The Do’s and Don’ts of Lubricant Sampling

Lubrication is a simple yet critical part of machine maintenance, and lubricant sampling is an important task for ensuring the health and longevity of machinery. Proper lubricant analysis can reveal a wealth of information about both the condition of the lubricant and the machine — but only if it’s sampled correctly.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest do’s and don’ts of lubricant sampling, as well as ways to capture a clear picture of your equipment’s condition through accurate sampling.

The purpose of lubricant sampling

Lubricant sampling is an essential practice for monitoring oil condition and the condition of the machinery that oil lubricates. By analyzing lubricant samples, you can detect contamination, wear particles, and changes in the chemical composition of the oil. This information is invaluable for predictive maintenance, allowing you to address issues before they lead to equipment failure.

A lubricant sample can tell you if equipment is optimized or if the optimal lubricant viscosity was applied. It might yield information that informs a change in service schedule or in how the equipment can be operated. Ultimately, lubricant sampling offers concrete data on the equipment’s condition and its performance between servicing.

Do’s of lubricant sampling

Getting lubricant sampling right is critical for accurate analysis. Adhering to best practices ensures that samples accurately reflect the condition of the lubricant and machinery. Here are the key steps to take:

  • DO follow a standardized procedure. Consistency is key. Adhere to a step-by-step procedure for collecting samples. This ensures that every sample is representative and comparable.
  • DO label samples clearly. Each sample should be clearly labeled with information such as the date, time, machine ID, and sampling point. Accurate labeling eliminates confusion and aids in precise analysis.
  • DO use the correct sampling points. Samples should be sourced from points that provide the most representative sample of the system oil. Typically, this is at or near the pump outlet, midstream in the return line, or from the drain port.

Don’ts of lubricant sampling

Avoiding common mistakes in lubricant sampling is just as important as following best practices. Missteps can produce misleading results and potentially costly maintenance errors. Here’s what to avoid:

  • DON’T contaminate the sample. Ensure that the sampling equipment is clean. Any external contamination can skew the analysis results.
  • DON’T ignore environmental factors. The surrounding environment, like temperature and humidity, can influence the sampling process. Be mindful of these factors to ensure the integrity of the sample.
  • DON’T delay analysis. Once collected, the sample should be analyzed as soon as possible. Delays can lead to changes in the sample that might reduce the accuracy of test results.

Lubricant sampling is a simple yet critical task.

Effective lubricant sampling is an art that requires attention to detail, consistency, and adherence to best practices. By following these guidelines, industrial professionals can gain a clearer insight into the condition of their machinery, leading to improved maintenance decisions and extended equipment life. Remember, where industrial lubrication is concerned, a small sample can tell a big story.

Need help properly lubricating the equipment in your facilities? You can always count on the professionals at Global Electronic Services. Contact us for all your industrial electronic, servo motor, AC and DC motor, hydraulic, and pneumatic needs — and don’t forget to like and follow us on Facebook!
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