Industrial Equipment Experienc Sets BETA Lab and Technical Services Apart

Chris Sledge, BETA Lab and Technical Services Steve Braunfield, BETA Lab and Technical Services

When 2.2 million customers depend on your product everyday, you need reliable oil analysis, high-tech predictive maintenance technologies, accurate calibrations and powerful laboratory chemistry to help keep the electricity flowing.

What makes FirstEnergy BETA Lab and Technical Services stand out from other commercial oil analysis laboratories? Its roots in industrial oil analysis. BETA Lab cut its teeth cranking out fluid analysis for turbines, gearboxes, pumps, hydraulic systems, compressors and other rotating equipment. During the past 50 years, the company has provided precision oil analysis and troubleshooting for more than 50 of FirstEnergy’s power generating units. Now BETA Lab is a thriving full-service operation serving industrial customers across North America.
BETA Lab operates just outside of Cleveland, Ohio in a new 67,000 square-foot facility and office complex. It is part of FirstEnergy Corp., a diversified energy services holding company with various subsidiaries that owns more than $18 billion in assets and produces $6.7 billion annual revenue. But it isn’t this enormous infrastructure that makes BETA Lab a top notch oil analysis laboratory. It’s the company’s unique combination of industrial experience, extensive testing capabilities, knowledgeable personnel, technology integration and customer service that really hits home with customers.

BETA Lab goes to great lengths to maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. Its staff of technicians, chemists and engineers believe that establishing great working relationships with customers is priority. With open lines of communication, customers benefit from the staff’s experience and the rigorous ISO 9002 procedures to preserve quality services.

The ISO 9002 certification has enabled a strong quality system at BETA Lab, including a quality manual, technical test instructions, equipment calibration instructions and a personnel qualification program. The lab has various industry certifications and participates and maintains memberships in professional organizations including STLE, ASTM, NCSL, ACS, ASM, AIHA and ASQ.

The lube oil software package BETA Lab uses (Oilview LIMS, developed by CSI) provides a report describing lubricant and equipment condition easily interpreted by lubrication engineers and maintenance technicians, as well as less experienced personnel. The software also allows prior analysis data to be imported for maintaining historical trending. Test reports are available electronically in PDF format or hard copy.

A quality oil sampling and analysis program helps customers save money by evaluating when to change fluids and reduces costs by preventing equipment damage, costly maintenance and downtime that results in lost production. A routine oil analysis from one monitored facility revealed an increasing amount of abnormal wear particles. The plant was notified and subsequent inspection of equipment revealed damage to the bearings. The customer stated, “because of analysis and early detection, damage had not progressed to the seals and shafts. We potentially saved more than one million dollars in maintenance costs and downtime.”

The oil lab program is aligned with other predictive maintenance technologies, including vibration analysis and infrared imaging. Combining these systems gives a comprehensive look at equipment condition that will provide the most useful information to assist maintenance managers with condition monitoring. Unfortunately, equipment may fail. If it does, the metallurgical lab (specializing in root cause failure analysis) assists in the analysis.

BETA Lab and Technical Services is a great resource for many technical needs of industry. In addition to the oil laboratory, its other programs support:

  • vibration and thermography analysis
  • product and material testing and identification
  • environmental and general chemistry
  • metallurgy and failure analysis
  • measuring and test equipment calibration traceable to NIST
  • fuel analysis
  • equipment performance engineering
  • health and safety training

Customers indicate they appreciate the one-stop shopping they get with BETA Lab.

Typical Oil Lab Services

Lube Oil Capabilities
Spectrometer: Spark Emission (RDE), ICP
Viscosity: 40°C, 100°C, VI, SUS, cP
Water: Karl Fisher, FTIR, Crackel, Distillation
Particle Count: Optical
Neutralization: AN and BN*
Glycol: FTIR, Reagent
Grease Testing: Dropping Point, Cone Penetration, Compatibility Testing
Other: RPVOT**, Foaming Tendency, Cloud/Pour Point, Flash Point
(Open/Closed Cup)

Insulating Oil Capabilities
Dissolved Gas
Dielectric Strength
Moisture Content
Total Acid
Interfacial Tension
Specific Gravity
Oxidation Inhibitor

* AN stands for Acid Number and BN stands for Base Number, formerly known as TAN or Total Acid Number and TBN or Total Base Number.

** RPVOT stands for Rotating Pressure Vessel Oxidation Test formerly known as RBOT or Rotating Bomb Oxidation Test.

For More Information
FirstEnergy BETA Lab and Technical Services
6670 Beta Dr.
Mayfield Village, OH 44143

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