Engineered Lubricants Oil Lab Targets Additive Reconstruction and Wear Particle Analysis

Engineered Lubricants is a St. Louis-based provider of specialty lubricants and greases. Putting their years of lubrication experience to work, Engineered Lubricants prides itself on providing top-quality custom blend lubricants that are designed to meet the specific requirements of tough applications.

Engineered Lubricants carries this same quality-driven philosophy to oil analysis. "Oil never wears out" according to Don Wachter, president of Engineered Lubricants. Recognizing that oil oxidation and contamination can be controlled with proper monitoring and subsequent action, Engineered Lubricant's laboratory opened its doors for business in 1974 to support Mr. Wachter's vision of unlimited life of oils.

Engineered Lubricants provides its customers with timely oil analysis information that enables important decisions to keep the oil in top condition. A problem that is far more important than generally recognized is the fact that additives do deplete as they perform their function in the lubricant.

Using the information generated by the laboratory, Engineered Lubricants' application engineers and chemists specify reconditioning measures to remove contamination, and then supply the customer with an additive package to restore the lubricant to a like-new operating condition. In doing so, the life of the lubricant is extended indefinitely if the additives are reconstructed prior to base-stock damage.

As a result, waste oil is minimized, equipment reliability is assured and equipment life-cycle costs are reduced.

Engineered Lubricants' customer offerings go beyond oil formulation and basic oil analysis. Recognizing that the oil carries vital information about the condition of the machine, they expanded the capabilities of the laboratory to include numerous machine condition assessment tests, including analytical ferrography, automatic particle counting and energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy (see article this issue).

The addition of these services over the years has been well received by plant maintenance supervisors and engineers, according to Mr. Wachter.

With today's increasing emphasis on applying used oil analysis to machine condition monitoring, Engineered Lubricants is leading the pack with its XRF spectroscopy.

This important technology has been around for decades, but has only recently found its way into mainstream used oil analysis. Not suprisingly Engineered Lubricants has been effectively utilizing XRF for many years. In fact, it is because of their belief that this technology is so important to oil analysis that they have dedicated a technologist to the use of the technology, enabling proper specialization.

In contrast to Inductively Coupled Plasma (ICP), where the dissolved or entrained metals are vaporized, XRF is non-destructive to the sample. Unlike AES, XRF is unaffected by particle size. It can detect and identify the presence of metals from particles of any size.

One may measure the metals suspended in the oil, or deposited onto a membrane patch. The patch method eliminates the measurement of dissolved metals that are washed away by the solvent, of course, but it enables the analyst to also assess the particles' morphology (shape) and general appearance.

As a custom blender, Engineered Lubricants depends on their lab for quality control testing to ensure that incoming raw materials are up to standard, and that outgoing product meets or exceeds Engineered Lubricants' rigorous performance specifications.

The lab at Engineered Lubricants is properly equipped to perform sophisticated chemical analysis of the base-stock and additive components, as well as empirically derived lubricant performance testing of anti-wear additives, oxidation stability, etc.

Customers may receive their data in numerous different forms including electronic and paper reports. The lab is well staffed with professionals who help customers interpret the lab information and to put it in the form of maintenance actions.

For more information contact Michele Eoerhoff at 314-872-9540.

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