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Have you ever gotten milk from the grocery and later opened it only to find it had already gone bad? Bought a carton of eggs and found a couple were cracked? These things happen. Even if 99.999 percent of the time everything is perfect, that .001 percent can pose a big risk to your health. Just like those eggs from the store, machine oil can be defective and pose risks to the health of your machinery.
The key is not to allow defective products into your machine systems—that’s where testing is mission-critical. In this article, we’ll walk you through the absolute must-checks before you put your new oil into service.
A Word on Filtration
While many facilities filter their oil, filtration only removes dirt and particles, not the dozens of other contaminants and potential issues that can lurk, hidden in your oils. As such, we highly recommend proper testing for your lubricants.
Some lubricant suppliers offer oil analysis services, wherein you could send your supplier a sample of newly delivered oil and have them test it. But there’s an inherent conflict of interest involved. While most are honorable, and you can trust them, it’s best to test at least some of the oil with an independent, third-party lab to confirm the results from your supplier’s lab.
Define Your Acceptable Quality Limit (AQL)
The first step in testing is to know what level of quality and consistency you need from your supplier—bottom line, you will get some defective oil, sometime. We do this using the acceptable quality limit (AQL) measure.
An (AQL) is the worst process average (a percentage) you can accept, prescribing the range of the number of defective components considered acceptable when random sampling those components during inspections.
Component defects fall into three categories (specified by the manufacturer):
What are your product quality controls? Is your AQL 95, 97 or 99.99 percent? As you set this, keep in mind small percentages on a large scale can create massive waste.
For example, the world’s biggest oil producer refines 241 million gallons of oil each day. With an AQL of 99.9 percent, that’s 241,000 gallons of defective oil per day—88 million gallons per year.
Bottom line, you can’t know your oil is acceptable if you don’t sample and test it, and you’ll need a nice, high quality standard that your supplier can still meet.
Once you’ve defined your AQL, it’s time to start testing for a variety of potential issues.
Several types of testing can quickly tell you whether or not the brand new oil delivered to you is, in fact, suitable for your system:
The first key to proper testing is taking a proper oil sample. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process.
We recommend conducting the following tests for incoming oil:
Compressor, Gear, R&O and Turbine Oils:
Hydraulic and Motor Oils:
The health of your equipment and machine systems depends on the quality of your oil. Sub-par oil can cause component failures, equipment malfunctions and costly plant downtime. It’s crucial to your oil and your plant that your oil analysis program provides for proper oil sampling and testing of new oil deliveries.
At Reliable Industrial Group, we can help. We have more than 15 years of experience in oil sampling, analysis, testing, cleaning and flushing. We’ve helped major plants worldwide ensure total oil quality in their machine systems, extending the life of critical components, equipment and whole systems. Partnering with independent, third-party testing services, we ensure total peace of mind for your lubricants and your plant.