Detailed oil analysis can serve as a critical guide. It provides information on where to look for a problem. Oil analysis is also about trends. A single sample yields a certain amount of information, but when the same compartment has been sampled a number of times, even more valuable information emerges.
As a lubricant reduces friction, removes heat and controls contaminants, it undergoes both physical and chemical changes depending on the workload of the equipment and the stresses placed on it.
By performing a series of defined tests at specific points and intervals, oil analysis is able to identify wear patterns, establish cause and effect relationships, as well as make recommendations as to how to rectify the problems.
It should also be remembered that oil analysis does as much to prove the lubricant is doing its job, as it does to monitor the condition of the equipment itself.This is particularly important, given that manufacturers are designing equipment to meet the demand for extended service intervals. And likewise, lubricant companies, such as Castrol, are formulating lubricants capable of extending oil drain periods to unprecedented lengths.
Regular monitoring through an oil analysis program, provides all the proof needed to confirm that both the equipment and the lubricant protecting it, can run the distance without any loss in optimum performance levels.Without doubt, oil analysis gives plant and fleet operators far better control of their preventative or preventable maintenance programs.