Kick Off the New Year With A Review of Your Program

As we move into 2018, could you answer these questions?

What was the return on your fluid analysis investment in 2017?

Did you meet the goals of your program in 2017?

Beginning a new year is a great time to reevaluate your program and its goals. Outlined below are a few aspects of your fluid analysis program that should be reviewed:


Did you provide feedback regarding the accuracy of recommendations in the sample reports? This can be a vital part of a continuous improvement program. For those of you using HORIZON®, you are probably familiar with the “Take Action” function. This is a great place to record your findings and communicate with the data analysis team and let us know if:

  • Were the recommendations spot-on?
  • Did you find additional issues?

By providing this feedback to the lab, future recommendations will be more detailed and accurate and will start you on the path of continuous improvement. Take a moment to capture the cost savings associated to the report in the “Estimated Savings” field. This will allow you to run a report later to determine the return on investment of your program.


The need for training goes beyond the person who reviews reports or oversees the program. Everyone that handles fluids, repairs equipment, obtains fluid samples or is in any way accountable for the cost of the program should receive formal training on fluid analysis.

  • Have you included proper training of personnel as part of your goals for 2018?
  • Has everyone in your organization received training?


As we kick off 2018, I encourage you to share with all your team members the goals of your fluid analysis program and where you are today in relation to the goals. In order to maximize your current program, continue sharing the progress with your team. You will truly be surprised at how quickly you will obtain your goals when everyone on the team is aware of the progress and realizes what a vital part each of them plays in achieving the goals.

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

Published January 16, 2018

It’s All In The Equipment List

Did you know that reviewing and updating your overall equipment list is a simple way to make your fluid analysis program more effective and efficient? Cleaning, updating and organizing your equipment list can also alert you of problems early before they can turn critical or cause a catastrophic event.

Overall Review

It’s good to do an overall review of your entire equipment list often, this ensures everything is up-to-date and accurate. It’s simple to do – just follow these steps:

  1. Using the data extraction tool under the “Data Management” tab on HORIZON®, download your list of equipment.
  2. Review the list for any updates that need to be made. While reviewing your equipment, here are some things to look for:
    • Equipment that needs to be merged together
    • Equipment that needs to be marked as inactive
    • Any other information that needs updated
  3. Once you have completed your review and filled in any information that is missing or any equipment that needed merged, send the equipment list to our Customer Service team at We will work on getting those changes made within our system in time for them to be reflected in your next round of sampling.

Making Updates

One thing to note – the above steps can be used for doing an overall equipment review. At any time, you can go under the “Equipment Management” tab on HORIZON and click on “Equipment List” and make updates to your equipment within HORIZON as well.

Adding Equipment

Do you have a new group of equipment to add to your account? You can go to the Technical Library and download the Equipment List template. Once you have filled this out, send it to us and we will get everything loaded and updated in our system for you.

Staying on top of your equipment list can help you maximize the benefits of your fluid analysis program and make sure your program as efficient as it can be.

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

Published January 9, 2018

Out With The Old and In With Advanced Coolant Testing

“Out with the old and in with the new.” To help start 2018 new and free of problems – and engine failure – make sure your cooling system is operating correctly with advanced coolant testing.

Prevent Engine Failures

Approximately 50 percent of preventable engine failures can be traced back to problems in the cooling system. Advanced coolant testing can be used not only when trying to detect the root cause of cooling system issues, but can be added to testing anytime to help make sure the cooling system is working correctly before issues arise. With regularly performing advanced coolant testing on the cooling system early, concerns can be addressed before a snowball effect of corrosion, loss of heat transfer and ultimately, engine failure occurs.

Ion Chromatography

Advanced coolant testing will involve Ion Chromatography, or “IC” testing. The IC test detects degradation acids that can form naturally as the glycol breaks down with age or may form due to issues with the cooling system. The IC will also detect contaminates, chloride and sulfate that may have entered the system without you knowing of an issue. Contaminates found by IC testing can form acids and create corrosion to the system rapidly. Once degradation acids form, the glycol will continue to break down, creating more and more acids that can cause severe corrosion of the cooling system components and will lead to engine failures. Two of the most common issues seen on the engine side due to issues with the cooling system include exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) failures and oxidized oil, shortening the life of the oil and increasing wear contamination.

See Trends

Performing advanced coolant testing regularly will also let you see trending results. This will help indicate possible issues such as air leaks, combustion gas leaks, hot spots or even electrical ground issues. With the ability to trend results, an increase in contaminates or degradation acids would indicate an issue or issues are occurring in the system.

For more information, view our Technical Bulletin and reach out to your laboratory to have advanced coolant testing added to your coolant sample.

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

Published January 2, 2018

4 Reasons to Start the New Year Right

2018 is just around the corner, start off on the right foot and re-start your fluid analysis program.

If you aren’t doing fluid analysis, you should be. And you should be doing it with POLARIS Laboratories®.

We provide insights into your maintenance by testing your equipment’s engine oil, hydraulic oil, coolant and diesel fuel. Extend your drain intervals to save money in your maintenance budget by starting fluid analysis program with us. I’ve highlighted four key reasons to start your year off with POLARIS Laboratories®:

  1. Sampling on The Go: The HORIZON® mobile app places the power of the web data management application in the palm of your hand. The app allows you to quickly submit sample data and read reports from mobile devices.
  2. DataConnect: Conveniently have all your data in one system with an automatic import of your HORIZON sample data into your own data system.
  3. Trusted Laboratory: POLARIS Laboratories® is accredited in accordance with the requirements of ISO 17025:2005.
  4. 24-Hour Assistance: Our customer service representatives and data analysts are available 24-hours a day, Monday through Friday to assist you.

Learn more about managing an effective fluid analysis program by partnering with POLARIS Laboratories®.

Ready to get started? Fill out this form and we will contact you.


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

Published December 5, 2017

Compliance is Key

Being compliant is not only important to properly manage your PM’s, but also to uncover issues within the equipment before it becomes catastrophic. Compliance is key when it comes to managing an effective fluid analysis program.

Not taking a timely sample from each actively-used equipment will lead to performance issues and potentially downtime, which will result in more expensive repair costs and lost revenue.

Samples should be taken on time and while the equipment is in use to get the most accurate assessment of the overall health of the equipment. This will lead to extended equipment lifespans and more uptime and savings, increasing your overall ROI.

One way to ensure your program is compliant and you’re getting the most out of your ROI is by participating in a Program Review. We take your existing data and compare it to our recommendations and industry averages to give you a clear look at the compliance of your program.

The Program Review looks at:

  • Component Compliance – How many components do you have on file and, of those, how many are you actively sampling?
  • Frequency Compliance – How frequently are you submitting samples?
  • Sample Severity – How many of your samples fall into a high-severity ranking?
  • Shipping Time – What is the average time it takes for us to receive your samples?
  • Goals, Tools and Training – Are you getting the most out of the available trainings and technology?

For more information, check out our Blog on Program Reviews.

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

Published November 28, 2017


Battle of Base Number Testing: D2896 vs. D4739

We have two ASTM Base Number analysis testing methods: D2896 and D4739. D2896 measures the Total Base and includes all sources of Base Number including detergent, dispersant, antiwear and antioxidant additives. On the other hand, D4739 measures the ‘hard base’ such as that from over-based detergents.

What’s the difference?

In addition to ASTM D2896, the Total Base Number of a lubricant can be tested by the procedure detailed in ASTM D4739. There are subtle, yet important differences to consider when looking at Total Base Number data from each. 

Click here to learn more.


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

Published November 21, 2017

The Underwater Test: Why You Should Test Your Equipment After a Flood

Sometimes it’s hard to plan for destructive natural disasters – such as Hurricane Harvey along the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast and the subsequent flooding. So, what do you do if your equipment is exposed to the disaster’s effects and flooding?

Based on years of experience in helping companies save their equipment and extend the equipment’s lifecycle, quite simply we recommend taking action.

Flooding can result in water contamination and can cause corrosion and oxidation which can be extremely harmful for your equipment and, in turn, can cause holds in production and loss of business. How will you know if you need to test your equipment’s fluids to see if any damage was caused and determine if potential maintenance is needed?

First, check for signs of water ingression or leaking. Search for answers to key common challenges, such as:

  • Is the high-water mark above the containers?
  • Is dried mud crusted on the container?
  • Are caps, lids and vents still in place?
  • Are desiccant filters saturated?

After you check for signs of water ingression, the next steps for testing depend on the type of fluid:

Oils and Lubricants

Check the fluid itself for signs of water contamination. A milky appearance indicates the oil additives have emulsified as much water as they could, and there is likely more dissolved in the fluid. An oil analysis test from POLARIS Laboratories® includes a water test, and elemental analysis can identify dirt contamination from mud or salt from sea water.


Pressure caps on coolant containers typically prevent floodwaters from entering cooling systems. However, it is still worth the time to perform a field test using a refractometer or paper test strip to determine if the glycol/water ratio is still in balance. If you suspect contamination, a coolant analysis test from POLARIS Laboratories® will determine if the external water and dirt requires the cooling system to be drained and/or flushed.

Bulk Tanks

Bulk tanks typically have water drain-off ports to remove free water that settles to the bottom of the tank, but the fluids should be checked for water as well as using the techniques above. A “thief bomb” or “bacon bomb” may be needed to collect the sample. Diesel fuel and new lubricant testing from POLARIS Laboratories® will determine if the fluid quality is adequate for future use.

It’s crucial for any contaminated oils, coolants or diesel fuel to go through analysis testing when flooding occurs. Testing can prevent future issues from arising and can help determine what equipment maintenance is needed to resume work.

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

Published September 6, 2017

Testing Your Oil Conditions

Contamination, component wear and fluid degradation make oil changes necessary. However, we have a choice when to change it.

Maintenance managers can set oil drains based on the equipment manufacturer’s recommendations, but that doesn’t necessarily account for unique environmental conditions. A heavy duty diesel engine on a piece of mobile equipment at a surface mine has different operational conditions than the same engine model in a standby power generation application. Oil analysis from POLARIS Laboratories® provides the scientific data to determine if a drain is necessary or if the drain interval can be extended.

But oil analysis by POLARIS Laboratories® covers more than just extending drains. Tests can determine abnormal component wear and fluid degradation. Here are a few of the oil conditions that are measured through our oil testing:

  1. Wear Metals: Components wear as they operate. This wear debris is abrasive and will beget additional component wear as the abrasive particles are circulated via the lubricant. The quantity and type of metal in the lubricant can identify how much wear is occurring and which part is wearing.
  2. Viscosity:  A measure of the lubricant’s resistance to flow at temperature. It is considered the most important property of a lubricant because it indicates film strength. Lubricants need to be within a certain viscosity range to provide adequate lubrication and prevent wear.
  3. Water Content: The amount of water contamination present. Water causes component corrosion and is a catalyst for oxidation.
  4. Soot: Particulate created as a by-product of incomplete combustion. Excessive soot levels will cause abrasive component wear.
  5. Fuel Dilution: Amount of unburned fuel in the lubricant. Excessive fuel dilution lowers the flash point and the viscosity, which results in friction-related wear.
  6. Acid Number: Used to measure the relative amount of acids in the lubricant, which can lead to lubricant degradation, and the potential for increased component wear.
  7. Base Number: A measure of a lubricant’s alkaline reserve, which can indicate the ability to neutralize acids.
  8. Oxidation: A way to measure the breakdown of the lubricant due to age and operating conditions. Oxidation promotes the formation of acids, which leads to lubricant degradation, and the potential for increased component wear.
  9. Nitration: Degradation that occurs when nitrogen oxides react with the lubricant primarily from ventilation (blow-by). Nitration leads to formation of sludge and varnish.

Of course, these are basic tests. Many different types of tests are available for special lubricant types or to gather more information on contamination found by another test.

Oil testing is even more helpful when the lubrication is used with other in-line fluids, such as coolant and diesel fuel. Engines use all three fluids, and a problem with one can affect another. Adding coolant analysis and diesel fuel analysis will uncover problems that would normally go undetected with oil analysis alone.

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

Published May 2, 2017

Identify Issues Early

It is important to identify maintenance issues early. Mammoet, a specialist in lifting, transporting, installing and decommissioning large and heavy structures, experienced this firsthand when it noticed issues with a large crane during operation.

The company, focused on equipment uptime, preventive maintenance and sustainability, have made reliability a critical component of the business. With this pivotal focus on operational efficiency, the company turned to fluid analysis to help diagnose the problem with the crane and ensure the essential piece of equipment operated efficiently.

Read the full case study.


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

Published April 11, 2017

We’re at ConExpo!

What makes ConExpo different than all other trade shows? Size! With over 2,500,000 square feet of exhibition space, it can be difficult to find your way around. Don’t let that be your excuse for not stopping by the POLARIS Laboratories® booth!

To help you find your way, visit our ConExpo page. There, you’ll find a map of Bronze Hall that’ll lead you straight to Booth B92713.

Our team has put together a number of true stories that we look forward to sharing with you. Make sure you take a moment to ask our team how they:

  • Saved a major equipment dealer $75K on a brand new transmission
  • Decreased a Fortune 500 company’s cost of repairs by 40%
  • Helped a leading coal company decrease its critical fluid analysis reports by 15%

We look forward to addressing these and any other questions you may have! For those of you not attending, contact us at to stay connected.

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

Published March 8, 2017