VIDEO: Adding Equipment in HORIZON®

 

Adding one or more components to your equipment list in HORIZON® is easy! Making sure your equipment list is up-to-date is essential for your program to be a success. Check out the our new video for step-by-step instructions on how to add and edit your equipment in HORIZON.

Click to watch

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Published  June 24, 2019

The Key to Unlocking Reliability in Your Program

Everyday at POLARIS Laboratories®, we’re dedicated to helping our customers save more of their equipment. As the industry has advanced, POLARIS Laboratories® has kept up by unleashing the potential for maintenance programs everywhere. We’re achieving these results by empowering maintenance professionals, automating the information they receive and transforming untapped recommendations into business intelligence.

This Year’s Summit

We’re all on this journey together. And, we see this path leading us to greater emphasis on reliability. We know reliability is the key to solving maintenance challenges smarter and faster. That’s why this year’s Customer Summit theme is Unlock Reliability. This unique, peer-to-peer experience is designed to help your company capture and apply the elements of a successful oil analysis program, integrate data better and solve reliability challenges.

As part of the evolution of fluid analysis at our summits – Driving Action, Champion Impact, Connected Performance and Elevate – Unlock Reliability keeps our customers focused on how to turn data into information into intelligence. At the summit, more than 100 customers and partners will convene to learn how to bridge a traditional fluid analysis focus with a futuristic view of empowering the overall user experience and manage more effective maintenance programs.

Unlock Your Maintenance Potential

Whether you’re looking to huddle with companies that have proven successes, dive deeper into your program’s performance or learn best practices to design a strategy that transforms information into intelligence, our fifth-annual Customer Summit will provide the keys you need to maximize your oil analysis program and continue to drive operational performance.

We have coordinated every aspect of this event to best fit your team’s needs and ensure that you make the most out of your summit experience. Taking place in Indianapolis from November 18-20, this three-day, 19-session event offers a one-of-a-kind experience for you and your team.

Are you ready to take the next step to realizing reliability?

Check out our Customer Summit website to learn more about the robust agenda and topics, exclusive laboratory tour, hotel accommodations, fees and more. Be sure to take advantage of our early registration discounts.

Come learn why reliability matters! Clear your calendar in November and join us in Indianapolis at the 2019 POLARIS Laboratories® Customer Summit.

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Published May 23, 2019

Celebrating 20 Years

As an innovative leader in asset management, reliability and fluid analysis, POLARIS Laboratories® celebrates two decades of accomplishments, successes and innovative solutions we’ve brought to our customers – all while continually saving their equipment.

The beginning

In 1999, we first opened our doors as an oil analysis laboratory, with a mission to provide excellence in oil testing, analysis, tribology expertise, data and recommendations. Our first laboratory was in Greenwood, Indiana and in 2002, we moved to the northwest Indianapolis area and have called that area our home since. In that time, we’ve grown from five to more than 200 employees (in seven global laboratory locations) – who strive every day to meet (and exceed) customer expectations.

20 Years in 5 Minutes

Watch the video to see highlights of our history, accomplishments and our plans for the future.

Our values

Our core values have remained the same throughout our 20 years, with an emphasis to convey to our customers that saving your equipment is more than just sending your sample into our laboratory and getting the results back. What continues to save equipment is customers using the recommendations we provide to take action, establish trend history and effectively manage their maintenance and reliability programs.

What it means

20 years of being the leading fluid analysis provider in the industry has amounted to 48,439 pieces of equipment and $253,575,289 saved for our customers. See below for a quick glance of a few POLARIS Laboratories® stats:

Looking forward

With our eyes on the future, we will continue to focus on providing our customers with the greatest quality of service, accurate and timely analysis results, specialty testing and innovative data integration solutions. We’re expanding our testing and analysis capabilities to include grease, we’re advancing our HORIZON® data management platform and we are increasing adoption of our game-changing solution for sample data automation and integration called DataConnect.

Cheers to 20 more!

View the full press release.

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Published May 7, 2019

Expose What’s in Your Filters

Oil filters are designed to filter out potential contaminants, but the debris that is caught in the filter can help bridge the gap and tell you what’s really causing wear and tear in your system. Filter debris analysis (FDA) analyzes that debris. It helps identify harmful contaminants and wear-causing particles and mechanisms not detected by traditional oil analysis. FDA is preformed by the following laboratory tests:

  • Analytical Ferrography
  • Micropatch
  • Elemental Metals by ICP
  • Acid Digestion
  • Gravimetric Solids

Watch the video to see how we perform FDA at POLARIS Laboratories®.

1. Analytical Ferrography

  • Identifies particles by metallic or non-metallic and shape and color
  • Analyzes particles through a microscope to determine source of wear particles
  • Digital images of particles are included within the analysis report from the data analyst

2. Micropatch

  • Particles are identified and qualified as contaminates
  • Most particles detected by the micropatch test are too small to be detected through routine testing; therefore often times, micropatch testing is recommended after oil analysis is performed.

Analytical ferrography and micropatch tests are conducted underneath a powerful microscope and are often vital in determining wear particles and contaminates not seen by the human eye and not detected by field oil analysis.

3. Elemental Metals Analysis: Detects particles less than 8-10µ and reports data on 24 elemental metals.

4. Acid Digestion: Identifies large particles accumulated in the filter.

5. Gravimetric Solids: Determines total solids in filter based on mass.

The Next Level

Filter debris analysis takes elemental analysis to the next level to determine particle size and type of wear. FDA also allows you to perform root cause analysis of wear to detect early stages of component failures and in turn, helps extend the life of your components.

Discover more about Analytical Ferrography and Micropatch testing by reading this Technical Bulletin.

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Published May 2, 2019

A Connected World: Fluid Analysis is No Exception

We live in a connected world. Our daily lives involve hundreds of interactions with data and technology so why should your fluid analysis program be any different? How you submit samples, receive results, manage test data and take action on maintenance recommendations will determine your program’s ROI. In turn, this affects the uptime and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the equipment you operate.

We are all going through a technological revolution, so it is more important than ever to understand how our devices and The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) can be integral to your fluid analysis program.

One System: Smarter Actions

From a maintenance management perspective, viewing oil analysis results from an individual machine on the same screen as its vibration readings and data from sensors allows the engineer to react quicker to the recommendations, assess the bigger picture and understand that one set of results confirms another. This creates huge efficiencies and results in smarter, more accurate maintenance actions being performed. In turn, it leads to improved uptime, an increase in ROI returns and a reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership of the equipment being monitored.

A Solution

POLARIS Laboratories® has joined the technology revolution and is helping you get there, too. With our integration feature, DataConnect, internal data systems communicate and transfer your sample data and results back and forth on an hourly basis from HORIZON® so your own CMMS or SAP system is accurate, up-to-date and in the correct format at all times.

Part of a Routine

Most CMMS or maintenance management programs are utilized at point of application during daily plant walk-rounds, in sample taking or planned maintenance actions. This means there is a growing requirement to integrate the sample taking procedure into your internally-operated system to reduce the number of applications and processes used.

Your system working in conjunction with the laboratory’s system will enable you to use your own software to submit samples and ensure that the information is as accurate as possible (as with our mobile app) and performing all the duties in a ‘single screen’. Knowing when a sample should be taken and receiving the notification is vital for improving compliance and optimizing your fluid analysis program. In addition, having all of this information in a single program not only adds value to the program, but creates huge efficiencies in daily maintenance and reliability tasks.

 

 

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Published April 29, 2019

Improving Reliability with Oil Analysis

One of the greatest benefits of effective reliability practices is the impact on the total cost of ownership for equipment. There are many obvious savings, such as increased production, uptime and lower maintenance costs. Unfortunately, once a piece of equipment is out of the design phase, there is a fixed upper limit to the level of reliability that can be achieved without modifying components of the equipment. That doesn’t mean that once you’ve made the investment, you are powerless to do anything to improve reliability. Oil analysis can give you information that may be used to influence OEM designs and your future purchases.

Oil analysis can provide insights to influence decisions

A customer participating in oil analysis has a mixed fleet of on-highway trucks and used the HORIZON® Problem Summary Report to compare their different engine manufacturers. They found that an OEM was showing a high percentage of samples with coolant contamination issues. They reviewed their various models of engines from the OEM and found that one specific model was the biggest culprit, with 15 percent of all samples showing at least the beginning signs of coolant ingression.

The customer provided the engine OEM with the findings from the maintenance observations recorded in their CMMS as well as the data from the problem summary report. The OEM reviewed the data, realized that they had an issue and began investigating the EGR cooler design. The OEM redesigned the EGR cooler which reduced coolant ingression issues to less than 5 percent.

In this example, in addition to oil analysis reducing downtime for the customer, reliability was improved for all users of that engine. Warranty costs for the OEM were reduced and the communication with the customer and subsequent research will also improve future engine design.

Would you rather be in a cycle of warranty claims and repairs or do you change your mindset regarding reliability?

Accepting failures and predictive maintenance as a part of normal operation and having maintenance personnel focused on repairs rather than upkeep will keep you from having a truly reliable operation.

Talk to our experts at POLARIS Laboratories® today to find out how we can help you harness the full potential of your data.

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

Published April 2, 2019

Protect Your Investment, Protect Your Grease

Grease: a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.

Most lubrication fundamentals are fairly well understood in this day and age. There are plenty of websites with documentation on topics ranging through a variety of lubricating systems and analysis. There are even a lot of manufacturers, laboratories and literature on the key points and fundamentals of the variety of other fluids used today, such as fuels, solvents and even coolants.

However, one area that is still shrouded in mystery to most: Grease.

Grease: A History

A semi-solid lubricant, grease generally it consists of a soap, emulsified with an oil, (though clays are used in place of the soap in some extreme temperature applications). Some of the first recorded applications were used by the Egyptians and the Romans, thousands of years ago, though modern greases really came about during World War II.

Manufacturing Complications

In the recent years, the manufacture of greases has been described as an art. The processes is very complicated and requires:

  • High temperatures and pressures
  • Oil charges added at specific times and flow
  • Accurate application – if not, the grease will fail and turn into slop

The tests designed to qualify the greases from the production environment were designed many decades ago and mainly designed to ensure quality during manufacturing. They were not designed to qualify greases, in the most part, for use in the field.

Grease Formulations

To make matters more complicated, most literature from OEM’s specify a NLGI grade, a soap type and if you are really lucky, a base oil viscosity requirement. Grease manufacturers have made a huge number of formulations and in many cases, these three parameters may be identical, yet the actual formulations could be significantly different and in fact incompatible with each other. Not all greases are compatible. Even greases of the same soap composition may be incompatible with each other, resulting in a complete loss of lubrication in the component.

Grease Sampling

The next issue is related to sampling. The process of lubrication utilized in a greased system is different compared to a similar oil-lubricated system. Grease is designed to release the lubricating oil charge with the soap holding it into the area where the lubrication is required. As a result, the grease in the compartment will most likely be extremely non-homogeneous. If the grease is sampled from the outer surface or from the corners of the system may not been representative of the grease next to the area being lubricated. Taking a representative sample that will provide a valuable maintenance recommendation is a really challenging activity. There are some excellent resources available to combat this issue, I suggest reading the ASTM D7718 Practice for Obtaining In-Service Samples of Lubricating Grease.

Grease Testing

The final step of conventional condition monitoring and equipment maintenance is normally testing of the fluid. As noted above, a number of conventional grease tests, are designed to qualify grease manufacture. These tests, such as penetration and dropping point, may not give any significant information for reliability purposes. This may seem of great concern to most, but in-service grease testing is an area where most current research is focuses on.

Why Test Your Grease?

Grease is rather complicated compared to conventional lubricating system’s condition monitoring systems. You might ask, why bother? Really, it comes down to cost. Grease is generally more expensive than the equivalent lubricant, sometimes by a factor of 10 or more. In addition, a large number of grease systems are designed to last a much longer periods between re-greasing compared to some conventional oil lubrication systems. As a result there is a real financial gain to be found from obtaining effective maintenance reliability recommendations.

POLARIS Laboratories® will be adding grease to our fluid analysis capabilities in the coming months. Stay tuned!

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

Published March 21, 2019

Harsh Environments Halting Production?

Harsh operating conditions, extreme load variations and the high-dollar costs involved in downtime and equipment replacement make fluid analysis a necessary part of doing business in the mining industry. Routine testing identifies small problems before they become major failures allowing you to meet the high demands of your customers on time and on budget.

The heavy-duty equipment required by mining applications is often exposed to extreme, uncontrollable environmental factors for long periods of time, yet is still expected to maintain maximum performance levels. Contamination and wear are imminent and when left unchecked, can halt production in a heartbeat.

Condition Monitoring

Monitoring the condition of both the fluid and the unit through analysis identifies wear-causing contaminants and their effect on component performance. Monitoring the condition of coolant along with engine oil creates a clearer picture of what’s occurring in the engine. Sampling frequency should be based on the unit’s criticality to production, as well as the costs involved in replacement or repair.

  • Is Your Diesel Engine Protected?
    • Routinely monitoring a diesel engine oil’s viscosity, as well as its ability to neutralize acids and disperse and suspend soot particles produced during combustion, can indicate if anti-wear additive and dispersant/detergent levels are providing sufficient engine protection.
  • What’s Wearing on Your Gear Systems/Wheel Motors?
    • Although contamination by dirt and water should be closely monitored in manual/auto transmissions, electric wheel motor bearings, differentials, final drives and planetaries, the biggest concern for these systems is the type of wear occurring.
  • Is Your Hydraulic System Adequate?
    • Hydraulic systems, including automatic powershift transmissions, require the fluid’s viscosity to be low enough to minimize friction loss, yet high enough to prevent fluid leakage and provide satisfactory protection against wear. It should have good oxidation stability to prevent sludge from forming, sufficient water separability and air release properties and resistance to foaming.

Learn how you can reduce the risks of unexpected failure by better protecting your equipment:

Maximize asset reliability and regain control of your production schedules with an effective fluid analysis program and partnership with POLARIS Laboratories®.

It costs so little to protect so much.

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Published March 12, 2019

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.
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Published  February 19, 2019