Free MLA I Upgrade Exam Offered to Certain MLT I Holders

Are you a certified Machinery Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level I who attained certification before January 1, 2010? Do you also have an interest in a career in oil analysis, but do not want to start from scratch? If so, you may enter the career path by following ISO 18436-4, “Condition Monitoring and Diagnostics of Machines – Requirements for Qualification and Assessment of Personnel – Field Lubricant Analysis”.

The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) is offering qualified MLT I holders who attained certification prior to the ISO alignment of January 1 a one-time upgrade exam, free of charge, for a chance at a second certificate as a Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) Level I. Granted that you meet the experience requirements of ISO 18436-4, Category I (same as MLA I), you can sit for a 30-minute, 16-question upgrade exam covering the oil analysis subject areas that were added to the MLT I Body of Knowledge when ICML’s MLT I was used as the base for Category I of ISO 18436-4. Candidates must have at least 12 months of experience in the field of lubricant analysis-based machinery condition monitoring (based on 16 hours minimum per month of sampling and analysis experience).

The Body of Knowledge for this upgrade exam is as follows:

Oil Sampling (7 questions)

  1. Objectives for lube oil sampling
  2. Sampling methods
  3. Managing interference
    1. Bottle cleanliness and management
    2. Flushing
    3. Machine conditions appropriate for sampling

  Lubricant health monitoring (7 questions)

  1. Lubricant failure mechanisms
    1. Oxidative degradation
      1. The oxidation process
      2. Causes of oxidation
      3. Effects of oxidative degradation
    2. Thermal degradation
      1. The thermal failure process
      2. Causes of thermal failure
      3. Effects of thermal degradation
    3. Additive depletion/degradation
      1. Additive depletion mechanisms
      2. Additives at risk for depletion/degradation by the various mechanisms
  2. Testing for wrong or mixed lubricants
    1. Baselining physical and chemical properties tests
    2. Additive discrepancies
  3. Fluid properties, test methods and measurement units – applications and limitations
    1. Kinematic viscosity (ASTM D445)
    2. Absolute (dynamic) viscosity (ASTM D2893)
    3. Viscosity index (ASTM D2270)
    4. Acid number (ASTM D974, et al)
    5. Base number (ASTM D974, et al)
    6. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) analysis
    7. Rotating pressure vessel oxidation test (ASTMD2272)
    8. Atomic emission spectroscopy

Wear Debris Monitoring and Analysis (2 questions)

  1. Common machine wear mechanisms

Criteria for Approval

Candidates must answer 12 of the 16 questions correctly to be deemed successful on the upgrade exam. Since the upgrade exam is a one-off opportunity, if a candidate is not successful, retakes toward MLA I certification would be via the regular MLA I exam, which consists of 70 questions covering the complete MLA I Body of Knowledge, not the 16-question, one-time upgrade exam.

If the candidate is approved, an MLA I certificate will be issued, with its expiration date matching that of the current MLT I certificate. Recertification criteria must be met individually, per each certificate at the expiration date, as these will be treated as separate certifications – MLT I and MLA I.

If you are a current MLT I certificate holder, certified prior to January 1, 2010, and meet the above requirements, contact ICML via e-mail at to inquire about an upgrade exam. You can join an existing exam location (, or if none of the listed sessions is suitable, ICML will try to coordinate a local exam. Local exams may incur proctoring fees payable directly to the venue in question, however no exam fee will be charged by ICML for this one-time upgrade offering.

About ICML

The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) is a vendor-neutral, not-for-profit organization founded to facilitate growth and development of machine lubrication as a technical field of endeavor. Among its various activities, ICML offers skill certification testing for individuals in the fields of machine condition monitoring, lubrication and oil analysis. ICML is an independently chartered organization consisting of both paid professional staff members and volunteer advisors. It provides lubrication and oil analysis standard development support, scholarship, skill-based testing and certification, and recognition of excellence. For more information about ICML, visit