ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 24

"It's important to note that all of the
tests in oil analysis ... are done in
conjunction with one another. Each
contributes to the complete understanding of what is happening within
a given piece of equipment."
Joe Leistikow, technical manager,
U.S. Lubricants

The Critical Component

In or Out?

Third-party laboratories are equipped to provide a full
range of oil analysis and maintenance services. Leistikow
pointed out that, at U.S. Lubricants' OilChek lab, "We
provide technical resources, go on-site, review processes,
discuss reports and investigate potential failure modes
based on information inputs."
Even so, he acknowledges that an outside laboratory may
not always be the most appropriate fit for a manufacturer's
needs. "I wouldn't necessarily say it's better for a third party
to do the analysis," he said. "Effective oil sampling relies

24

JANUARY 2020

heavily on what the customer is planning with regard to
preventive or predictive maintenance. If a customer is routinely changing lubricant regardless of the quality, there's not
much need for analysis at all. But if a maintenance manager
is wanting to push the boundaries of cost-benefit ratios and
leverage their lubricant partners, I don't think that situation
produces any quality differences between lab results. A
third-party lab would not produce any major difference in
sample results."
Still, for manufacturers that decide to go it alone when it
comes to lubricant analysis, Zabawski noted that there may
be a few challenges ahead. "For example," he said, "testing
labs perform sample preparation, which is not common
for in-house labs. A test as common as particle counting
is skewed if there are air bubbles in the sample, which can
elevate the count. Oil analysis labs will use several processes
to reduce the bubbles in a given sample, making their results
much more accurate than they would be using the exact
same testing equipment that is being used in-house. There
can be at least a 200% difference in the results." 
While that difference sounds extreme, it need not be a
game-changer. Zabawski explained that it simply raises the
overall baseline number, which would then be taken into
account for all future sampling. "Two hundred percent is
a significant difference, obviously, but it won't necessarily
cause you grief or make you miss a problem," he said. "You'll
simply have a consistently higher shift across your data."
It might be beneficial to work with a larger, outside
laboratory, though, if a company requires a prescriptive
analysis of the data itself, an understanding that goes beyond
the hard numbers. "Smaller, independent labs don't typically
provide a lot of diagnosis with their analysis," Holloway
said. "Larger labs often have teams that will pore through
the data and then summarize what it actually means. If
you have a certified oil analyst on staff, they'll be able to
interpret whatever data you see. But many companies don't
have that."

| COMPOUNDINGS | ILMA.ORG

For end users, lubricants are, for the most part, out of sight
- and potentially out of mind. As a result, the need to
assess how well they are continuing to deliver the required
performance, while maintaining equipment functionality
and efficiency, may get overlooked. According to Holloway,
that would be a mistake. "When it comes to things that
have a critical influence over my profitability - equipment
downtime and repair/replacement - it makes sense to
measure it, test it and keep an eye on it."
Bittner is a Michigan-based freelance journalist and a frequent
contributor to Compoundings.


http://www.ILMA.ORG

ILMA Compoundings - January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ILMA Compoundings - January 2020

LETTER FROM THE CEO
INSIDE ILMA
WHAT'S COMING UP
NEW MEMBERS
INDUSTRY RUNDOWN
COUNSEL COMPOUND
WASHINGTON LANDSCAPE
IN NETWORK
PORTRAIT
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - Cover1
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - Cover2
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 1
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 2
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - LETTER FROM THE CEO
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - INSIDE ILMA
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 5
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 6
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 7
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - WHAT'S COMING UP
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - NEW MEMBERS
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - INDUSTRY RUNDOWN
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 11
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 12
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 13
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 14
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 15
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 16
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 17
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 18
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 19
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 20
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 21
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 22
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 23
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 24
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 25
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 26
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 27
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 28
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 29
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - COUNSEL COMPOUND
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 31
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - WASHINGTON LANDSCAPE
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 33
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - IN NETWORK
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - 35
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - PORTRAIT
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - Cover3
ILMA Compoundings - January 2020 - Cover4
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