February 3, 2016

Maximizing Your Plan for Oil Analysis

Do you have the right PLAN, PROCESS, TOOLS and EXPERTISE to realize the maximum value from your oil analysis program?

A successful oil analysis program will stand firm atop these four pillars. If just one of them is missing or weak then the program is at risk to waiver and eventually falls apart. Fluid Life works closely with our customers to help strengthen their programs in all four areas. In part one of this four part series you will find some tips for creating or improving your PLAN for lubricant analysis.

Is your plan in line with your business objectives?

First and foremost you need to understand why you are performing lubricant analysis. Is it to maintain warranty compliance? To identify failure modes before they become catastrophic? To maximize the useful life of your components and lubricants?

There can be many reasons, but understanding the answer to this question will allow you to determine:

  • What analysis test package should be performed
  • What equipment should be sampled
  • How often those components should be sampled

Are you set up for success?

Plan to lay the proper foundation for your program so that neither you nor your analysis provider are scrambling.

  • Equipment List – Provide your supplier with a detailed equipment list including Unit ID, Components, Manufacturer/Model Information and their default in-use lubricants.
  • Sample Taking – Before the first sample is collected, ensure that all appropriate personnel have been trained in sample collection procedures or at least have reviewed industry specific material on various sample taking techniques. Usually these are found in the form of How-to-Videos or Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). This will ensure that a SAFE, representative and reliable oil sample is drawn every time.
  • New Oil Baselines – Submit new oil reference samples for all your in-use lubricants as soon as possible. Having this information displayed on your analysis reports will answer a lot of questions and save you time during the review process. It will also eliminate many of the nuisance flags that plague new analysis programs.

How do you determine success?

To plot the best course you need two points; where you are starting from and where you hope to end up. Assessing the current situation provides you with an effective reference for program milestones along the way to improving your reliability. As for the finish, you have to define success up front, keeping in mind that you can change and evolve the definition as you progress, Defining success gives everyone clear direction on where they are heading and an understanding of the part their role plays in that success.

Set Targets that are both achievable and leave some room for improvement. There are two primary types of targets below with examples of typical limits:

  • Program Targets – these are high level metrics that measure success or gaps over time and are usually reviewed monthly.
    • Sampling Schedule Compliance > 90%
    • Missing Information < 10%
  • Equipment Targets – These are usually built into the program and drive consistent, repeatable action. Typically these targets will have a clear strategy to be executed when the parameters are exceeded.
    • Oil Cleanliness (Hydraulics) Target ISO Code < 20/18/16

Creating and Implementing a Plan

It is important to remember that you are not in this alone. Your lubricant analysis provider has years of experience creating and implementing plans at all levels in all industries so do not hesitate to engage them in the process. For more information as to how Fluid Life can help please check out our plan development products.