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R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company had been performing lubricant condition monitoring on its equipment for 20 years.
A few years ago, the Predictive Maintenance Group in the Utilities Division implemented a routine oil analysis program to not only monitor the condition of the lubricant, but also to monitor the condition of its machinery.
This program was implemented to detect possible impending problems before a failure occurred. The goals were to increase reliability, minimize unexpected failures and decrease downtime.
Laboratory Lubricant Analysis:
routine oil sample was collected from a reciprocating air compressor and sent
a lab for analysis.
Spectrometric analysis found an unusually high lead content.
The Predictive Maintenance department was immediately notified of the findings and quickly shutdown the system for visual inspection.
The lead contamination found in the oil sample was a direct result of the old and damaged rod bearing breaking apart due to age.
Replace three bearings.
The success of this catch reinforced their belief in regular routine oil analysis.
Downtime and costs associated with repair were minimal.
by Lana Robin, PdMA