Simplicity Breeds Confidence: On-site Oil Analysis is Easier than Ever
Oil analysis is a core practice recognized within the reliability professional community to improve machine reliability and save money. Many companies and organizations already employ some type of oil analysis program within their maintenance practices.
On-Site Oil Analysis or Outsourced Oil Analysis?
There is no question that oil analysis is a critical component of cost-efficient maintenance of any lubricated machinery. The real question is whether to do oil analysis at the point of care or to outsource this work to an outside, off-site laboratory. The process when outsourcing an oil analysis program involves taking the sample from an asset, shipping it to a lab, analyzing the sample in the lab, and then receiving a report with results and recommended actions. Outsourcing to off-site labs is a common practice. Hundreds of millions of oil samples are analyzed every year by laboratories worldwide.
The benefits of outsourcing are easy to identify. A dedicated oil lab has all the equipment needed to test all the relevant parameters in an oil sample. They have dedicated technicians and highly educated, experienced professionals to analyze the data. Finally, there is no upfront capital investment to use this lab; the cost is simply based on the number of samples you want to analyze each month or year.
Why are so many organizations moving towards on-site oil analysis?
The reason that on-site oil analysis is becoming more mainstream and frequently used is simple: More than ever, on-site oil analysis programs are easier to implement and are well-complemented with software tools to provide meaningful data for better decision-making.
On-Site Oil Analysis Programs are Easier to Implement and Maintain
Things have changed since on-site oil analysis was first discussed within the reliability community. Setting up an on-site oil lab is no longer an intensive project involving renovations to lab space, additional highly-skilled staff, and months of time and effort. New test equipment, like the Spectro Scientific MiniLab has significantly reduced the capital expenditure, space, labor, and skill requirements for an on-site oil analysis laboratory.
- A full on-site oil analysis lab can fit on a single table top and can be installed in a matter of days
- Tests are solvent-less and use no chemicals
- Easy to operate instruments means anyone can do the testing
- Testing takes about 15 minutes; it easily fits into an existing workflow
- Fast results in a matter of minutes means that maintenance decisions can be made immediately, reducing the risk of catastrophic failure of equipment.
- Software to manage the data with adaptive rules engines automatically generate reports and meaningful diagnostics and recommendations based on the data.