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“My oil analysis data indicates that there is water in one of my gearboxes. I have put a portable filter cart on the gearbox, but about every three hours the full indicator on the filter pops up. I have changed the filter twice and can’t really detect the presence of that much water. Is it possible that my filter won’t take the water out of the synthetic oil that I’m using?”
If you are using a standard filter for particle removing, then the answer is no, it will not remove water. However, if it is a water-removing type of filter (super-absorbent type), then these are useful for removing small amounts of emulsified and free water after accidental ingress.
If you have significant amounts of water, in excess of say 0.1 percent by volume, you need to address the root cause of the water ingress and then dehydrate the oil or replace it depending on the volume. Too much water is subjective, but technically, if there is visible emulsified water (cloudiness of the oil), this is too much. As such, there is an ingress source that urgently needs attention. Typically, water will be an issue dependent upon the unit location (indoors/outdoors), proximity to any process water, any wash-down activity that may take place near the gearbox or any steam source in the vicinity.
The use of a dessicating breather or expansion diaphragm type sealed unit may also reduce the moisture ingress, as will deploying better quality seals and educating the personnel responsible for wash-down activity.