NTS Innovative Lab Provides Advanced Techniques for Monitoring Critical Industrial Machinery

Tags: oil analysis

Setting a new approach for condition monitoring oil analysis isn't new to the founders of National Tribology Services (NTS). In the 1970's and 80's they led the team which developed and applied ferrography to military and industrial oil analysis. Even at that time, they recognized that spectrometric oil analysis was blind to large particles, the very particles indicative of an abnormal wear condition. When Rotrode Filter Spectroscopy (RFS) was developed to detect those larger particles, NTS was the first laboratory to apply the technique commercially in 1992. By combining RFS with traditional spectroscopy, NTS is able to detect all the wear metals, additives and contaminants of interest. This approach provides an excellent screening mechanism to detect the onset of severe wear. If severe wear is indicated by this double spectroscopy testing (called DOUBLECHECK®), then analytical ferrography (for ferrous wear) and/or Millipore® Patch Testing (for nonferrous wear) is performed by the lab's most experienced analysts to aid in root cause determination. Today this method is often specified by progressive customers, and is gaining wide acceptance by many major laboratories.

NTS continues to innovate in the analysis of used oils for machine condition monitoring. In addition to employing the RFS technology, NTS employs the latest technologies available for oil analysis. This large, well-equipped laboratory is located in Massachusetts, on Boston's high-tech belt. NTS utilizes advanced testing and communication technology to analyze samples quickly and accurately, and to report results via a variety of media, including electronic formats, within two business days of receiving the sample. For critical situations, same day service is available. This level of service, combined with reasonable pricing, permits National Tribology to compete around the world for oil analysis services. Customers as far away as Chile, Holland, Singapore and Australia rely upon National Tribology for state-of-the-art oil analysis data.

NTS offers analytical services that are primarily aimed at industrial equipment, the kind typically found in the power utilities, petrochemicals, marine, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper, and metals processing industries. The lab has considerable experience in monitoring turbines, compressors, gear systems, engines and hydraulic systems. Analysts spend considerable time familiarizing themselves with the equipment during the early stages of a program. This information is vital to the process of determining practical alarms and recommendations based upon the equipment's characteristics. The lab offers a variety of programs to suit the customers' particular needs.

Software and Reporting
NTS supports all the major oil analysis trending software packages, but does not promote any proprietary trending package. National Tribology was the first oil analysis laboratory to participate in the MIMOSA forum for open architecture, and supports industry adaptation of such standards.

Quality Assurance
National Tribology Services is an independent laboratory with a firm commitment to quality control, with the laboratory currently conforming to ISO Guide 25 for laboratory testing. The process for achieving ISO 9002 is under way. Certification is expected within the year. The lab participates in the ASTM crosscheck program, as well as other round robin programs to ensure that the reported data is valid and reliable.

Professional Staff
The primary strength of National Tribology is its staff. Laboratory personnel include engineers, chemists and laboratory technicians, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in mechanical, materials and metallurgical engineering. Professional backgrounds include extensive experience in laboratory analysis instrumentation, heat transfer and fluid flow, naval and marine engineering, process control and environmental science. Members of National Tribology's staff maintain membership and participate with the following professional organizations: Society for Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE), American Society for Materials (ASM), American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

National Tribology Services can be conveniently reached by contacting Dan Walsh at:

Phone: (978) 531-6123 ext 27
Fax: (978) 531-6522
Email: info@natrib.com

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