There are numerous factors to consider if you decide to start an oil analysis program at your facility or find a quality lab other than the one provided by your oil supplier. Building a good connection with your oil analysis lab will need the following three characteristics.
When mistakes are committed in testing protocols and procedures, laboratories can lose the trust of their clients and it may be harder to regain that trust back. In order to maintain the highest level of accuracy in analytical interpretation, a quality laboratory should follow ASTM or ISO standards.
Check to see whether there are any variations from the standardized test protocols, devices are regularly calibrated, and whether your partner laboratory engages in ASTM ILCP. ICLP stands for Interlaboratory Crosscheck Test Programs which enable laboratories to confirm their level of accuracy and precision against other laboratories worldwide.
A detailed analysis interpretation summary is included in the finest oil analysis reports. This should not be computer-generated but rather customized by a professional. The report should also include graphs that indicate trend data, as well as a baseline comparison and warning limitations. Finally, the report should have an easy-to-understand layout.
Service to Customers
An oil analysis laboratory should provide services that go beyond just analyzing oil samples. The person in charge of receiving reports at the plant should communicate with those who analyze the data at the lab on a regular basis to cooperate on the possible causes for data abnormalities and to get an expert opinion on the best course of action. A hotline should be available at the laboratory to give excellent customer support anytime you need it.
A trained analyst should evaluate the results, discover the indications concealed in the raw data, and provide clear recommendations for resolving any problems. This is certainly the most important reason for oil analysis.
You can seldom find a laboratory that excels in every element of oil analysis. In order to remain competitive, laboratories may focus their efforts on the market's most valuable sectors. Selection principles may be organized into five areas: preparation, regulation, interpretation, communication, and assessment.
Preparation refers to everything that happens before the oil sample is taken to the lab. It is critical to select a lab that is close enough to provide results within 24 hours or as soon as feasible after the sample is obtained. The lab may also provide specific packaging materials to ensure that the oil is shipped safely and effectively.
The majority of oil analysis test procedures are complex and require strict adherence to laws. It's crucial to know the standards your partner laboratory applies for the essential tests. There should be a minimum certification requirement for operating technicians in order for them to perform all the necessary tasks in the lab. Learn how fast samples are processed for analysis, the order in which tests are performed, and how the remaining sample is held for any exception testing.
A detailed interpretation of the data is required to attain the objectives of oil analysis. Because each oil analysis parameter gives various types of data, summarizing and reconciling each result to come up with a holistic interpretation requires expertise. For a solid interpretation, it is crucial to provide a baseline sample for comparison. To assess if there are any risks, it is important to establish trends and statistical patterns for samples.
Cautionary and critical alarm limits can be established based on the numerous trends developed for each sample point, as well as the gathered maintenance history and understanding of the machine's criticality. The lab should aid in determining these limitations, but they must be consistent with the plant's overall dependability goals.
After interpretation has been performed, you should expect your lab to effectively and quickly communicate the results. You should see supporting graphs, highlighted concerns, pictures, and written interpretations. In recent years, it's common for all reports to be routed through cloud-based software.
If there are any urgent problems, your laboratory should be ready to call you right away. This can be done via phone, text, email, or any other means that works best for you.
A laboratory should be able to assess whether there are any exception tests that might offer further information about any concerns raised by a standard test. Remediation suggestions can be created using this data, as well as a more in-depth evaluation of the machine's operating circumstances.
At What Cost?
If the price was not a concern, you would simply choose a lab that could deliver on all of these principles. Each of these oil analysis selection principles can be refined by considering the optimum reference state (ORS) of each machine or, more importantly, your plant's overall reliability objectives.
When do the costs of oil analysis exceed the benefits? First, analyze the financial implications of a prospective machine failure. Then decide how much you are ready to spend to avoid the typical incidence. A single catch that prevents the average failure would nearly always outweigh the normal expense.
In general, oil analysis services are reasonably priced in the market. Be wary of the drawbacks of low-cost or even free oil analysis programs. There is an optimal effectiveness zone that is a balance between the cost of an investment and the overall cost of unreliable laboratory operation.
Pricing should not be your primary concern when choosing a lab. It's typically a compromise between price, service, and quality. Don't skimp on the appropriate levels of service and quality for the sake of saving money - it will determine whether or not you achieve your final aim.