Oil life is very important for hydraulic components in Minnesota. Unless it is clean, it cannot do its job and you will be in for costly breakdowns. That makes checking the lifecycle of lubricants a large priority in every shop that uses hydraulic equipment. Whether you outsource testing or perform it in-house, here is what you need to assure thorough testing of your lubricants:
- Well-equipped labs: Many shops maintain on-site lab facilities for testing oil. Tests analyze viscosity, particle count and moisture levels. Depending on the experience of the technicians and the equipment you have available, results can vary depending on those factors. If you maintain in-house testing, check to be sure all your equipment is functioning properly and your technicians receive consistent training. Check these factors if you hire outside labs for these tasks, too—even though they are ultimately responsible, you must assure they meet these basic standards. The quality of your equipment depends on it.
- Correct test slate: The test slate indicates standards for your lubricants. A general one may not work for your needs, so work with your labs to determine the best slate for your purposes. Many shops that outsource testing rely on the lab to make these decisions, but you must communicate clearly so you are not limited to default standards when something else works better.
- Best sampling location: When you collect lubricant samples from your machinery, you need to choose a spot where you are most likely to find reliable results. Components that receive the most use and demand are likely where you want to start. If you choose a low-use location, your results may not be completely accurate, and you risk failure.
- Good scheduling: Lubricant testing should be performed based on a schedule. Normally based on machine hours, you also need to consider equipment age and how critical it is to your operation. Older machines that perform work for you every day must undergo lubricant testing more often than a newer machine that is only employed once a week.
- Solid procedure: Every lab, whether outsourced or in-house, should have a proven procedure for determining the best results. That includes protecting testing samples from outside contaminants and creating clear documentation. Technicians should test lubricants the same way each time so you can compare results and analyze any trends.
- Sound data interpretation: This starts with technicians who can read analysis reports and explain how they affect your operating conditions. The best testing in the world will not help you if you do not receive useful results. Lubricant analysis may also vary depending on equipment type and its essential role in your operation. Technicians and reports should make those distinctions and be able to indicate any trending data that could influence future operating procedure.
M & M Hydraulic Company provides repair and maintenance for hydraulic components in Minnesota and the upper Midwest. If you require assistance with lubricant testing or need a repair, contact us today to schedule an appointment.