First an Idea, Now a Reality

Jim Fitch, Noria Corporation

Records show that the practice of analyzing used oils to indicate machine and lubricant condition has been around for nearly 60 years. In fact, one of the first examples was recorded by the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad laboratory in 1941 when an emission spectrometer was used to analyze diesel engine oils.

The continued conversion to diesel engines after WWII lead to widespread use of the technique by railroads. And, around 1956 it was formally adopted by the U.S. Navy, followed soon thereafter by the Army and Air Force, and over the following decades, it quietly spread into nearly all facets of industry.

When the idea of publishing a magazine on oil analysis first surfaced, it seemed that the field might be a little too narrow or specialized to justify a publication of its own. However, a closer look revealed just the opposite.

Noria Corporation has recently identified more than 200 commercial laboratories doing oil analysis in North America. When private in-house laboratories are added to this list we have an activity of almost industry-size proportion. Armed with this knowledge, Noria began the process of expanding its scope of educational and information services in oil analysis.

We are now pleased to welcome you to the premier issue of Practicing Oil Analysis, the first trade publication dedicated to lubricant condition monitoring. It is a modest beginning but as interest and participation grows, so will the number of pages.

Its goals are simply to (1) further the advancement of the field of oil analysis, (2) provide a forum for information exchange among users, and (3) provide a vehicle for knowledge dissemination by industry experts and suppliers.

Practicing Oil Analysis will be published bimonthly in both printed and electronic form. Pre-qualified, North American end-users of oil analysis are eligible for subscriptions free-of-charge. For all others, annual subscriptions are $75 in the U.S. and Canada ($95 elsewhere).

The electronic version is available free-of-charge for those with Internet access and can be accessed at the website address by subscribers.

Each issue of Practicing Oil Analysis will have regular features and sections on several categories of general interest. These will include:

  Technology Review. Reviews of new instrumentation, software, and analytical methods
  Feature Laboratory. The services and capabilities of trend-setting commercial oil analysis laboratories
  Data Interpretation. Tips and techniques for interpreting oil analysis data
  Onsite Oil Analysis. Cost saving ideas and methods for doing oil analysis onsite
  Best Practices in Sampling. Best practices and hardware for taking oil samples.
  Case Studies. Successful oil analysis programs and the strategies that worked
  Standards and Procedures. Updates on standards for calibrating instruments and testing oil
  Contamination Control. The best tips for controlling and removing contamination from oil

Practicing Oil Analysis is an end-user magazine. Its feature sections and articles will target those who are charged with the responsibility of taking care of complex industrial and mobile machinery. As editor, I welcome your ideas and suggestions on how to improve it. If you have a case study or a best practice that needs to shared with others please contact me.

Also, tell us about new products related to the field, especially analytical methods and instruments that have been successful. And share your knowledge on how to interpret and apply oil analysis information towards the timing of oil changes and the detection of abnormal wear and operating conditions.

As more organizations discover how oil analysis can lead to reduced lubricant consumption and improved machine reliability there will be a growing demand for knowledge and information. It is interesting that nearly twice as many people are attending seminars and workshops on oil analysis as compared to just three years ago. And with the impending STLE certification of oil analysis specialists, a newly recognized profession has emerged.

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About the Author

Jim Fitch, a founder and CEO of Noria Corporation, has a wealth of experience in lubrication, oil analysis, and machinery failure investigations. He has advise...