Keeping your Oil CleanStratson
Keeping your Oil Clean
According to a paper presented by Chevron at the 2018 Society of Lubrication Engineers Annual Meeting, a whopping 82% of mechanical wear is caused by particle contamination. The two major contaminates are dirt and water in most situations. These are particles that you can’t even see, yet they can contribute to significate damage to equipment. Particles in the 1 to 10-micron range do the most damage. As little as one teaspoon of dirt in a 208 liter (55-gallon) drum of oil equals about a billion particles 4 microns or larger. This level of contamination generates wear and restricts the oil from protecting component parts. Oil additives will be consumed trying to manage this high level of contaminates. Ultimately this leads to shorter oil and equipment life. So keeping your Oil clean is essential.
So how does new oil become contaminated?
Between the refinery and the final application, oil can be transferred and handled eight or more times. Each time it’s transferred, the oil can pick up more contaminates. It is common for a lubricant to increase two to four ISO Cleanliness Codes during a typical distribution process. Many manufacturers of industrial oils filter their finished oils into clean containers and seal them.
Here are some tips on how to keep your oil clean;
- Make sure the top of the container is clean prior to opening it. Once the container is open, dirt in the air and surroundings is attracted to it.
- Make sure transfer equipment is clean. Many times, hoses, pumps, and funnels are left open to the air where dust and dirt can enter the system. Transfer hoses on bulk trucks need to be examined closely as they are transported over miles of open road on the outside of the bulk truck. Even though end caps are required, dirt can enter around seals and loose-fitting caps. Additionally, the caps may not be clean when attached to the hose.
- If possible, prefilter the oil prior to adding to the equipment sump.
- Keep air filters on the equipment sumps clean and lids closed.
- Replace filters often. All filtering systems have by-pass relief valves to ensure that equipment is still lubricated should the filter become clogged or flow is reduced below a safety point.
- Inspect the sump prior to adding new oil to make sure contaminates and water are not accumulating on the bottom. Every time you add oil it stirs up the sediment on the bottom of the sump and sends it through the equipment.
- Bulk tanks can accumulate rust and contaminates over time. This is especially true for tanks that are outside where rain and dust can seep in through seals, seams, and minute holes in the roof and walls.
Making the extra effort to keep industrial and automotive oil clean will extend the life of the oil and the equipment; reducing down time; and improve productivity.
SWEPCO strives to manufacture and deliver clean oils to our customers and we are always willing to work with any customer to help them find ways to reduce contamination. For more info and/or assistance for keeping your Oil clean, please contact us.