Laying the ground work before starting your oil analysis program will ensure that your program runs with a mininum of problems and effort and will ensure that you maximize your return on this investment. The following outline will guide you in setting up an oil analysis program, however, we encourage you to contact us to assist you in determining and fulfilling your oil analysis requirements.

Set Program Targets and Goals
Setting program goals is paramount to a successful Oil Analysis Program. Doing so ensures that you are collecting the appropriate data to meet your requirements and measure your progress.

Every site or company has many reasons for having a maintenance program. Essentially they generally resolve to be either safety or cost (efficiency) driven. An oil program is controlled by these principles. Safety is normally referring to the prevention of injury or loss of life during daily operations or during maintenance periods. Cost has many sub groups including availability of equipment, control of down-time, limiting the amount of on site spare parts and support staff, and simply lowering maintenance costs.

The question revolves around “what tests should I do or do I need to do for each unit?” This question brings us back to cost and safety. The program must be cost efficient and cover most probable or anticipated failure modes. Research and investigation are the most important background tools. Armed with an idea of how much you can expect to spend on a program and what results can be expected from a certain test method are the goal. Many papers, documents, and case studies give indications as to how much a firm should invest into proactive maintenance depending on the industry involved.

A facility normally has more than one unit or type of equipment that may be considered for predictive maintenance. Determination is necessary if a proactive maintenance program is cost efficient and in the companies best interests (safety and cost). Therefore, each units needs will determine what type and cost is to be spent.

Determine Responsibilities
Your oil analysis program may be managed by one individual or by several people. The key is to ensure that for each of the areas defined in the oil analysis cycle that you have assigned an individual that is responsible for the task.

If we look at the oil analysis cycle, we see that we will require persons to:

purchase oil analysis kits
take oil samples
review oil analysis reports
assign corrective actions
confirm corrective actions
perform periodic program review.

It is also important to ensure that the individuals involved have sufficient authority to carry out their functions. For instance, if I am responsible for assigning corrective action, then I will need to have the authority to ensure that those actions get carried out.

Some of the tasks of an oil analysis program can be carried out by external companies. Today there exist services that will do everything form taking oil samples to reviewing the effectiveness of your program. Our on-line system, WebCheck, can put you in touch with these companies if they figure into your program.

Determine Equipment to be Sampled
Determine the scope of your initial oil analysis program. Are you going to sample every piece of lubricated equipment, or does your maintenance department adhere to Reliability-Centered Maintenance (RCM) principles? Your oil analysis program can start out modestly, and then grow in accordance with your experience in managing the program.

Once you have determined what will be sampled you must then determine when they will be sampled (see our guide to sampling frequencies). Setting up proper sampling frequencies will ensure that you will be able to catch iminent failures and signs of oil over-extension in time to take scheduled action.

Set-up Sampling Points
There are several methods of taking oil samples (see our guide on taking oil samples), however, some are better than others. Some methods may obscure useful data so we recommend setting up sampling ports on all equipment, and providing training to the people who will be taking the samples on the do’s and do not’s of oil sampling.

Collect Machine Information
Providing the required equipment information is essential to the success of your Oil Analysis Program. Keeping equipment information up-to-date and communication with the oil analysis laboratory are essential ingredients in your OA program.

The following equipment information in essential:

Equipment Identification
Component Type
Lubricant Brand and Grade
Oil Reservoir Capacity
Component Make and Model
Filter/Filtration Type and Micron Rating
Operating Temperature and Pressure

Providing the laboratory with the necessary information ensures rapid diagnosis and accurate recommendations. Proper Equipment Information will ensure:

Quick turn-around on sample diagnosis
Proper QC on laboratory testing
Meaningful and detailed recommendations

Select laboratory
Many factors can come into play when selecting a laboratory. WearCheck International provides oil analysis programs of high quality. View the WearCheck vision and mission statement to determine if WearCheck’s goals meet the objectives of your organization.