compressors MachineryWe test oil from lube systems supporting reciprocating, rotary, and centrifugal compressors.

The majority of the oils we test are from reciprocating compressors in continuous heavy duty industrial operation. These machines can have two different types of oils, one for lubricating a crankcase and the other for lubricating the piston cylinders. The oils commonly have different physical properties and can even be from different groups, selected to perform in contrasting operating conditions.

Rotary screw compressors tend to create wear particles in normal operation and we anticipate the effect on lube oil cleanliness. Many clients choose synthetics for bearing lubrication, since heat, thrust, and the presence of air could degrade a mineral oil more quickly over time.

The routine lube oil test slate is the same for any type of compressor, although understanding the machine and its operating conditions assist us recommending action based on laboratory test results.

Routine Testing for Compressors


Emission Spectroscopy Elemental Oil Analysis

  • MRT uses the Rotrode Spectrometer
  • We closely track changes in unwanted
    particles over time
  • Particle size detection down to 3 microns


  • We measure viscosity and viscosity index
  • At 40° C for industrial oils and 100° C for engine oils
  • Quantify severity of oil degradation and contamination
neutralization number

Neutralization Number

  • We measure Total Acid Number (TAN) and Total Base Number (TBN)
  • TAN detects oxidation and degradation and TBN
    detects remaining additives
Karl Fischer

Karl Fischer Water Titration

  • Water is the most common and arguably the most damaging oil contaminant
  • We detect water down to 4 ppm in any state
flash point

Flash Point of Lubricating Oil

  • Testing for contaminants, commonly infiltrating through seal leaks
  • An irregular flash point indicates contamination
particle count

Particle Count Analysis (ISO 4406)

  • Laser light counts particles in a sample to the ISO 4406 standard
  • Unacceptable amounts of particles indicate a need for microscopic analysis
direct read ferrography

Direct Read Ferrography

  • Measure cleanliness by counting large and small
    magnetic particles
  • Total amount and relationship of small to large
    particles can indicate issues with machinery