Oil analysis as business intelligence

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ConocoPhillips Co., makers of Conoco, Phillips 66 and 76 Lubricants, is offering its MaintenanceGuy oil analysis program to fleets. MaintenanceGuy, co-created with software developer Dingo, is designed to help users make more informed maintenance decisions.
No matter whose oil-analysis program you use, it can be a valuable information tool, as it provides wear-trend data, assists in determining practical oil drain intervals, and identifies oil properties, such as viscosity, and contaminants, such as soot, diesel fuel, coolant, wear metals and airborne dirt.

Wear metals, for example, might include tin from bearings, or ferrous metal from gears, rings, etc. Not only might these be indicative of premature component wear, but the particles themselves, in excessive quantities, can exacerbate problems by acting as abrasives.
Coolant in oil, on the other hand, creates varnish on sliding surfaces, such as bearings, pistons and cylinders. The varnish increases friction and heat, and it often doesn’t take long for a seized engine to result.

Learning about these contaminants while they are present in relatively small quantities can prevent small problems from becoming big ones, and can aid in establishing maintenance priorities.

MaintenanceGuy’s web-based condition monitoring software allows users to capture customized variables like hours of operation, miles of service and other equipment data that can enhance the value of standard oil analysis data. It also creates a secure, central database that houses equipment condition histories and generates graphs to help visually identify at-risk equipment. In addition, there is an e-mail system to alert users when oil analysis data varies from accepted norms.

The program can combine equipment from different sites into one database, so authorized users can compare and benchmark equipment and share diagnostic information throughout the company or the world.

Reportedly, the program allows for a significant reduction in data handling, elimination of paperwork and easier interpretation of data.

For a fixed sample fee, says ConocoPhillips, users receive sample kits, testing at a certified lab of their choice, and the web-based analytical software. The program also offers industrial and natural-gas-engine sample kits.