Oil Analysis

What is Oil Analysis?

Oil Analysis (OA) is the process of testing contamination levels and the chemical make-up of oils (and also fuels and other fluids), in laboratory conditions, in order to identify; their properties and any contamination or wear debris that have been introduced from machinery.

The purpose of Oil Analysis is to accurately determine the condition of the oil and its machinery, in order to make necessary adjustments, to prolong the life span of both oil and machinery, keeping machines running at an optimal level for longer. As such, our Oil Analysis service is always followed up by a comprehensive report of the findings and advisory notes.

Comparing the results of Oil Analysis samples over the life span of machinery, allows negative trends to be identified and corrected, helping to eliminate costly repairs.

The Importance of Oil Analysis

Whatever your industry, as an operator or owner of equipment that utilises any type of fluid - be it engine oil, hydraulic oil, gear oil, transmission oil, grease or coolant - you should know that these fluids are the lifeblood of your equipment.

The oils protect and lubricate, reduce friction, clean vital parts, act as a coolant, maintain compression, lubricate seals, operate in high-pressure systems or where hydraulic parts are used and to maintain the life of the components.

The grease is present to lubricate and stop wear occurring in bearings, pins and bushes and to ensure that all the components run smoothly and with minimum friction.

The coolants are there to keep the equipment from overheating and to protect metals from distorting under extreme temperatures.

Contamination causes over 85% of mechanical failures resulting in expensive repairs and costly machine downtime.

Each moving part in an oil lubricated circuit has a normal wear rate. As these parts wear they introduce particles into the oil, generally these are very small but through an oil sampling and analysis programme these can be monitored. If there is an increase in the amount or size of the particles the analysis will highlight these and help to pinpoint the source. This gives you the opportunity to take preventative action before a failure can occur.

Many machine manufacturers analyse and test their products over many years and millions of miles to failure point. During these tests regular oil samples are taken and a complete analysis over the lifespan of the components is built up. This is then broken down into a wear analysis record. This trend is then used by the oil laboratories to be able to monitor the machinery.

Regular oil analysis is a low cost preventative maintenance tool that enables owners/operators to see what is happening inside the machinery.

Our Oil Analysis Service

Our in-house fuel, coolant, grease and oil analysis services provide you with the information and recommendations required to ensure that your oils, fluids and machinery keep running efficiently, to their optimal levels, for longer.

Operating to the highest industry standards, our oil analysis laboratory complies with ISO 9001:2008 and BS EN O14001:2004 standards and our transformer oil analysis programme is UKAS Accredited, meaning with us you are guaranteed the highest quality, certified, Oil Analysis service. Our process is detailed below:

Oil Sample Taken

A sample of your oil (or diesel fuel) is taken from your system to be tested.

Oil Sample Delivery

Post your oil sample to us, to arrive at our laboratory to be analysed.

Oil Analysis & Testing

Laboratory analysis will confirm the cleanliness and chemical composition of your oil.

Comprehensive Reporting

Technical reports are supplied, detailing your oils' make-up and recommendations.

To ensure that you get results on time we aim for a 1-3 day turnaround for lube oils and 3-5 day turnaround on diesel fuel.

What Types of Fluids Can Be Analysed?

We can perform oil analysis testing on all types of oils; mineral, synthetic, bio-degradable, food grade, transmission, hydraulic, gear, transformer, turbine, compressor, heat transfer and quench, neat cutting, soluble, process, aviation, marine and many more.

For more information on the main types of fluids that we analyse, select the relevant tile below:

Lubricating (Lube) Oil Analysis

Our oil analysis testing service is compatible with many different types of lube oils including: hydraulic oils, gear and transmission oils, automotive and marine engine oils, turbine oils (for power stations and steam turbines), chiller oils, industrial oils and more.

Lube Oil Analysis

Diesel Fuel Analysis

Diesel Analysis

Transformer Oil Analysis

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Coolant Analysis

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Grease Analysis

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We can offer 'on site services' for sampling, gravimetric patch testing, particle counting, water content and FAME (biodiesel) content of diesel fuel.

Routine analysis of automotive and industrial oils from all industries and in all applications including; construction plant, mining, quarrying, HGV, marine, production machinery, manufacturing, aerospace, rail, industrial machinery, power stations and many more.

Our Oil Analysis Laboratory

Operating to the highest industry standards, our oil analysis laboratory complies with ISO 9001:2008 and BS EN O14001:2004 standards.

In addition to Oil Analysis, our laboratory is also fully equipped to undertake fuel analysis, coolant analysis and grease analysis.

Our transformer oil analysis programme is UKAS Accredited.

You are guaranteed the highest quality, certified, analysis services in our laboratory.

Benefits of Oil Analysis & Sampling

There are many benefits to implementing an oil analysis programme. It allows you to:

Reduce Operating Costs

Reduce the costs of oil and filter changes, by keeping your oil cleaner for longer.

Pinpoint Potential Problems

Detailed analysis will help identify any problems in their infancy.

Plan Manpower and Maintenance Schedules

Regular analysis will highlight trends allowing you to plan system services.

Plan Service Schedules

Know when you need to change, or clean your oil to plan the service work.

Maintain Productivity

Keep your equipment running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Save Downtime Costs

Analysis and filtration keeps your machines operational for longer.

Reduce Major Repairs

Identify minor repairs to prevent them from becoming major repairs.

Reduce Waste Products

Analysis usually shows that your used oil can be recycled and re-used.

Prepare Equipment for Sale

Evaluate the state of equipment in readiness for purchase or sale.

Oil Analysis Sampling Tips

Oil Sample
Craig's Tip

Always attempt to supply as much information about the oil as as possible to the laboratory; The more information provided, the better - hours on meter, miles, oil changed date, machine history, oil added and more. Try to also provide a sample of new oil or the details of the product.

Taking a
Andy's Tip

Always sample your oil at normal running temperatures and where it has not been possible to do so, please indicate that it has been "taken cold" on the sample form. Only sample the oil after a minimum of 15 minutes of normal running, to ensure the oil is well mixed.

Health &
Gary's Tip

Oils can reach temperatures of 200°f (93°C) particularly in engines so always use protective gear such as gloves and goggles. Oil spillage can be dangerous so keep to hand an oil spill kit in case of an emergency.

Peter's Tip

Where possible install oil sampling points on all machinery. This reduces the risk of contamination and maintains consistency in oil sampling. These points are inexpensive and simple to install. Many machinery manufacturers fit these as standard.

New Oil
Jason's Tip

If you change your oil supplier, provide the laboratory with the relevant information and a test sample of the product. Provide the type, brand and classification of the oil.

Andy's Tip

Always use a fresh tube for each sample to avoid cross contamination. Cut the tubing into the correct length ensuring it does NOT touch the bottom of the reservoir.

Craig's Tip

Make sure the pump is clean after each sample is taken, draw off ¾ of the bottle and discard into a suitable container, then take the sample into a fresh bottle.

& Clean
Gary's Tip

Oil is an irritant and contributes to several medical skin conditions e.g. Dermatitis, eczema. Maintain a strict health and safety policy when handling oil based products. Dispose of all contaminated materials safely and in accordance to government guidelines.

Andy's Tip

When taking oil samples do not take samples from used oil filters, drain plugs or a waste oil container.

Andy's Tip

Use a separate sampling pump for coolants as glycol will give a false reading to oil samples.

Oil Analysis Recommendations

Please consider the following when it comes to Oil Analysis:

  • Always refer to the machinery manufacturers recommendations for oil types; using the wrong oil type could invalidate a warranty claim.
  • Use an independent laboratory for oil analysis as they are not there to sell you oil and will give you unbiased reports.
  • Oil analysis can reveal the amount of wear taking place on your machinery and the location, by the type of metal accumulation in the oil.
  • Regular oil sampling will allow you to build a trend based on hours/miles and enables maintenance staff to plan their schedules.
  • Sulphuric acid contamination is caused from excessive amounts of sulphur in diesel fuel combined with water contamination.
  • Additional filtration can remove contamination and water, prolonging the life of the oil.
  • Oil analysis reports will identify when to change oil and oil filters, making it easy to maintain your equipment.
  • Change air filters regularly and fit a pre-air cleaner to prolong air filter life.
  • Train maintenance staff in correct oil sampling procedures.
  • Always sample oil hot.
  • Always sample oil from the same point.
Oil Analysis Tips and Recommendations

Comprehensive Oil Analysis Reporting

A full range of fluid analysis tests are performed on your sample in our laboratory, the results of which are compiled into a comprehensive report and returned to you.

These tests include:

Wear Rate Tests

Full spectrographic analysis of wear metals, oil additives and contaminants by ICP, ASTM D5185; monitoring and locating contamination, smetal wear particles, and oil additive package elements.

Oil Cleanliness Tests

Discover what abrasive substances are increasing the wear rate of equipment.

Viscosity Tests

Oil viscosity tested in centistokes at 40°C, ASTM D445.

Particle Counting

Standard test for hydraulic oils to ISO 4406:99

Karl Fischer

This test looks for water contamination.

Infrared Tests

Analysis for engine oils to monitor oil condition and degradation. Reported as percentge allowable.

Oil Condition Tests

Compares used oil to new oil to check the lubrication properties and to see if the oil is providing and maintaining its protective and physical properties.

Glycol, Water & Fuel Tests

Looks for these contaminants in the oil and can give an early indication of ingress from the cooling or fuel system.

All analysis reports carry a recommendation from the laboratory, offering information and advice on any actions required. When a sample is received at the laboratory results are available within 48 hours. These are then e-mailed in pdf format directly back to you.

Dependant on the initial findings, the laboratory may - after contacting you - perform further testing at their discretion. Microscopic photography may also be used to provide additional evidence to support and record findings.

On-Site Contamination Control Training

Want us to train your workforce on How to Control Contamination in the Workplace?

We can present to groups of your managers and employees.

Contact us to find out more...