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The BCX is a portable briefcase size x-ray fluorescence tool. The self- contained unit can be carried to the flightline, motor pool, construction site or production floor to obtain on-the-spot information about the presence of elemental metals in a sample of oil. Its small size and rugged construction make it a durable and versatile instrument.
The BCX is a portable version of OILPro’s multi-sensor on-board system which is currently being considered for a U.S. Navy application. The parent company, USA Northwest, is a railroad locomotive rebuild and transportation technology company in Livingston, MT. The BCX is manufactured for OILPro by the EDAX Portable Products Division in Kennewick, WA.
Wear Metals Analysis
Routine use of the BCX is very easily performed. An oil sample is placed in a plastic vial with the diameter of a pencil, about an inch long and has a sealable cap. No other preparation is required. The vial is placed into the top of the unit; then, the BCX is switched on for silent analysis. Test time varies depending upon the desired accuracy, but the recommended time is 10 minutes.
Metals analysis is a central component of any used oil analysis program. Increasing concentration of wear metals indicates abnormal machine operation. Changing additive elements signals additive depletion or the wrong oil. Ingestion of some contaminants can also be detected with elemental analysis. The BCX can identify a variety of metals commonly found in lubricants, including those larger size suspended particulates (>10 microns) that can’t be identified using inductively coupled plasma (ICP) or Arc-Spark type atomic emission spectrometers. The system is benchmarked on NIST oil standards. Since the only variables in this system are the oil sample and test time, the BCX produces consistent, repeatable measurements.
Using a 20 milliCurie cadmium radionuclide source to produce x-ray fluorescence (XRF), the BCX can identify and quantify common wear metals in engine oils, drive train lubricants and hydraulic fluids. Requiring only a 2 cc sample of fluid, it quickly yields test data that can be saved internally or displayed immediately on a computer for trend analysis. This small sample size reduces waste stream and has a negligible effect on the fluid reservoir level.
The BCX has only one moving part, a motor driven window that rotates to expose the sample to the gamma ray source. It is self-powered by a rechargeable, internal battery pack. For bench top operation it has a 110V transformer power supply. A Mil-Spec connector is used to transfer data to a computer for real-time operation or to download results of up to 7000 tests stored internally.
The BCX includes a software package that is convenient and simple to use. It allows data insertion for identification of each machine sampled and pertinent information on the lubricant or hydraulic fluid if desired. Since XRF measures all the metals of interest simultaneously, in each test sample, the screen or printout displays complete information on the sample. Customized calibrations can be created for applications with certain types of oils and/or additive packages. Plots for trend analysis are provided and the user can establish concentration limits that automatically produce caution flags if those limits are reached in the test.
The BCX can also identify filter debris or metal particles from chip detectors. Placing single particles or swabs of metal “fuzz” into the sample vial, then dropping it into the BCX, will produce a prompt readout of the various metal concentrations in a percentage. This can save valuable time and the expense of using other complex analytical tools.
To Learn More
The BCX portable fluid analyzer is now available from OILPro. The kit includes the BCX, sampling kit supplies, laptop computer with analysis software and a rugged carrying case. It is competitively priced (leasing options are available). Contact OILPro for more information or to schedule a demonstration of the BCX.
P.O. Box 98
Richland, WA 99352
Phone: 406-582-8393 or 406-580-5951