Lub Oil Analysis

Bill Davies
13th May 2009, 12:32
Interested to hear the views from Engineers on their reliance/prioritisation of Lub Oil Analysis. Most of the ships I sailed in these reports arrived every three months or more regularly if the Chief required. Their reception was always mixed and I often found I placed more on them than the Chief.
From memory the report gave:
A - OK for continued use.
B - to monitor/refresh and
C - Change immediately
On the few occasions we received C theChief rarely dumped the charge but dropped half and refreshed. Ten thousand plus litres is a lot to dump.
Views please. Dump or freshen the charge. What say you?

TBN

Bill

Satanic Mechanic
13th May 2009, 13:03
Depends on what type of oil and what sort of contamination.

Hydraulic oil low viscosity - dump some and recharge with high viscocity oil to achieve correct viscosity

Hydraulic Oil Particulate count - filter/purify

Engine oil - low TBN, high contaminants, high viscosity - total recharge otherwise you get diluted TBN or contaminant carry over. Total false economy to even think about partial recharge you'll just end up doing a partial recharge in half the time.

Water contamination - continual purification or batch purification

I can only see the point of sampling Main and Auxy engine oils , stern tube and Hydraulic oils and in fact I am great believer in the practice.

Reciprocating air compressors are great on synthetic oils - very low varnishing of valves

Purifiers - not convinced synthetic oils are economic

makko
13th May 2009, 13:08
Bill,
I would go for dump - Maybe its just the BF way! If in doubt, change it out! Given the importance of the lub oil, I feel that only changing half is a false economy. From the engineering point of view, you always have to establish a datum. Thus half change is only half good. The original specs or thereabouts should be achieved, whether it be piston rings, fuel injectors or L.O. Its too risky to take a chance.

I look forward to other's views.

Rgds.
Dave

lesbryan
13th May 2009, 13:15
In my job not at sea-all machinery was checked once a month.If oil was bad or had debris in it it was changed immediately .we had up wards of 48 gigantic gearboxes and motors to see to.At least two of them costing up wards of 750.000 pounds each if not more so it was all done very religiously

Satanic Mechanic
13th May 2009, 13:21
In my job not at sea-all machinery was checked once a month.If oil was bad or had debris in it it was changed immediately .we had up wards of 48 gigantic gearboxes and motors to see to.At least two of them costing up wards of 750.000 pounds each if not more so it was all done very religiously


Should have said off course, in the case of hydraulic oil you always get particulate build up - it should be filtered by the system - if it is in the free oil - it indicates a filter problem.

If you have water contamination - where is it coming from

Two strokes crankcase oil does not really get contaminated so is not really a problem.

Gear boxes and auxy engines - any loss of quality below the threshold - immediate full change

makko
13th May 2009, 16:23
SM,
It is very important to check for biological contamination too - There is still much ignorance out there of the effects of BC on fuel and lub oil and the damage that can be occasioned to the eng/gearbox etc. The origin of ANY contamination should be found and rectified IMMEDIATELY - total failure of machinery is the inevitable result! As I have stated, you don't "wait and see" if the LO or FO will get better!
Rgds.
Dave

Satanic Mechanic
13th May 2009, 16:31
Its not usually one of the standard tests. The symptoms turn up in the normal tests and you can test from then on, you'll probably smell it anyway. It is pretty unlikely you will get BC with water levels below 500ppm - which is way off the normal threshold scale so good maintenance of the oil is essential

cubpilot
13th May 2009, 18:20
them old doxfords with water cooled bottom pistons often measured water content by the inch in the sump not ppm.
mind you if the firm had bought new linkages etc insted of recon old stock they would have saved a bob or two. became quite used to seeing the lads with the insitu journal grinding kit. incredible the speed at which BC will eat into a journal.

makko
13th May 2009, 19:00
Its not usually one of the standard tests. The symptoms turn up in the normal tests and you can test from then on, you'll probably smell it anyway. It is pretty unlikely you will get BC with water levels below 500ppm - which is way off the normal threshold scale so good maintenance of the oil is essential

Agreed, SM. With FO, not a standard test and smell is the most trusted detection mode! Lube oil anaerobic organisms don't need water though. They feed on the white metal linings. Testing is quite simple and uses a reactant.
It's a lot cheaper and safer to regularly test and change the LO than change out the bottom ends and crankshaft BRGs! (FO microbes live in the water interface - The first tell tale is heavy sep discharge and eventually severely blocked fine filters.)

I should have been more clear, I am a little off thread now!
B. Rgds.
Dave

Duncan112
13th May 2009, 20:04
them old doxfords with water cooled bottom pistons often measured water content by the inch in the sump not ppm.
mind you if the firm had bought new linkages etc insted of recon old stock they would have saved a bob or two. became quite used to seeing the lads with the insitu journal grinding kit. incredible the speed at which BC will eat into a journal.

MAN KZs suffered badly from water contamination from the soluble oil inhibitor used in the pistons water cooling- the soluble oil in the water enabled the water to mix almost irremovably with the sump oil. Test was carried out with the inaptly named "speedy" tester that used acetylene carbide as the reactant. if you got contamination below 1% it was a cause for celebration. More often the sump bore a passing resemblance to Bailys Irish Cream. Not a good engine - finished one voyage with one unit hung in the Port engine and fuel off 2 in the starboard (Only one set of blanking gear otherwise there would have been two units hung)

surfaceblow
13th May 2009, 20:24
I have used Lube Oil Analysis for a long time. The last few ships we would do a weekly onboard testing and would send out a monthly batch of lube oil samples for testing. The lube oil samples would be taken on a monthly, quarterly, semi annual or yearly schedule depending on machinery usage and importance to ship operation.

The lube Oil tests for three turbochargers were bad so a a FERROGRAPHIC REPORT was done. Stbd Number 3 Turbocharger.
Types of Particles
Few Medium Heavy
Adhesive Wear:
Normal Rubbing Wear ||||||||| (Few)
Fatigue Chunks (Typical gear Surface Fatigue) |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| (Medium)
Spheres (Fatigue Cracks in Roller Bearing) ||||||(Few)
Laminar Particles (Gears or Roller Bearing)
Severe Wear Particles | (Few)
Abrasive Wear:
Cutting Wear
Corrosive Wear Particles: ||(Few)
Oxide Particles (including rust) ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||(Medium)
Dark Metallo-oxide Particles (Hard steel)
Miscellaneous Particles:
Non-ferrous Metallic Particles ||||||||| (Few)
Non-metallic Crystalline Particles ||||||||||| (Few)
Non-metallic amorphous (e.g., friction polymer)

Considered Judgment of Wear Situation: CAUTION

Comments: The PQ index is + 60. This sample contained light deposits of normal rubbing wear particles measuring between 5-20 microns in length and very light deposits of corrosive wear particles. Some fatigue particles were present and they measured between 24-86 microns in length. A couple of spheres were present and the largest in diameter measured 7 microns. There was a medium deposit of black oxides and the largest measured 82 microns in length. Few red oxides were seen and the largest measured 80 microns. A severe wear particle was viewed and it measured 102 microns. Few copper alloy particles were present and the largest measured 118 microns. Also, small amounts of non-metallic crystalline particles were seen in the sample. The presence of spheres, fatigue chunks, and non-ferrous metallic particles indicates probable wear of LO pump. Recommend inspect pump for excessive wear clearances beyond recommended tolerances.

In a cost saving measure we were told not to submit lube oil for analysis if the sump contained less than 250 gallons of oil. Included on the list of oil not to be considered for analysis was the Emergency Diesel. The EG on the ship I was on had about 800 gallons in it. At the time the lube oil analysis was 35 - 75 dollars per report. The turbocharger would not have been tested under the new rules. The lube oil pump in the turbo had another 150 hours before replacement was due. What is the cost for Turbocharger repairs after a failure?

Satanic Mechanic
14th May 2009, 10:16
Agreed, SM. With FO, not a standard test and smell is the most trusted detection mode! Lube oil anaerobic organisms don't need water though. They feed on the white metal linings. Testing is quite simple and uses a reactant.
It's a lot cheaper and safer to regularly test and change the LO than change out the bottom ends and crankshaft BRGs! (FO microbes live in the water interface - The first tell tale is heavy sep discharge and eventually severely blocked fine filters.)

I should have been more clear, I am a little off thread now!
B. Rgds.
Dave

Never had a shipboard test or had a lab test as standard, can you tell me what company makes the test - I am curious.

Anaerobic organisms most definitely do need water - they don't need air. It is for this reason that I am of the opinion that if your water levels are good then you do not need to worry about microbial contamination. I also have never heard of microbes eating white metal, I am of the opinion that the damage is caused by the enviroment that promotes microbial growth and of course the acidic products of anaerobic as well as aerobic respiration.

I'm not saying your wrong, if you have any further information on this I'd love to have it.

G0SLP
14th May 2009, 11:21
Yes, a Red Alert should initiate a full change of oil - just get the Super to confirm it to cover your a*** these days.

Regarding microbe contamination, I remember one particular trip when I was a very young Chief in 1991. The Main Engine was a Sulzer 5RLA56 (although we later found that the heads were from an RLB, but that's another story - always said that the engine was a b*****d, then we got the proof (LOL) ). We were getting blockages in the fine filter fitted to the oil line to the Crossheads, but there was nothing obvious on the mesh when the filter was opened up. I spent weeks trying to persuade the Super that we had 'beasties' in the oil, & eventually he sent us a test kit, simply to 'shut me up'. To his surprise (and chagrin), but not mine, we were infested...

Much heating of the oil charge in the reno tank to pasteurise it, plus biocide circulated through the engine, followed by a full manual clean got rid of it all. All time consuming and not pleasant, but cheaper than losing all our bearings...

Oh, the Piston Cooling Water system got biocided too - that was the initial source of the contamination.

surfaceblow
14th May 2009, 13:39
The last few ships that I was on used Kittiwake Oil Test Kits.
http://www.kittiwake.com/Default.aspx?ProductSection=75&ProductSubSection=86&ProductSubSubSection=181

Satanic Mechanic
14th May 2009, 14:38
The last few ships that I was on used Kittiwake Oil Test Kits.
http://www.kittiwake.com/Default.aspx?ProductSection=75&ProductSubSection=86&ProductSubSubSection=181

Oh I know them fine - not bad as a ready reckoner. no match for a lab test of course. I meant for Microbial tests - I have not encountered them, always interested in new stuff.

Satanic Mechanic
14th May 2009, 14:41
Yes, a Red Alert should initiate a full change of oil - just get the Super to confirm it to cover your a*** these days.

Regarding microbe contamination, I remember one particular trip when I was a very young Chief in 1991. The Main Engine was a Sulzer 5RLA56 (although we later found that the heads were from an RLB, but that's another story - always said that the engine was a b*****d, then we got the proof (LOL) ). We were getting blockages in the fine filter fitted to the oil line to the Crossheads, but there was nothing obvious on the mesh when the filter was opened up. I spent weeks trying to persuade the Super that we had 'beasties' in the oil, & eventually he sent us a test kit, simply to 'shut me up'. To his surprise (and chagrin), but not mine, we were infested...

Much heating of the oil charge in the reno tank to pasteurise it, plus biocide circulated through the engine, followed by a full manual clean got rid of it all. All time consuming and not pleasant, but cheaper than losing all our bearings...

Oh, the Piston Cooling Water system got biocided too - that was the initial source of the contamination.

Water see ;). What is this test kit everyone keeps going on about - never seen it, would love some info. I have sent oil away to be tested - I just assumed they done an Agar test.

G0SLP
14th May 2009, 14:45
Water see ;). What is this test kit everyone keeps going on about - never seen it, would love some info. I have sent oil away to be tested - I just assumed they done an Agar test.

Here you go - Easicult

http://www.metalchem.com/easicultmicrobial.html

I knew I'd remember them..

Satanic Mechanic
14th May 2009, 15:19
Here you go - Easicult

http://www.metalchem.com/easicultmicrobial.html

I knew I'd remember them..

Cheers for that - never seen them before - could be useful for spot checking and due diligence

bgf
14th May 2009, 16:11
Hi, Sounds like we were around at the same time. Seen the Bailys leaking out of every crankcase door. Didn't help when the cooling elbows fell off. Having said that the KZ were easy to maintain, just that you had to do a lot of it.

G0SLP
14th May 2009, 18:21
Cheers for that - never seen them before - could be useful for spot checking and due diligence

No problem - glad I found them - it would have annoyed me until I did (Jester)

The only downside to these tests is that it takes a few days to cultivate the little critters.

Good point about due diligence though. (Thumb)

G0SLP
14th May 2009, 18:23
Hi, Sounds like we were around at the same time. Seen the Bailys leaking out of every crankcase door. Didn't help when the cooling elbows fell off. Having said that the KZ were easy to maintain, just that you had to do a lot of it.

You've brought back some memories now - I did one trip on a reefer with a 10 cylinder KZ <shudders>

Ian J. Huckin
14th May 2009, 18:26
Never had a shipboard test or had a lab test as standard, can you tell me what company makes the test - I am curious.

Anaerobic organisms most definitely do need water - they don't need air. It is for this reason that I am of the opinion that if your water levels are good then you do not need to worry about microbial contamination. I also have never heard of microbes eating white metal, I am of the opinion that the damage is caused by the enviroment that promotes microbial growth and of course the acidic products of anaerobic as well as aerobic respiration.

I'm not saying your wrong, if you have any further information on this I'd love to have it.

Once again mate, I'm with you.

Sweaty engineers in the crankcase could be enough to generate the start of bacterial infestation. I've never heard of bacteria "eating" white metal, what can happen is that the bacteria bi-products include water and/or dependant on the type of engine (trunk or X head) the water will mix with by-products of combustion to produce sulphuric acid. That's what can knacker bearing surfaces.

Another problem is that if the engine has any of the older type laquer coating on the internal surfaces then this will degrade, peel off and clog filters.

Rotton eggs, beware of rotton eggs.......

Ian J. Huckin
14th May 2009, 18:29
Water see ;). What is this test kit everyone keeps going on about - never seen it, would love some info. I have sent oil away to be tested - I just assumed they done an Agar test.

The bacterial test I used was literally to open a sealed container with a sterile culture in it. Plop a drop of lub in there and button it up. Keep it around for few days and you will see a growth appear on the culture surface if you have "beasties"

Count the spots per unit area and that indicates the degree of infestation.

Ian J. Huckin
14th May 2009, 18:56
I'm taking up space here but you guys might be interested in researching the following:

STLE: Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers. I've been a member for 12 years. Check out their Certified Lubrication Specialist exam, it is without doubt the hardest exam I ever took.

Noria: This outfit specializes in training and supplying test equipment. They can get you trained up to OMA 1 and OMA 2 (Oil Monitoring and Analysis) Their premise is that sending of samples and sitting on your thumb until results come back is so retarded in the sense that you are responding to a situation after it has developed. Their training and equipment puts you into the Pro-Active mode where you work ahead of the situation to prevent LO degredation by adopting a new philosophy with new procedures.

It comes down to the fact that Shipping Companies, Power Generation Companies, Manufacturing Companies etc should employ a Certified Lubrication Specialist who should also be cross trained in vibration analysis.

Having been involved with this over a pretty good time the interesting thing is that I can get a Company to adopt vibration analysis in about two years. To get a company to adopt a new philosophy with Lub Oil Management takes a minimum of five years.

The trouble is that the attitude of "we always use Mobil (cough, spit, gag!!!)" or "my grandad always used Quaker State" or "product 'X' never let us down" generates a sense of "ownership" so to break out of it makes people nervous. People do not have that same sense with an accelerometer.

The fact is just because an oil functions adequately does not mean it is best for the equipment. Proper machine surveys and knowledge of what is required to protect that machinery combined with an advanced level of understanding of lubricants will provide an environment of operation that will protect the machinery to the maximum while having a "reserve" capacity to support operation when conditions go outside of the normal i.e. engine overload, overheating, extended MCR operation etc.

Finally (thanks for being patient) Lub Analysis and Vib Analysis in tandem is as good as it gets. On many occasions I have checked through spectrographic results and found a rise in a certain wear metal, checking the books will quite often indicate where that metal resides in the engine. Concentrating on vib results at the same time will always indicate a similar "event" is starting to happen. This is when it all becomes Pro-Active and the equipment can be pulled off line under control with the full confidence you are doing it before the machine grenades and, usually, you can shut the machine down in a scheduled fashion rather than breakdown mode thus preserving the process (propulsion, generation, manufacturing etc) in a better fashion.

Tribology: the study of wear mechanisms. From the Greek "Tribos" meaning to rub....

Satanic Mechanic
14th May 2009, 19:05
The bacterial test I used was literally to open a sealed container with a sterile culture in it. Plop a drop of lub in there and button it up. Keep it around for few days and you will see a growth appear on the culture surface if you have "beasties"

Count the spots per unit area and that indicates the degree of infestation.


Sounds like a sort of Agar test, it was the reagent test that makko was talking about that I have never heard of.

Satanic Mechanic
14th May 2009, 19:14
Ian

Funny you should mention that, I have had a more than passing interest in tribology for a while now, ever since I was doing a lot of hydraulic commissioning with its associated flushing and particulate measurement.

I am a great supporter of vibration analysis, although admittedly it took a couple of 'road to Damascas' like experiences to shake my traditional scepticism. I long ago realised that in lube oil we had a substance which contained information about areas of a machine hidden from us.

I have been looking to do a few courses on things - I will be looking at that one closely. Cheers(Thumb)

Duncan112
14th May 2009, 19:48
Hi, Sounds like we were around at the same time. Seen the Bailys leaking out of every crankcase door. Didn't help when the cooling elbows fell off. Having said that the KZ were easy to maintain, just that you had to do a lot of it.

Cooling elbow fell off on the Port engine of "Mairangi Bay" whilst I was there - cause was eventually traced to the brass inserts in the crosshead face that the cooling elbow bolted to being slightly proud so the elbow did not fit flush to the crosshead, allowing the securing bolts to fret and eventually fail.

On a similar vein one vessel I was on had severe wear on the crane slewing bearing, this wear was monitored by measuring the gap between the slewing ring and cab housing, I got worried about this when the clearance reduced drastically and told the company - their response was to ask me to send a grease sample ashore for checking for steel contamination - I siuggested that as I could pick up the sample in its bottle with a magnet the expense of the test might be avoided.

Duncan

surfaceblow
14th May 2009, 22:57
Oh I know them fine - not bad as a ready reckoner. no match for a lab test of course. I meant for Microbial tests - I have not encountered them, always interested in new stuff.

We did weekly test on the Main Engines and Generators onboard the rest was sent out to the lab. The main concern was oil dilution, water and TBN for the weekly onboard tests.

On the microbial test we would separate the water from the lube oil sample and use the Drew (Water Test) microbial assay slides to grow cultures. It did not matter if some oil was on the slide has long as you could see the bugs grow. There were always out of date slides onboard that were not used for testing the water so we used the slides for oil when needed.

Joe