Selecting Machines for Oil Analysis

On Oct. 9, 2013, we asked:
"Imagine that you have just been hired as the reliability engineer for a manufacturing plant. The plant has more than 4,000 pieces of rotating equipment. How would you go about selecting which components require routine oil analysis, and how would you select the correct series of oil analysis tests for these systems?"
Congratulations to Mike Chimko of Husky Energy for being the winner of this week's Reader's Challenge. Below is his winning answer and some of the other responses that were received. Thanks to everyone who participated. 
Mike Chimko, Husky Energy

"First, determine the importance of the specific machine to the facility's process flow. There should be no redundant equipment. Second, calculate the cost to repair the machinery if the lube system does not protect the machine adequately. Next, consider the type of service. Is it hard on lube systems? Will the lube system allow for ingress of airborne contaminants? 

"Oil testing should be designed depending on how the equipment is expected to fail, such as shock loads from impacting types of machinery, expected bearing failures, moisture ingress, etc. Machines running under extreme high temperatures will cook the lubricants and additives out of the lubricants."


Other Responses Received

Steve Wilson, QES

"Obtain a list of capital equipment from the accounting/finance department along with available records showing each equipment's acquired date, operating time (or best estimate), repair costs, repair/maintenance actions and downtime/repair times. Sort by manufacturer, machine type and serial number. Also, request accounting records for lubricants and filters purchased by the shop and maintenance. Learn about available analytical related equipment, skills and man-hours, which are now available manpower. Analyze the overall maintenance system and data to develop a plan with a recommended schedule. The proposal should be cost-estimated and balanced with your goals and where improvements may be expected, including uptime."


Wilfredo C. Pinque, Dole Philippines

"First, list all the asset names and identify their function. Then, identify the rotating machine's impact to operation in the event of failure. Next, record the gearbox oil volume and its application. Also, record the operational speed and load. Single-line equipment should be top priority and have a shorter oil sampling interval. Segregate the equipment based on application. For hydraulic oil, a complete oil analysis will be needed, including tests for water, acid number, viscosity, oxidation, wear metals, additive depletion, ferrography and particle counting. Gearbox oil requires tests for acid number, water, viscosity, oxidation, wear metals, contaminants and additive depletion. Engine oil calls for additional tests including base number, oxidation, ferrography, additive depletion, soot, flash point, wear metals and particle counting. Smaller size sumps are less of a priority. Finally, be sure to choose an ISO-certified oil analysis lab."


Ibrahim Saleh, Hydro Engineering Consultants

"The selection of components depends on obsolescence, repetition of use, the type of motion (rotary, reciprocating, oscillating, etc.), the oil change history and analysis of the best two oil brands (based on experience) for the components."