Posts

The Mystery of the Four Silent Killers

Establishing Goals

Recently I visited a mine that was interested in setting up a new account with POLARIS Laboratories®. One of the first questions I asked was, “What are the goals of your program?” I can’t say I was overly surprised when there was a moment of silence and pondering. While many of us realize there are benefits in performing fluid analysis, and know we want to be involved in a program, we seldom consider all the potential capabilities that a program can offer.

So why is establishing goals important? When many of us first started using fluid analysis, especially in mining, our goal was to simply monitor the health of the components and do what we could to prevent a catastrophic failure from occurring. After all, who wants to lose a core on a $300,000 engine and have an unplanned unscheduled service event happen? No one looks forward to explaining these events to upper management.

Today’s oil analysis capabilities offer a great deal more than just monitoring component health. With today’s technology and performing the proper test, we can monitor the condition of the oil, see if it is suitable for continued use, reduce the amount of used oil disposal, adjust our maintenance intervals and strategies, adjust component replacement schedules, improve forecasting and budgeting and increase component life hours. We have not even begun to touch on other benefits, such as coolant and fuel testing.

However, accomplishing these goals may require additional testing, which costs more. Can you afford not to?

I would like for you to consider a recent case study conducted by POLARIS Laboratories®. Customers who were actively involved in their fluid analysis program realized a 25:1 return on investment – for every dollar spent on fluid analysis their return was 25 dollars! In many of the studies, specific to mining, the return was as high as 40:1!

Have you considered the cost savings if you could double your oil drain intervals? The savings go way beyond the cost of the oil. Think about the savings in maintenance man-hours, the increase in equipment availability and utilization, the reduction in waste disposal. What would be your savings if you could increase component life hours by just 50 percent or prevent that next catastrophic failure from occurring?

Goals, my friends, are so very important to establish. If you do not establish these goals upfront and do not have the appropriate testing set up to match these goals, your program will never reach its full potential. If goals and testing do not match, one of two things are going to happen: You are paying for testing that you do not need, or the very test you are paying for will not help you meet your goals. Goals change, and therefore your testing may need to change with it. Even if you have an established, mature testing program in place, today may be the day to take another look and ensure the testing you are paying for is everything you want it to be.

If you need assistance setting realistic, achievable goals for you oil analysis program, feel free to contact us to get moving in the right direction.

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

Published August 27, 2014

Experience Yields Proven Results


Have you ever faced a moment in your fluid analysis program where you needed expert help to solve a problem? It can be hard to find someone with up-to-date, firsthand knowledge of both your industry and the equipment you are using. Thankfully, POLARIS Laboratories® can help.

For more than 30 years, my career was in heavy equipment maintenance and maintenance management. I have been using oil analysis since 1983; however, it was not until I was employed in the mining industry that I really gained the appreciation of the many benefits that a quality oil analysis program could offer, including some I simply was not familiar with before.

I’ve worked at all levels: The mechanic that pulled the samples, the maintenance planner that reviewed the results, the QA/QC coordinator that looked for improvements, the business improvement team leader and as a member of a global mining heavy equipment users group that developed best practices and policies. I like to think during that time I developed a true understanding of fluid analysis from hands-on all the way up to the strategic level.

Just like all of the members of our Field Services Team, I combine my “customer” experience with my understanding of POLARIS Laboratories® various tests and capabilities to recommend a test combination to best match the customer’s goals. Whether it’s over the phone, in a conference call, or at one of our private trainings, you can rest assured that we have your best interest in mind, both as your fluid analysis provider and as someone who used to turn wrenches and wade through a pile of reports.

This mixture of experiences, I believe, has allowed me to gain a unique perspective of managing a quality fluid analysis program, and this new career path has given me a greater insight into the world of fluid analysis. I have now had the opportunity to see and work with the laboratory and gain new perspectives and I am excited for the opportunity to share this with you.

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

Published August 8, 2014