Particle Measurement Options: Laser and Mesh Blockage

Quickly obtaining accurate and reliable fluid cleanliness data in order to detect abnormal contamination is a key factor in ensuring machine reliability and production efficiency for industrial processes. However, this is often problematic due to the type or condition of the fluids needing to be monitored. Pall Corporation introduces two new portable devices designed to give plant operators the ability to measure cleanliness of fluids reliably, simply and quickly to assure sustained machine reliability.

The PCM400 portable cleanliness monitor and the PFC400W portable particle counter both provide a simple, convenient way to ensure more accurate results than monitors and counters currently available.

The new cleanliness monitor can confirm cleanliness of nearly every kind of hydraulic, lube or process fluid used in a wide range of industries, even under adverse fluid conditions. Its unique multiple mesh blockage technology addresses the common problem of inaccurate or unreliable results when monitoring fluids (using optical technology) that are dark, cloudy or contaminated by water or air.

The new particle counter, a portable diagnostic device to measure the size and quantity of particulate in industrial fluid systems, combines a proven state-of-the-art laser blockage technology with a water sensor. Unlike traditional laser counters, the water sensor measures the amount of dissolved moisture in oil, which can help prevent erroneous counts and false positives, due to the presence of emulsified or free water droplets, enabling operators to take preventive action when needed.

“These new products to monitor fluid cleanliness and measure contamination underscore our approach to help manufacturing plants select the optimal technology for their specific industry needs and standards so they can achieve total cleanliness management regardless of the type of fluid (using optical technology) or the fluid’s condition,” said Reed Sarver, senior vice president of Pall Corporation. “Both devices ensure the myriad industries, such as automotive, primary metals and pulp and paper, that rely on these fluids to keep their machinery and operations running smooth and efficiently, will be able to obtain more accurate results and save time and money.”

On-site monitoring of fluids is the standard practice in most industrial processes. However, not all oils and fluids can be accurately monitored because the presence of free air or water contamination will cause erroneous counts with conventional light blockage particle counters. Once oil is degraded and turns black, a particle count based on laser light blockage is unreliable. Due to the high potential of false positives and erroneous counts, time consuming and costly off-site laboratory testing is often employed.

More Robust Cleanliness Monitoring

The PCM400 portable cleanliness monitor utilizes a novel design to measure the rate of pressure drop increase across two mesh discs (5 micron and 15 micron) either on-line or off-line. Its combination of multiple meshes and bidirectional flow differs from monitors that extrapolate data from a single mesh.

Automatic reversing of the flow path through the meshes provides a self-cleaning mechanism that flushes contaminants from the meshes and prevents mesh plugging and blockage. The PCM400 also measures fluid temperature and viscosity and encompasses a hand-held, removable display/programmer with a touch screen interface. An optional water sensor can be incorporated for use with mineral-based fluids.

Particle Counting Plus

For those industries that record actual particle counts of fluids such as mineral and synthetic oils, fuels and industrial phosphate esters, the combined laser counter and water sensor technology of the PFC400W portable particle counter provides a built-in system check that reduces the potential for inaccurate results. It enables operators to readily identify problems on-site, such as a water leakage into the system, and act preemptively to prevent unplanned downtime of machinery.

In addition to making it easier to obtain more accurate and timely results, the new particle counter provides several other benefits. It can be programmed to perform single counts, time counts or continuous counting. More than 50 sample point profiles can be stored in the unit, simplifying routine oil analysis. The PFC400W hand-held display and program can be detached from the unit to download data onto a computer without moving the entire unit. Also included are a temperature sensor that provides additional supporting data, and a built-in pump for low-pressure or bottle sampling.

About Pall Corporation

Pall Corporation serves the rapidly growing fields of filtration, separations and purification. Pall’s business is organized around two broad markets: life sciences and industrial. The company provides products to meet the demanding needs of customers in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, transfusion medicine, semiconductors, municipal drinking water, aerospace and broad industrial markets. The company headquarters are in East Hills, New York with operations throughout the world. Visit Pall at

Editor’s Note: For more information about Pall diagnostic/monitoring devices, visit

Subscribe to Machinery Lubrication