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Metals Processing


Metal processing industries employ large, critical assets, the reliability of which is essential to their business model. An undetected failure of a piece of processing equipment such as a rolling mill gearbox, or a 1000-ton extruder press not only involves the cost of equipment repair and line downtime, but the product quality may be severely impacted. Today more than ever, there is also less redundancy. Oil analysis is a critical aspect of a reliability-based maintenance program, and for many large slow speed systems, it is the first line of protection. Crea’s oil analysis solutions are designed to monitor critical oil lubricated machinery and provide the asset owners with timely information for reliability decision support.


One of the biggest challenges to metal processors is the harsh environment in which they operate. Metal processing plants have tremendous amounts of dust and debris in the air which gets into lubricating oil. Instituting best practices for handling and storage of lubricants can greatly improve reliability.

Another challenge is smaller workforces. Oftentimes as people retire, they are not being replaced, so the workforce is smaller. This means more operators must understand and be able to perform lubrication analysis. Having oil analysis equipment that is portable, intuitive, and easy to use is imperative. It is also important that such equipment provides clear actions because of analysis, such as alerting personnel when alarm limits are exceeded, or trending analysis indicates an impending problem.

Typical Tests

Contamination of oil is a big problem. Contamination can come in the form of debris and wear particles, but water can also be a critical contaminant. The cost of downtime is extremely high in metal processing plants. Therefore, a quick turnaround of test results is essential to keeping a plant up and running.


Particle Count

A high particle count or a rapid increase in particles can foreshadow an imminent failure.

Particle Composition

It is often important to understand the elemental composition of particles in order to find out where they came from. Optical Emission Spectroscopy gives the user elemental information for up to 32 elements, from Li to Ce (varies with application).

Particle Type

The size, shape and opacity of particles is used to determine if they are from cutting wear, sliding wear, fatigue wear, nonmetallic or fibers. This allows operators to determine the type of wear debris, wear mode and potential source from internal machinery components.

Ferrous Wear

Ferrous wear measurement is a critical requirement for monitoring machine condition. The high sensitivity magnetometer measures and reports ferrous content in ppm/ml and provides ferrous particle count and size distribution for large ferrous particles.



The main function of lubrication oil is to create and maintain a lubrication film between two moving metal surfaces. Ensuring the viscosity is within recommended ranges is one of the most important tests one can run on lube oil.

Total Acid Number (TAN)

TAN is measured to determine the corrosive potential of lubrication oils. If the TAN gets too high the oil can induce corrosion of machine parts and should be changed.



Water contamination in industrial oils can cause severe issues with machinery components. The presence of water can alter the viscosity of a lubricant as well as cause chemical changes resulting in additive depletion and the formation of acids, sludge, and varnish.








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