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

Shipping Samples: How to Guide

So you’ve successfully taken your oil sample, what next? Ship it to the laboratory, of course. It’s important to ship the sample as soon as possible after you collect it – don’t let your samples pile up and ship a large amount at a time.

After you’ve submitted the sample’s information via online sample submission in HORIZON (or hand-written paper form), use the corresponding label to place on the sample bottle.

  1. Take the sample from our equipment while it’s running or within 30 minutes of shut down and do not overfill the jar.
  2. Close the sample jar as soon as you collect the sample.
  3. Hand tighten only – the bottles have a wedge seal so no tools are needed.
  4. Depending on what kit you ordered, place the sample jar(s) into the appropriate shipping container.
    1. Appropriate sized box, envelope mailer or hard plastic mailer.
  5. Label the outside of the package with the laboratory address, your return address and apply the appropriate postage.

It’s that easy! Check out our latest Technical Bulletin for more detailed, step-by-step instructions:

Want more helpful shipping tips? Check out our blog 4 Tips for Shipping Success.

 

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

Published December 11, 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

Fluid Analysis: Cost vs. Price

Customers and potential customers often ask “what is the cost per sample?” This information is important for purchasing and supply chain reasons, but what is even more important is the savings a well-managed fluid analysis program can bring to any organization. Organizations that associate items with only cost will have little or no Return on Investment (ROI) – whereas those utilizing a complete fluid analysis program with value-added services can see an average ROI of 20:1, with some experiencing levels as high as 45:1.

Where Can You Save More?

Many fluid analysis program decisions are based solely on cost or price per sample as the major factor used to decide a supplier. What is often not considered are some of the unknown costs associated with a fluid analysis program. These include:

  • Day-to-day operational coordination to manage the program
  • Chance of incorrect or inefficient reporting
  • Manual, traditional, handwritten sample submission

It’s important to know these additional costs, how to leverage available solutions and maximize your ROI. Traditional handwritten submission forms can take up to five more minutes than submitting your sample online for via the mobile app or automated submissions from CMMS systems (check out DataConnect).

Take Advantage of Value-Add Services

True savings can only be measured by monitoring the efficiencies that your fluid analysis provider can offer you in your maintenance and reliability programs, and the services they provide integrate and enhance your strategies. POLARIS Laboratories® offers many value-add services included in the sample price – to help you decrease your operational costs.

  • Documented, transparent turnaround time
  • Sample status notifications and online tracking
  • Mobile app and online sample submission
  • CMMS integration (DataConnect)
  • Certified, experienced data analysis team
  • Automated, customizable data management reports
  • Hierarchical report structure and asset watch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Published October 30. 2018

VIDEO: How to Bridge the Gap with Filter Debris Analysis

Oil filters are designed to remove contaminants and particles that would have otherwise damaged the system – but did you know this also removes the evidence that data analysts can use to provide in-depth maintenance recommendations? Dive deeper into the particles, contamination and evidence of wear that are caught in the oil filter by sending in your oil filter for Filter Debris Analysis.

FDA Dives Deeper Into Contamination Causes

Standard oil analysis (Elemental Analysis by ICP) can provide you with information on what’s going on in your equipment – but, there are limits to what ICP can detect. ICP can only detect fine particles of approximately 10 microns or smaller – leaving larger particles unidentified. Filter Debris Analysis helps identify larger wear particle debris as well as outside contamination. The wear morphology, metal type(s) and contamination types can be identified to help determine the possible source of the wear or contamination.

How is FDA Performed?

The FDA process involves flushing the filter, extracting the particles and performing several tests (including micropatch and analytical ferrography) to identify wear particles. Check out the video below to see how we perform Filter Debris Analysis at POLARIS Laboratories®:

Learn more about Filter Debris Analysis by reading our technical bulletin.

Interested in adding FDA to your current fluid analysis program? Contact customer service or your account manager.

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

Published October 9, 2018