Which is more important? Lubricant Cleanliness or Quality?

Apr 28, 2014 | condition monitoring, coolant analysis, fuel analysis, grease analysis, oil analysis, oil testing, Techenomics | 0 comments

In the past, I have spoken about cleanliness of lubricants and how important it is. Silicon, sodium, water ingress and high particle counts but what about the quality? is it equally as important? is it more important to have clean fuels, oils, greases and coolants over quality? or are they the same thing?

With so many blending plants closing, selling and relocating, it leaves you with an uncomfortable feeling that could be described as being sceptical and doubtful about the reliability, and quality of the products that are produced at these plants.

Myself, being apart of a leading company that is well regarded in providing a spread of key laboratory facilities around the globe has enabled me with the ability to check the quality and reliance of the fuels and lubricants that are provided by some of these plants. The results are staggering.

Whilst I am not going to provide you with the results nor specify names or companies, what I will say is that you too have the ability to check your own suppliers quality by simply setting up a sampling schedule that allows you to monitor the incoming fuels and lubricants from your suppliers. In my previous blog on particle counts, I spoke briefly on the impacts of transferring fluids from one point to another. Blending plants have their own impacts and issues to deal with and you need to ensure that you are not being dealt the short straw.

Samples that contain higher than normal Iron, Aluminium, Copper, Chromium, Tin, Nickel, Silicon, Sodium and PQ indicates that there is wear within the plant components. The crude liquids and additives get pumped and transferred from holding containers or barrels into tanks, heated and stirred to produce their products. There are a number of ways and methods they all use, they all have their own blends and mixtures to produce their lubricants, fuels, coolants and greases but what they do have in common is this!

Most of them do not analyse “CHECK” wear and containments in their products!

How contradictory is that? many of the Oil Companies say that they provide analysis by using other companies to analyse the samples and yet they do not test their own batches for quality control as they should!

Yes they may test the TBN, viscosity and a few other factors but to simply not check your own lubricants for contamination or even check to see if their own plant has issues with wear and tear from pumps, seals, breathers and pipe work is contradictory to what they say are quality lubricants.

Some use scales, some use meters to ensure they place the correct amounts of additives and so on in each batch, but when were the scales last calibrated? when were the meters last calibrated? do they provide you with calibration records or analysis results with their so called quality lubricants?

I have been witnessed to many samples containing high readings in wear elements, high readings in contaminants, incorrect additives or insufficient additives, wrong TBN values, wrong viscosity values, high particle counts, missing additives and even water ingress. Times have changed and we are not so naive anymore on what we purchase, when you pay for quality you expect quality, all we can recommend as a top service provider is: “check that you are receiving what you pay for”.

For those sceptics out there! Some of you are probably thinking why listen to him? Why trust him? well the answer is very simple. What do I have to gain by telling you incorrect information?  At the end of the day it is your problem or issue if you choose “to do nothing” and not take advice when given. Techenomics is not merely about analysing your samples and being a processing company, it’s so much more, it’s about providing clients with helpful guidance in what we specialise in, we can help make a difference and try to improve bottom lines by preventing breakdowns or reoccurrences in breakdowns. Parts replacements are one of the highest costs in the maintenance departments and if we can help save a few dollars on parts alone, than this will improve the bottom line and allow our clients to use those cost savings in other areas.

If you were not concerned about the quality of the lubricants, fuels, coolants and greases you purchase, then why not buy the cheapest brand you can get? You are bound to save money if you buy the cheapest around!…….

Again it goes back to what I mentioned at the start of this article, “It gives you an uncomfortable feeling that could be described as being sceptical and doubtful about the reliability, and quality of the products that are produced at these plants” and this is why we look for quality.

Which is more important? Lubricant Cleanliness or Quality?

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