Tag Archive for: fluid analysis

What is a Program Champion?


Program champions are the individuals responsible for ensuring your fluid analysis program is effective. The right program champion can provide you with the continuous leadership, visibility and accountability you need to ensure your fluid analysis program is headed in the right direction.

When choosing a program champion, make sure you identify an individual who is committed to your program and capable of overseeing the people, the process and the technology from start to finish. Choosing the right champion for your team is a necessary step to ensure your equipment remains up-and-running.

If you’re interested in securing your program success, I recommend you start developing your program champion today. To help your champion make the transition, we’ve put together a checklist to guide them through the right actions to take at start-up, daily, weekly, monthly and semi-annually.


Please feel free to download the program champion checklist. I also recommend you attend our February 3 webinar on the impact of a program champion. This 40 minute presentation is now open for registration. If you have any additional questions, please contact one of our technical business consultants, Henry A. Neicamp  at hneicamp@polarislabs.com or Randy Clark at rclark@polarislabs.com.


Proven Impact. Proven Uptime. Proven Savings.
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Interested in Starting Your Fluid Analysis Program?


Change. Some people love it, some people hate it. It doesn’t matter what type of person you are, making the switch to a POLARIS Laboratories® fluid analysis program is an easy change to make.

We’ve set up our onboarding process so you can easily transfer your existing program from another laboratory or even start a brand new program.

Making the switch is easy.

Phase 1:

  • Check to make sure the test package(s) you order will give you enough information to accomplish your goals. Make sure the tests are appropriate for all of your equipment and fluid types.
  • Sign and return the proposal as soon as possible.
  • Designate one or more staff members to oversee your fluid analysis program and mentor staff during the startup.

Phase 2:

  • Submit invoicing addresses, shipping addresses, account information, packaging requirements and contact information.
  • Fill out a spreadsheet with component information for each piece of equipment. Historical sampling data can be transferred to our system so established trending isn’t lost.

Phase 3:

  • Identify and train staff on accurate sampling methods. Educate team members on the use of your fluid analysis program, HORIZON®, HORIZON Mobile and sample submission.
  • Order the sample jars, labels, mailing containers, tubing, pumps and valves needed to help you take samples. Activate our automatic resupply feature to never run out of consumable materials.
  • Establish a regular timeline to submit samples of a component and coordinate it with your PM intervals.

That’s it! Once you’ve completed these step, you’re officially a POLARIS Laboratories® partner. If you’re ready to make the switch, feel free to contact us today.

We’ll help you put this plan into action!


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

Shipping Samples: How to Avoid Leaking Bottles


Are you seeing dark spots on your scanned sample paperwork? Was your sample not run because there was not enough fluid? These are both signs your sample may have leaked in transit. Lucky for you, there are a few simple actions you can take to both prevent samples from leaking and improve your testing experience.

The following questions can help you determine the cause of your sample leaks and help you make improvements.

Are you checking to see if your bottle cap is secure before sending?
When samples are filled with a hot fluid and the lid is secured, the bottle will expand from the heat. Once it has cooled, your cap may no longer be tightly secure. Before you place your sample in the mailer, check to see if each lid is tightly closed. This will help prevent both damaged paperwork and fluid loss.

Are you submitting your samples online via HORIZON®?
If you are using a paper copy of the sample submission form to submit your sample, a leaky bottle can spill on the paper, resulting in hard to read paperwork and processing errors. Using online or mobile sample submission can help you avoid this issue and ensure your sample information is readable by the POLARIS Laboratories® team.

Are you only submitting paper forms?
If you choose to submit your samples with a paper form, instead of HORIZON, it is especially important your bottles are cool and caps are secure. This can protect your paperwork from a leak, ensuring your samples are processed efficiently and accurately. When submitting the paper form, be sure to take advantage of the pocket on the outside of the envelope mailer.

Are you properly packing your paperwork?
The most effective way of avoiding a sample leak is by taking the time to properly pack your samples for transit. Be sure to place your paperwork in the pocket on the outside of your envelope mailer. This will help ensure your paperwork is safe and dry should the sample leak. Double check your work and make sure you are carefully writing all information.

Are you unable to read scanned sample paperwork? Seeing spots?
If you are seeing dark spots on your scanned sample paperwork, your sample is most likely leaking in transit. Check with your maintenance team to verify everyone is following proper procedure when shipping samples. This includes: allowing samples to cool and double checking all sample bottle lids are tightly secured. Submitting samples online or storing your paperwork away from the sample, when placed in the mailer, can also help you prevent damaged paperwork and delayed results.

For more information on sample submission, check out my recent blog post on the Dos and Don’ts of Sample Submission.

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

Engine Specific Test Packages: Basic vs. Advanced


When starting your oil analysis program, deciding which test package to use for your engine can be intimidating. You have to make an important decision between testing the condition of your oil vs. the life of your oil.

Maintenance professionals concerned with the condition of their oil usually go with a basic package that includes the testing required for analysts to detect basic equipment wear and lubricant contamination. The package includes:

  • Elemental Metals Analysis (24 by ICP)
  • Fuel Dilution % (Diesel/Gasoline Only)
  • Water by Crackle (estimate)
  • Fuel Soot % (Diesel/Gasoline Only)
  • Viscosity at 40 degrees or 100 degrees Celsius

In contrast, the advanced package is usually chosen by experienced maintenance professionals who are concerned with extending their drain. The package includes the testing required for our analysts to detect basic equipment wear, lubricant contamination and lubricant life:

  • Elemental Metals Analysis (24 by ICP)
  • Fuel Dilution % (Diesel/Gasoline Only)
  • Water by Crackle (estimate)
  • Fuel Soot % (Diesel/Gasoline Only)
  • Viscosity at 40 degree or 100 degrees Celsius
  • Oxidation
  • Base Number
  • Nitration

The three additional tests performed in advanced packages are used to determine the maximum drain interval. Maintenance teams often have these tests performed because of the high cost of savings that comes with extended drains.

The first test, oxidation, measures the breakdown of a lubricant due to age and operating conditions. It prevents additives from performing properly, promotes the formation of acids and increases viscosity.

Testing for nitration indicates excessive “blow-by” from cylinder walls and/or compression rings. It also indicates the presence of nitric acid, which speeds up oxidation. Nitration is primarily a problem in natural gas engines.

The base number test measures a lubricant’s alkaline reserve or ability to neutralize acid. As the base number depletes, the lubricant’s ability to effectively neutralize acids is diminished. A base number of at least 25% of the new oil’s value is recommended to protect engine parts.

In addition, the advanced package can be tailored to fit the needs of the program, whether the team is more focused on preventive or predictive maintenance.

If you have any questions about which test package best fits your program needs, please feel free to contact our team at getstarted@polarislabs.com.


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

Realizing Your Return on Investment, One Step at a Time


Whether your goal is to save money on equipment repairs or eliminate any excessive downtime, fluid analysis is an incredible diagnostic tool for enhancing maintenance programs. Used correctly, it can result in increased productivity, reduced maintenance costs and a serious boost in profits.

With the right combination of expert input and high level software, maximizing the Return On Investment (ROI) of your fluid analysis program is simple. If you’re ready to take action to discover your ROI, follow these ten simple steps.

  1. Set goals you can reach. If you’re not sure what your goals should be, our team at POLARIS Laboratories® can help you set manageable targets for your business.
  2. Designate a program champion. In addition to an experienced, well-trained team of maintenance professionals, a program champion can serve in a leadership role. Under their guidance, your program is sure to stay on track.
  3. Decide what to test. Make sure your test package reflects your maintenance needs. Whether you’re looking to extend drains or reduce downtime, your tests should reflect those predetermined goals.
  4. Establish a sampling frequency. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to sampling frequencies. When deciding your sampling frequency, be sure to take into account the recommendations of the original equipment manufacturer, the equipment’s environment as well as well as the timing of the sample.
  5. Have a complete view of your equipment. The more you know about your equipment, the more information you can supply. This information is critical as data analysts work to provide in-depth comments and recommendations.
  6. Take action to minimize your sample turnaround time. Pre-logging your sample information online, providing clear instructions and tightly closing all sample lids are all good ways to help ensure a fast turnaround time.
  7. Once you receive your reports, take action! Receiving the reports is not enough, you must review the data analyst’s recommendations and take action to address critical reports. This could mean anything from ordering more testing, re-sampling, monitoring a unit or taking immediate action.
  8. Organize your data. Use a data management system to run reports and identify trends within your data.
  9. Continue monitoring your fluid analysis system. Make sure you’re taking appropriate action and providing feedback to the laboratory on actions taken.
  10. Choose the right laboratory. Choose an accredited laboratory that fits your program needs.

Keeping clear, detailed accounts of your management reports and your actions taken will not only help you realize the ROI of fluid analysis but also help you show others the value of your program.

For more information on maximizing the ROI from your fluid analysis program, download this technical bulletin.


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

Summer Troubles: Testing Your Coolant

Do you have problems with your equipment’s coolant? While addressing coolant issues may seem as easy as changing your coolant, it’s actually a bit more complicated than that.

Even if you change your coolant frequently, issues with your equipment can and will persist without any visible indicators. If your equipment has inconsistent levels of fluid properties, you’re not addressing the root cause of the issue by changing the fluid. Only routine fluid analysis can direct you to the real cause of the problem.

When it comes to improving your equipment health, it’s essential you have all the information. Not convinced? The following consequences may be enough to change your mind.

Antifreeze/Glycol %:
Too high or low of a percent can cause issues, including: boiling coolant or the block may freeze, cavitation and corrosion, loss of heat transfer, pitted liners, and seals may fail.

If your coolant becomes acidic, it could cause corrosion on iron components, electrolysis pitting through liners, corrosive attack on engine block and possible corrosion protection chemicals precipitate out of solution.

Specific Conductance:
When this level is in excess, your coolant may lose the ability to resist carrying an electrical current between the dissimilar metals of an engine’s cooling system.

Total Metals:
Abnormal levels of metals is a sign of metal corrosion, liner pitting, and corrosion or erosion of any metal components.

By using fluid analysis to find the root cause of the problem, you can directly address your equipment issues. Learn more about how diagnosing coolant issues through fluid testing can help you protect your equipment by downloading this technical bulletin.

If you’re interested in adding coolant testing to your fluid analysis program, contact your account manager or speak with our customer service team.


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

Dos and Don’ts of Sample Submission


In a hurry to receive your sample results? The method you use to submit your sample for analysis has a significant impact on the speed in which your samples are received and processed by our team. At POLARIS Laboratories® we are working continuously to simplify the sample submission process, introducing a simple to use label and making sample submission available online via HORIZON®.

While these new methods have helped improve the overall process, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your samples arrive at the laboratory ready for processing!

Following these dos and don’ts will help you improve how you send your samples:


  1. Choose the correct sample bottle for your sample
  2. Make sure the cap on the bottle is tightly secured
  3. Follow these steps to fill out your EZ label
  4. Write clearly
  5. Fill out as much information about your sample as possible
  6. Send samples via UPS or FedEx for quicker turnaround time
  7. Take advantage of your carrier’s package tracking feature
  8. Take advantage of HORIZON


  1. Hurry! Speeding through the sample process could lead to mistakes
  2. Use a bottle not made for sampling
  3. Leave blanks in your sample information
  4. Forget to include the EZ label with your bottle (if you did not submit online)
  5. Send via USPS if you’re on deadline

Spending a few extra minutes correctly packaging and sending your sample will help ensure you receive your results in a timely manner as well as improve the maintenance recommendations you receive from our data analysts.

If you have any questions about your sampling methods or your order, please feel free to reach out to us at custserv@eoilreports.com.


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

Fluid Analysis Is Greener than You Think

We should all be aware of the impact we as humans have on the environment and want to protect our vital resources for future generations. The world population continues to grow, and for growth to be sustainable we must use less virgin products and capture more what we use for reuse. This is one of the reasons why I’m proud of the impact POLARIS Laboratories® has on the environment.

The fluid analysis industry helps our customers conserve natural resources. We provide customers with information about the remaining useful life of the fluids so they can use their lubricants and antifreeze to the fullest. These extended drain intervals allow the customers to go much farther than the manufactures’ recommendations in some cases. This saves the energy, raw materials and pollutants needed to produce new fluids and reduces millions of gallons of used oil and coolant needed to be disposed of.

In addition, the testing extends the life of the equipment itself. By taking action on the recommendations made by our data analysts, our customers prevent wear and reduce the chances of catastrophic breakdown. They get more miles traveled, hours of productivity and tons moved from their equipment than without our maintenance recommendations. Simply put, engines, transmissions and hydraulic systems last longer. The amount of steel and other metals no longer needed to make replacement equipment is staggering.

While POLARIS Laboratories® helps the environment through our customers; we also do our best to reduce the environmental impact of the testing we perform. We use solvents, plastic, glass and cardboard during the fluid analysis process, as well as the fluids sent in for testing. These items can harm the environment if not handled properly, so we have set up procedures to handle and dispose of these products responsibly. Nearly everything we use can be recycled.

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