CSI Trivector Lab: A Three Dimensional Approach to Industrial Fluid Analysis


Trivector plotted three-spoke spider chart.

Since its founding in 1984, CSI has been driven to help customers maintain their company's assets to increase profits, reduce downtime and improve quality. This vision, powered by an extensive research and development program, has led to a variety of innovative predictive maintenance technologies and services that have consistently delivered value to customers from varied industrial sectors. CSI's machine management philosophy Reliability-Based Maintenance (RBM), is powered by an integrated, multi-technology approach. Oil analysis plays a vital role in the RBM equation. To serve the oil analysis needs of its industrial customers CSI opened its Trivector Laboratory in 1995, at CSI world headquarters in Knoxville, Tennessee. This state-of-the-art, full-service, industrial lubricant analysis facility allows customers to accurately diagnose the condition of both their equipment and their lubricant. Using innovative and powerful tools like Scanning Electron Microscopy and Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS), the lab's highly trained staff can provide a complete report on the condition of oil and machinery in a relatively short turnaround time. The Trivector Lab can provide a full range of services for plants without on-site analysis capabilities or it can complement an on-site lab by providing advanced analysis using the latest techniques.

The CSI Trivector Lab specializes in the analysis of lubricants used in industrial gearboxes, pumps, hydraulic systems, compressors, turbines, etc. Analysis capabilities include Rotrode Emission Spectroscopy, Particle Count, Rotrode Filter Spectroscopy, Ferrous Material Characterization, Viscometry, Karl Fisher Water Titration, Neutralization Numbers (TAN or TBN), Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectrometry, and Wear Debris Analysis. CSI uses these oil analysis techniques to support its own Trivector philosophy of analysis and reporting. The word, "Trivector" refers to CSI's unique system in which the severity of changes in oil chemistry, machine wear and contamination is plotted on a three-spoke spider chart. This plot provides a quick overall view of the oil and machine, so that maintenance technicians spend less time interpreting numerical data in a spreadsheet.

After oil samples are analyzed, Trivector Lab provides a report that allows the customer to quickly determine the condition of oil and machine. Using CSI's RBMware software, customers may import oil analysis data electronically (reports are also available in .xls and .pdf format). RBMware permits more confident and accurate diagnostic decisions when it is used to combine oil analysis data with data from other maintenance technologies such as vibration, ultrasonic, and infrared analysis.

SEM magnification of a particle found in oil sample.

Trivector Lab is one of the few industrial, non-research oil analysis labs in the country to employ scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to examine oil particles. Using the SEM with its Energy Dispersive spectrometer and high-resolution magnification capabilities, the lab's analysts are able to view detailed surface features of particles found in oil samples. Moreover, 3-D imaging allows for easy and accurate particle size and shape determination. When the particles' metallurgy, size and shape are known with high accuracy, the process of assessing its type, origin and root cause is enhanced. For the customer, this eliminates guesswork when diagnosing machine condition. Accurate particle identification leads to correcting machine problems the first time.

For more information contact Mong-Ching Lin
at 423-675-2400 Ext.3220

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