Optimum sampling protocols vary according to the assets being monitoring and the programme objectives. But here are some basic rules for good practice.
- There are three main sampling techniques. In order of preference, these involve a dedicated sampling valve (eg Checkfluid), a vampire thief pump (available for TelLab) and a drain sample.
- Don’t cold sample. Take the sample during standard operating conditions. If this isn’t possible, aim to sample as soon after shutdown as possible.
- The sampling location should be between the lubricated asset and oil filter.
- Avoid areas of restricted flow and where settling of wear products or contaminants is likely.
- Never do anything to jeopardise your health and safety or that of your colleagues.
- Conduct a thorough flush of sampling valves and equipment.
- Avoid cross-contamination of sampling equipment and ALWAYS use clean, dry sample bottles. We supply sampling bottles, but if you’re stuck, your local pharmacy may be able to provide unused plastic medicine bottles, which will do the job!
- Get your samples to your oil analysis laboratory without undue delay.
- Make use of software tools to trend your data over time. (We provide customers with free access to our SpectroTrack portal to view results by asset and over time.)
Remember interpreting oil analysis results is largely about identifying trends and outliers. Therefore, consistency in sampling is key – ensure your technicians understand the importance of uniformity and consistency in the sampling times, locations and protocols. Better still, provide them with standardised procedures. Another major rule to add is simple good housekeeping to avoid sample contamination.