Virtual Results in Oil Analysis

Bill Quesnel, WearCheck Canada

The business landscape is witnessing a transformation as we move into the Information Age. The Internet has risen to fill the need of continually expanding global information systems. There is no industry that will remain unchanged as a result of the impact of the Internet on business.

WebCheck, a Web-centric enterprise oil analysis system, has transformed the way WearCheck International operates.

WebCheck has been operating since 1998 in several countries and boasts a client-base of over five hundred online users.

WebCheck is unique in that it allows for the live and interactive flow of oil analysis data between laboratories, customers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), oil suppliers and consultants through the Internet (Figure 1).

The Development of WebCheck
The success of WebCheck is due in part to the business environment in which it was conceived and developed. WebCheck was initially developed for WearCheck International (WCI), a chartered group representing nine independent oil analysis companies from around the globe. The group’s non-competitive collaborative nature was paramount in the development of WebCheck.

As early as 1995 it became evident that WCI could realize good economies of scale by developing common software systems. So the CINRG group (Companies Integrating Networks & Resources Globally) was established and in 1997 the group created a common format for the exchange of oil analysis data. In 1998, this format was used as the foundation of WebCheck which allowed for the development and deployment of a client system within three months.

Initially a stand-alone client system, WebCheck was expanded in the first year to include a Web-based LIMS whose purpose was to integrate the client and laboratory.

A successful beta test of the new LIMS at WearCheck Canada in 1999 preceded the expansion of WebCheck into an enterprise system. In September of 2000 WearCheck USA was successfully integrated on this enterprise LIMS. Today both WearCheck Canada and WearCheck USA are linked using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to the centralized WebCheck LIMS (Figure 2).

Advantages of WebCheck
WebCheck has solved two difficult problems facing IT departments in any large oil analysis organization; dissemination of results and subsequent support of both an internal LIMS and external client software.

Integrating additional laboratories on the WebCheck LIMS requires the installation of a T1 line, and a VPN appliance at the remote laboratory. The laboratory data is mapped and migrated to the WebCheck server and immediately available to both the laboratory as well as their clients through a Web browser.

All patches and updates are applied to the centralized server so there is no requirement for either the remote laboratories or clients to be issued upgrades.

WebCheck was built using Microsoft Active Server Page (ASP) technology. The WebCheck application runs on Microsoft Windows NT and uses Microsoft’s SQL Server as the database making WebCheck scalable to any size organization.

Benefits of WebCheck
Client Benefits
Clients can maintain their equipment databases as well as enter sample in-formation online and can select testing requirements prior to submitting a sample, or when the sample is in the laboratory. Clients can maintain sample-scheduling intervals and receive pre-printed sample labels at the time of sample taking.
A client can submit samples to any WebCheck laboratory.

E-mail notification and the ability to view sample reports, test results, as well as a number of trending graphs of both routine data as well as all supporting laboratory data gives WebCheck user’s quick access to the full range of oil analysis data (Figure 3). With the aid of an Internet browser, the client views sample data in real-time affording the best possible turn-around of oil sample data. WebCheck allows large organizations with many branches across the country or continent to effectively manage their entire oil analysis program.

With WebCheck, clients have access to wear limit tables, new oil baselines and typical limits, as well as hyperlinks to oil product specifications as well as OEM specifications on the Web. Based on oil analysis results, clients can trigger re-samples and corrective action as well as track maintenance activities.

OEM Benefits
OEMs register equipment under war-ranty within WebCheck and sample kit requirements are viewed by the laboratory and shipped out at appropriate intervals. The OEM has the ability to track sample schedules on warranted equipment, and can view client sampling and maintenance practices.

OEMs can track problem units in a trouble log where they may view sample reports and maintenance histories before contacting a client with maintenance recommendations. Access to client sample and maintenance data coupled with the ability to generate statistical reports allows OEMs to use client data for re-engineering purposes.

Global OEMs and fluid manufacturers have access to a pool of oil analysis and maintenance data from a varied source of clients and environments around the world.

Laboratory Benefits
WebCheck offers a dependable, efficient and multi-functional LIMS including modules for customer service, pre-logging, data entry, laboratory, diagnosis and distribution (including printing, faxing, e-mail and data export to a variety of software formats).

A WebCheck laboratory is a paperless laboratory as the computer tracks sample status and testing requirements. Technician work schedules are assigned through laboratory workstations. Hard-copy printing is reduced, as many clients no longer require printed reports that can be viewed through WebCheck. All LIMS functions can be accessed from the Internet. A remote user can log on from a portable computer and check the status of the laboratory, assign work to technicians and import data files.

Customer service and diagnosis can be centralized as remote staff have access to all laboratory information, including client maintenance information, and can dispatch reports by fax or e-mail. Satellite laboratories can be integrated easily by linking them to the centralized LIMS.

WebCheck’s Water Cooler community Web site allows for centralized communication between WebCheck laboratories and clients via articles and discussion groups.

For oil analysis organizations, WebCheck can easily serve as the enterprise-wide system that integrates multiple laboratories with a large client base. The economies of scale realized by utilizing WebCheck become apparent to an organization as the number of connected laboratories and clients increases.

The CINRG group is actively exploring partnerships with other oil analysis corporations, including commercial, private and OEM laboratories, which would benefit from implementing WebCheck into their organization.

Contact Information
Bill Quesnel
WearCheck Canada Inc.
4161 Sladeview Cresc., Unit 11
Mississauga, ON L5L 5R3
Phone: 905-569-8600, ext. 223
Fax: 905-569-8605

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