MRO Magazine

Incorporate oil analysis software in maintenance program

For more than 50 years, maintenance managers have utilized oil analysis to detect and diagnose equipment and lubrication problems that can result in costly repairs or even shutdowns of an entire line of machinery. While oil sampling has remained relatively unchanged, the evolution of technology has increased the amount of information available, making it difficult for maintenance managers to monitor and compare trends over time.


Industry

July 21, 2015
By PEM Magazine

Oil analysis software provide a user-friendly, online resource that can process large amounts of complicated data to provide meaningful results and recommendations that can influence purchase decisions. Today’s software programs manage maintenance schedules and provide advanced data graphing and data-mining.

Considered to be one of the most effective predictive maintenance technologies available, oil analysis data management has dramatically evolved over the past 10 years. Using an intuitive software application can replace the need for handwritten forms and expediting the process from sample submission to taking maintenance action. Technological enhancement to oil analysis data management produces real-time results that can ultimately prevent costly downtime, as well as reduce lubricant costs, decrease energy consumption, enhance equipment efficacy, and reduce the risk of injury and environmental damage.

Advantages of Oil Analysis Software
Today, maintenance managers are under pressure to do a lot more with a lot less. Oil analysis software enables companies to manage equipment efficiently and improve productivity. Companies analyzing oil-wetted equipment were previously restricted to submitting samples with handwritten labels, increasing the risk for reporting errors and misinformation. Submitting incomplete or illegible information also limits an analyst’s ability to properly draw conclusions or detect trends. Managers also had to wait at least two weeks for laboratory results to be delivered by mail, decreasing the amount of time available to implement maintenance recommendations or make critical purchase decisions.

Data management software allow samples to be submitted online quickly, enabling lab results to be available in as little as 24 hours. Users can also input critical information such as equipment details (make, model, identification number, location, etc.), hours of operation, maintenance activities, and drain intervals that provide more information-rich data points to analysts. Delivering more consistent and complete sample information allows analysts to produce more comprehensive reports for assisting maintenance managers.

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Along with swift processing, a software’s capability to handle large amounts of data improves the chances of identifying potential equipment failures. Oil analysis software’s data-mining capabilities offer customized graphing, a view of current equipment conditions, and the ability to compare data between various equipment. Utilizing user-defined criteria, trend graphs visually show the equipment’s current conditions, including general wear or contamination. Comparison graphs allow users to compare data of one piece of equipment against a similar piece or against an entire machinery group. Rather than poring over spreadsheets and reports, the graphs visually present critical trends and changes over time that identify potential problems with equipment, delivering useful information for maintenance and purchase decisions.

Maximizing the Value of Oil Analysis Software
To properly employ analysis software into the maintenance program, partnering with an independent, third-party laboratory ensures a cost effective deployment option that works with their sampling program. While independent labs are fee-based, they provide customers with complete access and utilization of all available data and management tools.
Employing the use of these tools, program users can manage communication and data distribution internally and create streamlined communication within the maintenance program. Software administrators can create users and customize permissions that control access to specific sets of data and place them in the hands of the intended user. The software also offers a set of customizable views and layouts that can help locate priority data – often within just a few clicks. Specifically, users can filter data by a variety of categories including the data range, unit identification, make or model, and have detailed reports emailed to any contact directly from the program.

These customizable features ease the oil analysis process and assist users in recording maintenance events including sampling dates, hours of usage and time in service. Program users can also establish customized alarm limits based on the company’s maintenance practices, which help reduce and ultimately prevent condition-based situations that may signal imminent failure.

Programmed to Deliver   
In an extremely competitive era of reduced project margins, companies are forced to deliver the maximum results with limited maintenance budgets. Information technology, such as oil analysis software, is a critical element to a company’s preventive maintenance approach because of its ability to spot trends, compare equipment and identify dangerous problems before they occur. Employing an oil analysis software program with data-mining tools, graphical interpretations and data sharing, companies can ensure the longevity of their equipment and a more robust bottom line.

This article was submitted by Barry Cato, OMA & Mary Geraci, Analysts, Inc. For more information, visit www.analystsinc.com.