Host industrial equipment lubricant users in Canada employ the traditional oil analysis technique of measuring wear metal levels only to monitor contamination in lubricated systems such as hydraulics gear sets and bearing housings.

Unfortunately, this technique does not address the problem of measuring large particle contamination, due to the spectrophotometer's insensitivity to particles in the size range of 6 or 7 microns and larger.

In addition, these lubricant users generally employ only moderately effective surface type full flow filters and very often do not follow the equipment manufacturer's suggested oil drain intervals in order to control contamination levels within these lubricated systems. As a result, damage causing large particle contamination levels neither monitored nor controlled.

A cost effective method of accurately measuring large particle contamination levels, in addition to wear metals analyses is now available.

An innovative maintenance program utilizing these techniques, combined with the use of additional "side stream" filtration in the range of one micron absolute can control the levels of contamination in all lubricated systems, providing optimum lubricant and equipment life.

This paper describes how a regular scheduled oil analysis program combining sediment testing and wear metals analysis will accurately monitor overall contamination levels.

The paper further points out how these contamination levels can then be effectively controlled using an additional filter(s) of the absorbent, non channeling, depth type rated at one (1) micron absolute.

These filters, connected in a side stream circuit (parallel to the full flow filter) will effectively remove damage causing particulate, including water, thus dramatically extending both equipment and lubricant life.


Compressor, hydraulic and gear box system failures represent critical points in plant and mobile equipment maintenance. These failures dramatically increase downtime, cause unnecessarily high operating costs and reduce overall equipment 1ife. Consider these facts:

  • Contamination of the fluid used in hydraulic systems contributes to 70 - 80% of the hydraulic system failures that occur in Canada. (1)

  • Unresolved friction and wear problems cost Canadian Industry over $5 Billion dollars in losses each year. (2)

Contamination of 1ubricated systems occurs in four (4) ways:

  1. Contamination is Generated by the system itself. Component wear through normal use, poor system or component design, surface fatigue, rotation of improperly balanced components and temperature related chemical reactions are some of the ways in which a system will generate contamination.

  2. Contamination can be implanted. Welding slag, poor packaging, improper transportation methods and careless handling of components by manufacturers, suppliers and technic1ans prior to or during installation. will implant contamination into the system.

  3. Contamination is Induced. Careless maintenance practices, mistakes made by untrained or uncaring maintenance staff, unclean repair and assembly procedures, makeshift or temporary fixes, failure to correct leaks effectively and the failure to follow manufacturers recommended specifications and procedures are some of the causes ofinduced lubricated system contamination.

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