Electronic Particle Counter Tests Lubricants On Site in Real Time

SCL Investment Helps Keep Critical Machines Moving, Operations Running

For SCL customers in industrial engineering and even construction, the vitality of their business depends on the precision of their machines. Microscopic particles invisible to the naked eye can throw an entire operation off, which can in turn equate to millions of dollars in production lost as well as precious time wasted.

Your oil or lubricant tells a story, and not all stories have happy endings. That is why proactive maintenance may save you millions and reactive maintenance is not an option.

Enter the importance of oil analysis. From a preventative maintenance and even a diagnostic standpoint, oil analysis can help determine whether there is any metal on metal contact in your machine and provide insight into the presence of trace elements, additives, water, soot, oxidation, nitration and acids that can derail operations.

While oil analysis has long helped SCL customers in their preventative maintenance schedules, a new investment by SCL is aimed at increasing turnaround time for oil samples and, in some cases, even providing real-time feedback.

“When you pull oil samples, even with a quick turnaround, it can take 48 hours to get results,” said SCL Oil Analyst Expert Troy Hudson. “Our new laser particle counter allows us to run samples on-site and provide immediate feedback to customers who need help determining issues with their machines and how to mediate it.”

Using Laser to Identify Particles

A micron is a millionth of a meter (1/1,000,000 meters), or about .00004 inches. A human blood cell is about 5 microns across. And an element that is 5 microns can destroy your machine.  You won’t ever see it with the naked eye.  This is what we are dealing with.

The MPFILTRI LPA 2 is a portable particle counter that utilizes twin lasers to identify any trace elements in various hydraulic fluids; record fluid temperature and relative humidity; and provide immediate reports in ISO 4406, NAS 1638 and AS4059 formats.

“I’d say about 80 percent of all failures are caused by particle contamination, and this machine allows us to help all of our customers lower that rate significantly,” Hudson said. “By providing access to this portable unit, we’re providing on-site verification for customers who cannot risk their machines going down. For example, if you have a code generation plant where you’re running two turbines of gas or steam 24 hours a day, this machine works to ensure both remain at full capacity all the time.”

Laser particle counters use a highly focused light to measure interference in the transmission of light in a sample. When light is interrupted by a particle, it produces a scattering effect, according to MachineryLubrication.com. The size of each particle is then measured by the machine based upon the change in light energy in the sample.

Using a laser particle counter is especially beneficial for “machines where the fluid is typically clean, dry and clear (for example, hydraulic systems and turbines,” according to Machinery Lubrication.

In those instances, and other applications including construction where it is beneficial, SCL can assist customers in getting real-tine information about filter efficiency and configuration, a component’s adherence to required cleanliness levels, changes in the system’s wear and attrition rates, and changes in secondary contamination affecting the system such as damaged cylinder seals.

An Added Benefit to Oil Analysis in Labs

While the benefits of submitting oil samples for laboratory analysis are still withstanding, utilizing an electronic particle counter on-site can provide a number of benefits including:

• The elimination of outside influences such as extraneous contamination

• Immediately being able to check results against required cleanliness levels

• The ability to take measurements at multiple points on the system during operation in real-time

• Flushing procedures can be monitored to determine when required cleanliness levels have been achieved immediately

“This piece of equipment is truly meant to complement our oil analysis program for those customers who need real-time information with regard to the lubricants their critical machines are running,” Hudson said. “Our goal is really to be a one-stop shop for our customers maintenance needs. If they want real-time assistance, this can help them achieve that. For all other needs, we can’t stress enough the importance of a comprehensive oil analysis program.”

For information on utilizing the new SCL electronic particle counter at your business, contact your SCL rep or email hudsont@scoil.com.

Contact an SCL Consultant today 

In a wide range of automotive, industrial and commercial sectors, SCL remains steadfast on its commitment to product and industry knowledge, performance satisfaction and superior logistics. We protect and optimize the machines that keep our country moving. For more information on how we help can help with services including bulk purchasing or managing inventory, contact an SCL expert today.


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