Optimize your oil sampling
In early 2017, take the time to review your company’s strategy and execution of pulling optimal samples from the best locations. There are always methods for improving either technique, sample location, sampling device, or frequency. We commonly see that one or two people are in charge of pulling samples and many months can pass when these people are left alone to do their jobs but not offered the opportunity to push forward plans for improvement. In addition, we see where the people pulling samples spend little time analyzing lab reports. We recommend taking the time to do the following this year: (1) join the lube tech in a round of pulling a batch of routine samples, (2) discuss optimal sampling technique as a group, (3) learn from the lube tech where sample locations can improve, and (4) ensure that all parties review lab reports and support each other to make changes where an improved sampling technique can reduce warning alarms that are triggered.
Plan a portfolio improvement for this year
Define a tangible improvement in your oil analysis program for this year. The most common goal that’s easiest to quantify is reducing an attainable number of lab report warning alarms over a certain period of time. A nice trick to taking the first step to reducing warning alarms is pinpointing where threshold triggers are not set correctly and consulting with your lube oil analysis lab to make the adjustments. After that, your team will naturally chip away at issues within their power to change that make a positive impact on oil analysis results.
Many clients focus intently on ISO 4406 oil cleanliness. If your group has already tackled many low hanging fruit improvements it might be time for a joint effort to lower the ISO Code by one or two digits in each size range this year. We recommend that you attempt this strategically and set a goal within reason. For example if certain screw compressors will always have higher ISO Code results then agree to exclude them from the calculation.
We pay close attention to wear metal contaminants detected in emission spectroscopy. Find your repeat offenders for high levels of iron, copper, tin, and lead and budget what’s necessary to make those numbers drop this year. Don’t let them trigger warning alarms on your lab reports month after month.
Lastly, the most impactful way to quantify improvement to a larger audience is to lower maintenance spending without compromising asset reliability over the medium and long term.
Take the question marks out of your lab reports
We don’t expect our clients to understand everything in a lab report without training. To get all results on one or two page reports, a lab must use acronyms, abbreviations, and short language that frankly are not always as intuitive as they should be. Call, email, and request training from your lab. It’s their job to help you.
Advance your equipment list
Assist your lab in improving its analysis by informing them of system oil capacity, date of last oil change, date of last filter change, and ensure that the oil brand and viscosity are accurate in your lab’s database. Early in 2017, request an equipment list from your lab so you can check that they have the correct information and make time to provide to them the information previously stated. An additional benefit of gathering this information is that your group will learn what it doesn’t know and must find out for its own internal benefit.
We wish your reliability team a successful preventive maintenance program this year!