just test the cooling system
    • Not understanding the proper testing needed for the coolant formulation may not provide the whole picture of corrosion protection levels, equipment health and contamination that may be present in the cooling system
    • These can lead to premature engine failures if the cooling system is not being properly maintained

These simple do’s and don’ts are some of the ways to maintain your cooling system from premature engine failures. The cooling system is part of the overall health of your equipment and should not be ignored.

If you aren’t sure what coolant testing is best for your equipment, reach out to us for guidance and explanation. We’re here to answer your questions – and help you save your equipment!

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

Published  February 19, 2019

Why Is Fuel Testing Important?

 

Cleanliness Standards

Today’s diesel engine fuel systems are designed with tighter clearances and operate under higher pressures than those of the past. Fuel cleanliness is critical in keeping your fuel system operating efficiently and preventing premature wear of vital components.

But, That’s Not All…

The cleanliness of the fuel is not the only thing that should be considered. The correct fuel test package can help identify the root cause of many issues, including:

  • Engine performance concerns
  • Fuel filter plugging
  • Excessive engine smoking
  • Lubricity concerns
  • Fuel quality concerns for both winter and summer operations
  • Bio fuel concerns
  • Growth of bacteria, fungi & mold
  • Sulphur content validation

At a minimum, routine fuel testing should consist of:

  • Fuel cleanliness
  • Fuel quality
  • Fuel contamination

When To Test Your Fuel

The recommended interval for fuel testing is dependent on the industry and the volume of fuel consumed. For industries with large consumptions, with resupply of fuel on a daily basis (tanker loads), you might consider checking fuel cleanliness on each delivery. For others, a fuel quality and contamination check may only be needed twice per year, at the start of the winter months when switching to winter grade fuels, and then again when switching back to the summer blend.

Based on the results of these tests, or if you suspect fuel-related issues, advanced fuel testing should be considered.

At POLARIS Laboratories®, we offer a wide range of fuel test packages. Please feel free to contact us and we will gladly assist you in customizing a fuel test package to meet your needs.

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

Published  February 12, 2019

How to Optimize Your Off-Highway Performance

Operating off-highway operations means exposing your expensive equipment to harsh conditions daily, including moisture, abrasives and temperature. Despite these harsh conditions, the equipment is still expected to perform at high levels and complete jobs on time. When it comes to off-highway equipment, there are four major issues to be aware of that could affect your equipment performance:

  1. CONDITIONS | operating in extreme environmental conditions can cause excessive wear and shorten the life of your equipment
  2. DIRT | dirt and silica can contaminate your oil, causing excessive wear on the engine
  3. WATER | water can wreak havoc on the operating performance and cause severe damage to the equipment
  4. OVERHEATING | operating under the above circumstances will result in overheating of the equipment- causing your equipment to fail

Breakdowns usually occur far from any mechanics shop, meaning repairs are slow, expensive and they put projects behind schedule. Be aware of these four issues to optimize the performance and preserve the life of your off-highway equipment – and be able to predict problems before they occur.

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

Published February 5, 2019

Take Your Fluid Analysis On The Go

The need and desire for people to have access to information continues to be in demand for many industries – and predictive maintenance is one of them. Utilizing HORIZON®, POLARIS Laboratories® program and data management system, creates viable solutions for saving time and equipment. HORIZON can be accessed with personal computers and mobile devices, including tablets and smart phones.  The application is compatible with Apple and Android devices.

Take Your Fluid Analysis On The Go

The features and benefits of HORIZON mobile allows you to perform fluid analysis-related tasks and manage your program in the field:

-Remotely submit sample information

-Utilize management reports

-Receive sample status alerts

-See faster total turnaround time (TAT) for sample results

-Quickly review previous sample reports and specific recommendations

The mobile application’s best benefit is the ability to submit sample information remotely. This can be performed while the user is performing routine maintenance and sampling – right at the component. This results in fewer errors and time savings. Submitting samples online also moves your sample to the front of the laboratory testing queue, expediting your turnaround time – getting you your results faster.

What’s New in the App

Download or update your app to experience the latest added feature: component transfer. The mobile app now

allows you to transfer components between pieces of equipment – letting you manage your

equipment faster and easier.

 

Going Mobile

From mobile banking to meal delivery to staying connected with your friends and peers, our lives are becoming more and more connected through mobile apps and devices – so it only makes sense to take your predictive maintenance program mobile, too. HORIZON mobile app can improve your ROI, lower your maintenance costs and it is a free service when you partner with POLARIS Laboratories® for your fluid analysis services.

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

Published  January 29, 2019

 

Equipment Reliability: How to Ensure Your Success

The Number One Objective

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) defines reliability as:

The probability that a product, system or service will perform its intended function adequately for a specified period of time, or will operate in a defined environment without failure.

Equipment reliability is the number one objective of any predictive maintenance program, but often times programs are started without completing the first, most important step – know the age and performance of the equipment you have.

Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse

Often preventive maintenance programs are kicked off without having enough asset knowledge to be successful. As they say, “don’t put the cart before the horse.” Before you launch your program, it’s important to:

  1. Survey | Take inventory of all of mechanical components you own.
  2. Organize | Make sure that they are cataloged in a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) or other organized system.
  3. Rank | Put together a team to rank the criticality of the equipment.

Criticality rankings can be based on a number of different criteria. There is no one right way to do it, but the important thing to keep in mind when assessing criticality is risk – primarily safety, quality, and cost. For example, at POLARIS Laboratories®, we have a preventive maintenance schedule for all of our laboratory instruments, but if our air circulation system experiences downtime then none of those instruments can be operated. It’s a piece of equipment that is often taken for granted, but the risk associated with any downtime is catastrophic and impacts safety and cost.

Once you know what equipment you have and how critical it is to operations, then you can start to assess your fluid analysis program and other predictive tools.

Are you getting the right testing?

If the cost of failure for a specific asset is high, it might be worthwhile to pay for more advanced testing or do analytical ferrography routinely. If the cost is low, you may be able to reduce the sample frequency of some of your equipment. We often talk about preventive maintenance optimization – talk to POLARIS Laboratories® about how we can help you optimize your predictive maintenance intervals.

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

Published  January 22, 2019

Making a Difference in the Transportation Industry

There are numerous elements that go into a fluid analysis program achieving operational efficiency and program success. For the transportation industry, that could be compliance with consistent sampling, seeing the return on investment, saving on fleet maintenance costs or gaining buy-in from leadership. But, what really makes the difference for a transportation company when participating in a fluid analysis program is a program champion. A transportation company could have anywhere from just one single maintenance facility handling all samples, to more than 100 locations. The program champion provides effective communication, ownership and consistency – all affecting the success of the program.

Communication | managing all shop or facility managers can be time consuming – the program champion makes certain that any updates, changes, etc. are communicated properly to the appropriate people.

Ownership | having one individual own the fluid analysis program helps the program stay compliant

Consistency | the program champion ensures everyone is on the same page and is meeting compliance goals

A program champion who communicates effectively, owns the fluid analysis program and consistently checks in to see if the team is meeting their compliance goals, will lead their teams to the ultimate goal: success of the fluid analysis program.

What does it take to be a program champion? Check out our checklist:

 

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

Published  January 15, 2019

Dirty Dozen: 12 Types of Contamination

 

The life of components in automotive, industrial and other equipment is reduced when contaminants circulate through their systems. Water, solid particles, varnish and even air can lead to a decrease in drain intervals and an increase in foaming, oxidation, sludge and varnish formation—potentially causing serious damage and catastrophic failure.

What’s causing damage? Below are the four main categories of contamination:
  1. Air Contamination
    • Air causes foam to form and it may be a sign that the antifoam additive may be depleted and the oil needs to be changed out. Air causes the oil to look cloudy – often mistaking it for water contamination.
    • An easy way to visually tell the difference between air and water contamination: take a small oil sample in a clear container and allow it to sit undisturbed for 24 hours – air will rise to the top while water will settle to the bottom.
  2. Water Contamination
    • Water can get into your system through vapor in the air – but it can also come form rain, splashing, leaking fittings or power washing the equipment.
    • Measuring the current moisture level in your equipment’s oil, and then finding ways to reduce the moisture level, can significantly extend your machine’s life.
  3. Particle Contamination
    • Particle contamination can be caused by particles entering the system via air movement or oil degradation.
    • Here are some powerful facts for you:
      • Greater than 80 percent of machine wear is caused by particle contamination.
      • The industry spends upwards of $200 billion annually filtering fluids to prevent mechanical problems caused by hard particles.
  4. Varnish Contamination
    • Varnish buildup, whether it be hard or soft, can occur in reservoirs and throughout lube and hydraulic systems on components and filter elements. Once varnish formation begins, the equipment becomes unreliable and potentially unsafe.

Discover all 12 types of oil contamination, by reading my featured article in Lubes ‘N’ Greases’ October 2018 edition: Dirty Dozen: 12 Types of Oil Contamination by clicking below.

 

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

Published November 27, 2018

Preparing Your Program for 2019

How do you not only discover, but maximize the services and benefits by partnering with a fluid analysis laboratory and ensure it’s a positive addition to your preventive maintenance program? If your organization is partnering with a fluid analysis laboratory, it is important to examine what value-add services they offer and what you are actually paying for.

  • What software applications (technology) they offer?
  • What test packages are available?
  • What training services are offered?
  • Do they have industry accreditations?
  • Is there accessibility to communicating to relevant service personnel?

Having support from a trusted laboratory partner can help maximize these services and at the same time, educate members your maintenance team to utilize the available resources. At the end of day, you want to maximize the return on your investment which means your equipment’s of fluid’s life.

Steps to a Successful Program

A successful preventive maintenance program requires the following:

  1. Leadership | We call this a Program Champion. A Program Champion is preventive maintenance professional who provides buy-in about the wellbeing of their equipment – while providing leadership and accountability for a successful program.
  2. Goals | Establish realistic goals and an organized plan on how to achieve them in a timely manner.
  3. Education | Train your maintenance team on what is to be expected and what results need to achieved.
  4. Testing Capabilities | Access to the available test packages – and knowing what packages you need – will benefit your maintenance program.
Regular Routine

After your program is established – you need to maintain it.

  • Continuous Training | Have scheduled conversations with key members of your maintenance team and use the information or resources the laboratory has available.
  • Transparency | Ask for input from your maintenance team – this will generate interest in the program and foster an atmosphere for everyone to contribute and succeed.
  • Celebrate | Share your success stories and celebrate wins with your team.
  • Utilize Resources | If you have additional questions, contact a representative from your fluid analysis provider and remember this is one of the value-add services available to you.
Positive Program Standards for 2019

When you start planning for 2019, it’s important to re-evaluate and establish your program goals, provide continuous training, ensure you have all the requirements for a successful program and are utilize the value-add services available to you. By working together with your maintenance team, upper management and your fluid analysis provider – your program will succeed. Utilize this practice with other service providers who are components of your preventive maintenance program moving forward in the new year.

 

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

Published November 13, 2018

HORIZON Mobile Update Release

What’s New

After seeing a high demand of customer requests to add this feature, we’ve released an update to the mobile application that will put more power into your mobile app. The app update allows you to edit your equipment – you can now add, duplicate and edit components in equipment management in the HORIZON mobile app.

The Power is in Your Fingertips

Update your mobile app today to experience the convenience of editing your equipment – right from your fingertips. You now have the power to:

  • Add new components
  • Duplicate existing components
  • Edit fields including:
    • Component ID
    • Fluid type
    • Component type
    • Manufacturer
    • Model
    • Filter type
    • Application
    • And more

Empower your fluid analysis, leverage the mobile app capabilities and maximize your fluid analysis program by downloading the latest version of the HORIZON Mobile app in the App Store or Google Play Store.

Work smarter, not harder

Additional real-time features of the HORIZON Mobile App include:

  • Sample Submission
  • Custom notification and alerts
  • View all sample reports
  • Sync with HORIZON web application
  • Sort and manage reports

     

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

Published November 6, 2018