Keeping your equipment running smoothly is the goal of every maintenance technician in every industrial facility. One of the may key components is proper lubrication. With that in mind, here’s an overview of a few problems of oil and lubrication.
Corrosion & Lubrication Degradation
Water or other corrosive process media in oil, such as natural gas compounds or sulfur, cause corrosion problems.
Corrosion is especially a problem in refineries and crude oil process facilities. Corrosive wear in industrial machinery is normally caused by contamination of the oil with water or other corrosive fluid.
The degraded oil can also cause corrosive wear in motor. Oxidation is a common way that oil gets degraded. Oxidation is caused when hydrocarbon oil molecules chemically react with oxygen from combustion gases, atmosphere, or moisture.
Long-term high-temperatures cause rapid oxidation. Measure change in dielectric constant, Total Acid Number (TAN) or Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR Oxidation) to give an indication of when to change oil.
Also look at the color of the oil. If it’s degraded, then it will be very dark in color. Keep in mind that it may be dark and still perfectly good, but if it’s bad due to oxidation or other chemical deterioration it should also be very dark. Dielectric increase of 0.1 usually means it’s time to change the oil.
Oil Storage and Handling
- Fingerprint your lubricants to make sure correct labeling using dielectric or viscosity
- Clean Up
- Label containers and equipment
- Accurately label sample bottles
- Store lubricants in clean, dry locations and use desiccating breathers
- Transfer lubricants using dedicated, tagged totes
Cleaning up your oil storage and using clean and correctly labeled storage containers is the first step in gaining control of your lubrication program.
Care should be used when handling lubricants. Incoming and used oils should be checked for contamination and to make sure that the correct oil is being used. Many problems may occur with wrong, mixed, and contaminated oils throughout the plant.