Elements to look for in your oil analysis reports
Oil analysis shouldn’t just be a tick box – it should be a useful tool that helps you plan your maintenance effectively.
The key to this lies in your oil analysis reports. In my 20 years in manufacturing one thing I’ve learned is that reports often get shoved in in-trays, to be reviewed when there’s a spare moment (which, in a busy company, rarely occurs).
Don’t let your oil analysis reports fall into that category – it can have big implications on your machine downtime, productivity and, ultimately, margins.
Here are the elements to look for in your oil analysis report to ensure you can easily see the ramifications of oil condition:
- Root cause analysis and diagnosis
If your particle count is off target you need to know why. The analysis should identify the root cause(s) of the oil contamination, with engineers recommending the appropriate solution. As a result, you’ll be able to keep your oil and equipment working more effectively and profitably.
- Action lists
Your report should tell you what needs to be done and when it needs doing. This makes preventative maintenance easy, so you can dramatically reduce machine downtime.
For instance, simply telling you that there’s an increase in iron to a moderate level isn’t particularly helpful. Putting that in context – by saying that it needs close monitoring but no immediate action is required – tells you the implication.
And if a concerning reading hasn’t improved from the previous analysis, your report should flag this and remind you, for example, to check the filter.
- Flagging of critical issues
If the analysis flags a critical issue you should be notified within 24 hours so you can take care of it immediately.
It’s also useful if your report has an obvious way of indicating the importance of a particular issue – for example, we use a traffic light colour coding system.
- Checklists for standard maintenance recommendations
For standard remedies like changing oil, flushing the system or using a filter or additive, it’s helpful to receive these details as a checklist rather than you having to trawl through written notes. That way you can see the recommendations at a glance and simply pass the list to your maintenance team to act on.
- Basic data
Your report should also include the baseline of data from the analysis, so you have the details for information, reporting and compliance purposes. This should cover:
- Full spectro analysis
- Particle count as per ISO 4406
- Viscosity readings