Routine fluid analysis is critical to managing asset reliability in any marine application. High performance expectations, a variety of operating environments and the constant presence of water make marine equipment very different from land-based equipment. Routine testing and analysis can extend fluid and equipment life and identify small problems before they become costly failures.
Detecting moisture and abrasive contamination before damage occurs is a major benefit of engine oil analysis, but fuel used in off-shore applications can affect the lubrication as well. Marine diesel engines often use high-sulfur “bunker fuel” or “heavy fuel oil”, which can form acids that attack the engine. Oil analysis will see if the lubrication can protect the engine from acids, has the right viscosity and is free from soot.
There are a variety of cooling system applications used in marine vessels, and the proper coolant mixture varies depending on the application and operating conditions of the vessel. Our coolant experts will adjust their analysis based on the application, monitor for chemical reactions taking place and contamination. They will advise when coolant treatment is needed and determine when action needs to be taken to prevent failure.
The biggest concern for gear systems is the type of wear occurring in the system, which is often caused by dirt and water. Regular testing designed specifically for gear systems will help our analysts determine if metal particles in the lubricant are from normal wear or if they are warning signs of a catastrophic failure.
Marine hydraulic systems operate under demanding conditions. For the system to function properly over its expected lifecycle, hydraulic fluid must be free of contamination – and there are a lot of potential contaminants in open water. Water, particles and even air can contaminate hydraulic systems. Testing hydraulic fluids will check viscosity, fluid cleanliness (particle contamination) and water content.
A broken seal by the propeller can contaminate lubricating fluids in stern tube bearings with water. Testing can identify small leaks before catastrophic failure occurs.
Powered by light distillate fuel and operating under difficult conditions, auxiliary engines face different challenges compared to the main propulsion engines. Detecting moisture and abrasive contamination before damage occurs is still important, but extreme temperatures in off-shore conditions can affect the lubrication as well. Testing examines viscosity and soot to see if the lubrication can protect the engine, if fresh lubricant needs to be added or if the sump needs to be drained.