Improved Equipment Reliability with On-Site Lube Oil Analysis

by | Feb 13, 2007 | Asset Management


I recently came across a lubricant analysis story in Plant Services magazine about an electric power provider in Kansas in the U.S. It described how this producer wanted to reduce costs and improve machine reliability. The article described the importance of comprehensive oil analysis and the decision to do analysis in house with Emerson’s CSI 5200 minilab versus sending the samples offsite.

I caught up with Ray Garvey, an engineer in the Machinery Health Management organization about this project. Ray said that Mark Mayworm and the team at Westar’s Jeffrey Energy have configured a solution that is ideally suited for this collection of six power plants. Westar is one example of the truth in Drew Troyer’s words:

Every successful oil analysis program I have observed has passionate technicians performing the work. And almost without exception, each includes some degree of onsite oil analysis.

Ray is convinced that a combination of these two things: passionate technicians and some degree of onsite oil analysis have produced a successful lubrication program for Westar.

Ray mentioned other documented cases, who like Mark Mayworm, have followed this lube program success formula and it has paid off:

Jaime Viramontes and others supporting El Paso Electric’s PdM program achieved cost avoidance of $8.8 million over a period of three years. Jaime reports, “The oil analysis program has been a successful and integral part of EPEC’s PdM/RBM program.”

Ed Bohn documented 738% Return on investment with 2 month payback period for investment in minilab and training by General Motors.

Dennis Roinick and the entire PdM Team at Duke McGuire nuclear station won “Best Overall Predictive Maintenance Program” in Uptime’s Program of the Year competition in recognition for their fully integrated program which includes an on-site minilab.

Herb Springer gives this reason for the reliability success resulting from on-site oil analysis at each of more than a dozen Southern Company plants, “The results I get from doing onsite oil analysis are more representative of the health of the machine at that moment.”

Richard Kus of American Axle and Manufacturing found savings of $75,000 to $100,000 using on-site oil analysis.

Mike Lenz and others from P&H Minepro Services transport their minilabs to the mine sites as one part of their predictive diagnostic services in North and South America.

These folks and many others are Ray’s heroes. Each in their own way is a champion for the cause of better lubrication practices in their diverse plant situations. Ray confided with me that he was one of a dozen developers who set out in 1991 to design cost-effective on-site oil analysis solutions and then to build credibility for those solutions.

For an engineer and inventor like Ray, there is a huge personal reward every time one of these “passionate technicians” calls in to say, “Hey, this is great! Let me tell you what I was able to find using your onsite minilab…”

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