ICML Marks 20 Years of Machinery Lubrication Certifications and Support with Special Activities

Paul Hiller, ICML



The International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) marks its 20th anniversary of continuous operation this year with several ongoing activities and recognition opportunities.

The nonprofit organization began its longstanding certification program for lubrication and oil analysis practitioners in January, 2001. Since then, ICML has administered thousands of exams and has supported individuals and organizations through additional programs that strengthen machinery lubrication and oil analysis as technical fields of endeavor.

Anniversary activities this year will include special pricing offers and advertising opportunities, multi-media profiles of longtime members and certificants, and a redesign of the ICML website and online support tools. Details and updates regarding these activities will be posted to ICML’s website and social media channels throughout the year.

“ICML’s twenty-year history is one of team effort,” says Leslie Fish, ICML Executive Director. “We certainly would not be where we are today without our members and volunteer experts, nor would we be so well known were it not for partnerships and alliances with like-minded industry groups and independent training partners all over the world. With our celebratory activities this year, we hope to draw attention to their contributions.”

Rosania Kloss, ICML’s Operations Manager, concurs: “As someone who has been with ICML since the beginning, I am excited to see practitioners continue to appreciate what ICML has to offer.”

Established in part to help lubrication practitioners succeed in their professional careers, ICML conducted its first exam when five oil analysis practitioners gathered on January 26, 2001, to earn their Machine Lubricant Analyst credentials in Biloxi, Mississippi. (They all passed.) By mid-April ICML had launched its second exam type to test machinery lubrication technicians. ICML went international with its first overseas exams in the UK and Australia later that same year, then expanded into multiple languages in early 2002, and they haven’t looked back since.


In its first 20 years the organization has coordinated with a large network of independent training providers and allies to administer almost 40 thousand certification exams in nearly a dozen languages at over 48 hundred exam sessions across the globe. During this time, ICML issued 24 thousand professional certificates to oil analysts (MLA), lubrication technicians (MLT), laboratory analysts (LLA), and machinery lubrication engineers (MLE).

“The ICML fulfilled a previously unmet need in the field of lubrication and oil analysis,” says Noria Corporation CEO Jim Fitch, ICML's founding director and a current board member. “It serves the working class of our industry, people who nurture the health of expensive and critical machinery.”

"Through certifications, ICML has provided a vital measure of lubrication fundamentals to our industry, and this has enhanced the professionalism of its practitioners," notes ICML Board Chairman Bryan Johnson of Arizona Public Service.

When local governments worldwide implemented restrictions on physical gatherings due to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, ICML quickly pivoted to develop online exam options, rolling out this new opportunity last July.

"Twenty years ago, our founding members recognized the integral but underrated role of lubrication practitioners in the broad scope of machine maintenance and reliability," says Paul Hiller, ICML Marketing Manager. "But the journey to excellence should never end. So, it was important to us that we continue supporting our certification candidates and our training partners alike—and the online exams allowed us to do that.”


ICML consists of members, professional staff, and technical contributors from around the world. In addition to maintaining its fundamental role as a certification body for 20 years, ICML also oversees industry awards, professional memberships, and asset management standards. 


ICML implemented its annual awards program in 2001, recognizing physical plants with the Augustus H. Gill Award and the John R. Battle Award for on-site programs that demonstrate oil analysis and machinery lubrication excellence, respectively. Past winners are listed at https://info.lubecouncil.org/awards/.


Membership packages were revamped in 2019 and offer flexibility, benefits, and engagement opportunities for organizations and certified individuals who wish to support ICML’s mission, gain promotional exposure, collaborate with peers, and secure exam credits. 


ICML engages subject matter experts to serve as technical volunteers on standing and ad hoc committees in such areas as test development, membership development, and awards assessment. To date, the crowning achievement of the volunteer force has been the simultaneous development of the ICML 55® Standards and MLE credential for machinery lubrication engineers. 


“For twenty years, ICML has been playing an increasingly impactful role in standardizing machinery lubrication practices across industries with industry experts and volunteers," states ICML Board Member Yuegang Zhao of KPM Analytics, "especially after releasing the industry-first lubrication standard—ICML 55—and MLE certification in recent years.”


The ICML 55 Standards comprise requirements and guidelines for effective, certifiable management of lubricated mechanical assets. These standards are strategically aligned to ISO 55000 and are intended to support an organization’s physical asset management plans. Part 1 was co-authored by an international team of 45 technical contributors and was published in 2019: “ICML 55.1: Requirements for the Optimized Lubrication of Mechanical Physical Assets.”

ICML developed its management-level MLE credential in conjunction with ICML 55. The extensive, 24-part body of knowledge targets reliability and asset leaders. To date, this rigorous, exclusive credential has been earned by fewer than 100 practitioners worldwide.




ICML is a vendor-neutral, member-based, technical nonprofit organization serving global industry since 2001 as the world-class authority on machinery lubrication that advances the optimization of asset reliability, utilization and costs. ICML consists of both paid professional staff members and volunteer committees. It is a certification body serving industrial lubrication and oil analysis practitioners worldwide; a technical awards body recognizing companies that excel in oil analysis and machinery lubrication programs; and the developer of ICML 55 standards for lubricated asset management.

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