Predict/DLI is Changing the Way Industry Analyzes Lubricants

In the 1970s, the U.S. military was embroiled in the Vietnam war. The thick foliage of Southeast Asia made motorized land carriers ineffective and the UH-1H helicopter (Huey) became the combat vehicle of choice. By the war’s end, over 2500 Hueys had been involved in combat service or other miscellaneous service in the Southeast Asian theater. Rigorous military demands required updated maintenance procedures to keep the Huey’s in the air. In 1975, an oil analysis laboratory at the Corpus Christi Army Depot began to trend wear metal properties of particles suspended in used lubricants. A magnetic capture and classification technique for oil suspended particles, developed by Trans-Sonics, Inc., was used and the technology of Ferrography was born. Initially, it was developed to monitor the Huey’s vulnerable greased gear shafts and oil lubricated transmission bearings. The technique proved to be an effective method of predicting equipment failures and was soon rolled out for other types of rotating and reciprocating machinery.

In the early 1980s, Sohio BP acquired the commercial patents on Ferrography, and built a laboratory in Cleveland, OH dedicated to providing Ferrographic analysis and reporting services. Predict/DLI was thus born and later acquired by Reid Asset Management Company in 1991. Since 1984, Predict/DLI has provided over 750,000 Ferrographic analyses to industrial customers in North America, South America, and Europe. In sample volume, expertise, and documented cost savings, Predict/DLI is perhaps the largest commercial Ferrography laboratory in the world. Its 16,000 square foot laboratory and offices are customized for providing Ferrographic services, software, instrumentation, and training. Consequently, Predict/DLI has earned an excellent reputation with those customers requiring Ferrography solutions for their condition monitoring programs.

Not Just A Ferrography Lab
The Predict/DLI story begins with Ferrography. It continues with broader based used lubricant analysis capabilities as customers in the early 90s demanded that more traditional lubricant analysis services be combined with Ferrography services. Those services now include spectro-analysis, FT-IR, kinematic viscosity, Karl Fischer, TAN, TBN, gas chromatography, R-BOT, laser dispersion particle count, and flash point, among others for the purpose of determining lube condition. In 1994, an alliance was formed with DLI Engineering of Bainbridge Island, WA to provide high quality vibration analysis services and products. As Predict/DLI brought on these new technologies, they also brought in the expertise to ensure the high quality that their customers had come to expect. Three full time in-house chemists work with the laboratory staff and a close formal partnership has been established with the physics department of nearby Case Western Reserve University for additional technical support.

Besides quality and consistency, the foundation of the Predict/DLI program is the reporting format. This format includes more than just an exceptional text, graphic, tabular, and image layout on paper. It also features well-trained technical and customer support. The Predict/DLI analysts review every piece of data twice and write plain language text before time stamping their reports for distribution. Predict/DLI’s customer support professionals are trained to help customers with account setup, to ensure that they have the sampling materials required, and to act as ongoing personal points of contact for the life of their customers’ programs. Both analysts and support persons are easily accessible by telephone or e-mail to answer questions and provide consultation.

Finally, Predict/DLI provides PredictVISA software free of charge to customers requiring report distribution by modem dial-up or by e-mail. This Windows 95/Windows NT compatible program is ideal for receiving, storing, and customizing oil analysis condition reports. The program will also interface with DLI Engineering’s vibration analysis Expert Analysis software as well as most of the market’s leading vibration analysis programs via Predict/DLI’s Voyager software.

Predict/DLI’s past strengths have been in servicing the petrochemical, mining, and electric utility industries due to the strength of Ferrography in monitoring gearboxes, pumps, and fans. In more recent years, Predict has become more involved in the manufacturing and transportation industries as its laboratory capabilities continue to expand.

For more information about how Predict/DLI can provide solutions for your PdM needs, please call Predict/DLI at 800-543-8786 or view the Predict/DLI web site at

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