There are many types of Particle Counters available in today's market, each created for a sole purpose in detecting quality by counting particles sizes and number of particles obtained in a sample. Samples may consist of liquids, solids and aerosols. In this article we concentrate on Oil Particle Counters.
What are the advantages of Particle Counts?
Particle Counts can quickly identify issues such as water, dirt and other contamination problems that have or are occurring within your oil. They are able to help determine physical wear patterns by using the counts in conjunction with other tests.
Fluid Cleanliness plays a large part in maintaining equipment componentry life spans. If your Hydraulic system had a current particle count of 20/18/15 and you filtered the oil down to 14/12/9 and were able to maintain that lower code, it is believed that you would have extended the life span by 5 times of what it would have been if you left the oil at the higher particle level. Another belief is that 75-80% of Hydraulic breakdowns can be attributed to contamination. By detecting and monitoring cleanliness levels of a fluid, maintenance personal are able to apply proactive measures and preventative maintenance strategies to increase availability rates on equipment.
In an ideal world we would have particle count results from the Oil Manufacturing Plant, from there another count would be taken when the Oil tanker reached its destination, a sample taken before the oil was pumped into the bulk holding tanks, another sample would be taken from the discharge line, another from the service truck that carries the oil and another from the equipment itself.
If we were able to do this than we would be able to immediately identify were the source of the contamination of problems occur. It would identify and show you that after each transfer from one source to another that the number of particles are increased, this is due to dirt, rust, water, moisture, iron, copper and so on being added to the oil as it is transferred. Each time an oil is transferred it has the ability to jump not only one count but a few counts greater than it was originally. Let me show you an example.
When should we be concerned?
With Particle counts, you are able to apply target cleanliness levels, this is very helpful when you filter the oil down to a certain ISO cleanliness level. If you can maintain cleanliness levels at a consistent rate, then you should start to see reductions in unnecessary breakdowns and component replacements.
There are some industry standards used for Cleanliness levels.
- High Pressure (250 to 400 bar) - 15/12
- Normal Pressure (150 to 250 bar) - 16/13
- Medium pressure (50 to 150 bar) - 18/15
- Low Pressure (<50 bar) - 19/16
These levels can be achieved using the correct filtration devices and methods. Filter efficiency can make a large difference in the end result.
Particle Count charts are widely available on the internet or you can obtain one by contacting Techenomics.
What are the Disadvantages of Particle Counts
Some suppliers may charge you extra for the test.
Other than cost, there really isn't any that outweigh the benefits.
Techenomics offer Particle Counts in their Analysis, please enquire to find out more.