“Blood Test” For Machines And Engines – Automated Viscosity Measurements

Oil condition monitoring is like a blood test for your engine, telling you in which condition the engine is after examining it for metal, fuel, moisture, antifreeze or other contaminants.
Machines need be protected from major problems and downtimes. In-service oil samples are contaminated due to their usage and origin, affecting their physical and chemical properties and thus the machines’ and engines’ life time.

Oil condition monitoring (OCM)

In-service oil samples vary enormously depending on their original properties, their site of application, environmental conditions and duration of use.
In-service oil accumulates from various big and small size machineries and engines used in automotive gas and diesel engines, industries, aircrafts or marine engines.
For any machine and engine it is important that the quality of the oil is still within the specifications to guarantee proper function.
Oil condition monitoring helps you avoid waste of oil and money, preventing periodical oil exchanges solely based on a fixed schedule, allows you to check machines’ and engines’ state of health and react in good time.

Oil condition monitoring tells you

  • if the machine/engine is developing any problems,
  • if the oil is working well in the specific machines/engines,
  • if you can keep running the specific machines/engines without oil exchanges
  • and how improvements to the oil’s properties affect applications, life times or uptimes of machines/engines and the aging behavior of the oil itself.

Oil condition monitoring combines a number of various testing procedures for standard and special requirements due to a used oil’s origin. There are big differences in the grade of contamination and degradation of oils, depending on whether they arise from industrial machineries, marine oils, cars or motorcycles, for example. The site of application also makes a difference for specifically determined parameters.

Sites of oil application:
Hydraulic oil, Motor oil, Crankcase oil, Gear box oil, Synthetic oil, Transmission oil, Brake fluids, Fuel oil.

Just like oils are produced with different properties due to their intended use, the oil condition monitoring also has to suit their origin.
Common to almost all oil condition monitoring programs is the determination of the viscosity.

Why viscosity?

Viscosity is an indicator for

  • contaminations, e.g. by soot, fuels, metals,
  • alterations resulting from oxygen intake and vaporization loss as well as general wear behavior.

If the viscosity of the in-service oil trends towards exceeding a specified value for its intended use, it affects the “health” of the machine or engine and has to be exchanged.
Kinematic viscosity and the Viscosity Index (VI) are therefore important parameters for describing the usage and condition of specific oils.

What the Viscosity Index (VI) tells you

The VI indicates the influence of temperature on the oil’s viscosity.

Low VI: There is a considerable change of viscosity with changing temperatures. That means the oil is highly viscous at low temperatures and rather liquid at high temperatures.

High VI: There is only a small change of the initial viscosity over a wide temperature range.

While machines and engines are in operation, the oil is at a high temperature. To improve their usage for specific applications, VI improvers are added to reduce the change in viscosity related to higher temperatures. In any case, the right blend has to be developed and analyzed.

A lot to analyze – different samples and parameters

Large amounts of in-service oil samples from different environments and application sites have to be analyzed. To cover the huge amount of samples and to receive the required answers about their respective status, prompt automation for up to 24/7 operation is of great assistance.

A helping hand: HTV High Throughput Viscometer for oil condition monitoring

The HTV High Throughput Viscometer is a modular and flexible automation platform for determining viscosity and density at once.

By automatically calculating the kinematic viscosity and the VI at 40 °C and 100 °C, the HTV precisely covers important quality parameters of in-service oil standard analysis.

The HTV fully complies with ASTM D7042 (equivalent to ASTM D445/ISO 12185) and ASTM D2270/ISO 2909 and measures up to 2000 samples per day.

HTV High Throughput Viscometer

The HTV fuses sophisticated automation and robotics with the unique rotational Anton Paar Stabinger Viscometer™ SVM 3000. This makes you viscosity-independent; tedious exchanges of capillaries related to measured viscosity ranges are no longer required.

The modular platform concept can be individually configured with up to 10 measuring and tray modules, and is ready for integration of various other analytical instruments to extend the range of analyzed parameters.

HTV High Throughput Viscometer

Repeatable and reliable results are essential for saving machines and engines from major problems and for proving that individual oils with specific viscosities work better than others in specific machine and engine families. Automating your analysis workflow allows you to track improvements, alterations, aging and the influence of contaminants and the environment of in-service oil samples in a fully automatic high-throughput manner.

In this way, a smooth run with the right oil is guaranteed.

  Learn more @ Anton Paar

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