Think of the concept; Good oil condition = greater reliability and increased component life. A simple concept, but we see the benefits for equipment operators who have instilled this concept in their maintenance strategy.

It’s not uncommon that the perceived value of oil sample reports is to action ‘critical’ or ‘caution’ evaluations to prevent an imminent failure. That is of course a benefit of oil sampling, but that’s only utilising a fraction of the data available to improve equipment health. However, we all understand the value of utilising the oil sample data to prevent the onset of the failure is much more than just actioning caution and critical events. The available information in an oil sample report is extensive and can tell a story about what’s happened, and what could happen in the equipment. Routinely monitoring the oil condition as part of the analysis will assist in getting ahead of any issues prior to them escalating to a ‘critical’ or ‘caution’ evaluation.

So, what is the optimal percentage of oil sample reports evaluated as normal for the benefits to be fully realised?

From our experience, 80% of oil sample data should be evaluated as ‘normal’ or ‘good’. That is, there are no immediate issues to deal with in 80% of the samples. If you are not achieving this level there is the potential that you have a case of “Failed Lube Normalisation”. Coupled with the right maintenance culture, maintaining a high rate of normal evaluated samples will provide the best the conditions to prolong component life and reduce unplanned maintenance. One of the most effective ways to reach the 80% KPI is to make better use of the data in the oil sample reports and focus on the proactive measures such as viscosity and contamination. Taking action to address these excursions will ensure that the oil is always performing its lubricating function adequately. Let’s face it lubrication is a fundamental.

Focusing on oil condition and acting early when there are concerning rates of change, trends in contamination or viscosity will assist in preventing premature wear and subsequent failures. Maintaining 80% ‘normal’ evaluations of oil samples also assists maintenance teams to focus on ongoing improvements to maintenance programs and prioritise activities that maintain the reliability of equipment rather than react to evaluations when the damage may have already been done.

We would love to hear where your site is. Are 80% of your samples normal? Has your site normalised the conditions where fluids are not lubricating adequately for a significant portion of your compartments?