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

Take Action & See the Savings

Have You Taken Action?

One of the most under-used and yet, most powerful tools that POLARIS Laboratories® data management system, HORIZON®, can provide our customers with the Action Taken function. Dive deeper into your sample data and recommendations and be able to:

  • Complete a work order from the recommended action item from the sample
  • Learn if you did or did not locate a problem in your equipment
  • Provide comments back to the laboratory based on your findings
  • Customize your results by narrowing down by date, severity or fluid type
  • Put in an estimated savings if you did find a problem

Run the Report an See Proven Savings

Want to see how much you’ve saved? Once you have completed action taken items you can run the Action Taken Summary Report out of HORIZON®. This report provides you with a summary of the actions that have been taken and allows you to spot trends and commonalities in issues you may be seeing, as well as provide you with total estimated savings that can prove the savings of your program. To learn more about how this report is run out of HORIZON, watch the how-to video below:

If you would like to see a demonstration of this tool, please reach out to your Account Manager.


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

Published September 18, 2018

How Gasoline Engine Technology Affects Fuel Dilution

Do you have a newer vehicle? Are your reports showing high fuel dilution?

Changes in gasoline engine technology, along with direct injection, have affected the internal combustion process in a gasoline engine. But, what does this mean for oil analysis? We’ve received a large amount of inquiries and questions regarding this topic from our customers. Click below to download the newest Technical Bulletin to learn the differences in engine technology and how it can affect your fluid analysis results.

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

Published September 4, 2018

How to Get Your Sample Results Faster

Are you wanting to receive your sample results and maintenance recommendations faster? There are many steps you can take to ensure you get your results in a timely manner – so you can quickly take action to save your equipment.

  1. Use HORIZON®
    • Register your equipment and components online or mobile app through our HORIZON data management system online or use the mobile app
    • Log your fluid sample (and barcode information) in HORIZON and submit it with the equipment information
    • Apply a barcode to your sample and send it in the mail to one of our laboratory locations
    • When we receive your sample in the mail, the barcode is scanned and automatically pulls up the sample and equipment information you submitted via HORIZON
    • Submitting your sample information online provides us with all the necessary information ahead of time – allowing us to send your results back to you faster
  2. Submit samples on the go
    • Using the convenient HORIZON mobile app for Android or Apple for mobile devices, you can submit samples right at your equipment, immediately after you take the sample
    • Submitting your sample information via the mobile app requires less fields of information
    • Read more about the benefits of online sample submission by reading Take Five and Submit Your Sample
  3. Eliminate errors if sending manually
    • If you choose not to register and submit your sample information via HORIZON, you will need to fill out the form by hand
      • It’s best to use an quick-dry ink pen to fill out the paperwork (make sure the writing is legible and the paperwork isn’t damaged from from oil spills). This will eliminate the need for sample processing to decipher handwriting or dirty paperwork – resulting in inputting incorrect information into our system.
    • Send in the sample information form with the sample to one of our laboratory locations
  4. Pull the best sample

In the maintenance field, timing is key – it can be the deciding factor whether your equipment breaks down and you have unexpected downtime. At POLARIS Laboratories®, we are continually making improvements so you can get your results back faster. After all, your equipments’ health and lifecycle depend on it.

If you have any questions about sending in your sample or need help setting up a HORIZON account, contact us at 317.808.3750 or email

4 Tips to Help You Become a Sampling Pro

Since we introduced our new 3 oz. sample jar that is better equipped for sampling, we’ve seen a drastic decrease in leaking, messy bottles arriving at our laboratory – meaning you get your results back faster.

There are many benefits to the, somewhat still new, 3 oz. sample jar we released to our customers in the beginning of 2017. These benefits include translucency, higher temperature threshold and cap-locking with a wedge seal feature to prevent leaks.

Below are some extra tips to make sure you’re properly using the bottle like a pro and sampling correctly, so you can get the most accurate and reliable test results.

  1. Pull samples utilizing safe sampling practices [see our blog Fluid Analysis 101: 5 Tips for Collecting the Best Sample] and proper protective equipment. While the 3 oz. sample jar is designed to withstand higher fluid temperatures, safety should always be top of mind.
  2. Once the fluid sample has been taken, inspect the jar for particles – now that you can see the fluid that was pulled out of your equipment (due to the translucency of the jar), be aware of what is floating inside so when your results come back, proper action can be taken.
  3. Fill the sample bottle only to the designated “Fill Line” – no higher.
    • If there is fluid in the neck of the bottle, air may not release causing the cap to not seal properly.
  4. Do not over tighten (torque) the sample cap. The cap’s unique locking feature helps to ensure that it doesn’t loosen when the sample jar cools and the wedge seal prevents leaking.

We hope these extra tips will come in handy when you’re taking your next sample. Here at POLARIS Laboratories®, we’re continuously making improvements and providing useful resources to help our customers maximize their fluid analysis program.

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

Published August 6, 2018