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Mining

Overview

Oil analysis is applicable to all oil-wetted systems that includes; Tractors; Crushers; Scrapers; Motor Graders; Dozers; Wheeled Loaders and Excavators.

When it comes to maintenance practices, machine condition monitoring based on oil analysis is a standard procedure for most surface and underground mines in the world today. An effective oil analysis program will keep a mine’s important assets in operation by reducing unexpected failures and costly scheduled downtime.

Maintenance Practices

Crea Laboratory Technologies has been working with large and small mining operations throughout the world to provide analytical instruments to enhance existing oil analysis programs. In some situations, we have even provided complete turnkey systems to implement a program from the beginning.

Challenges

Mines rely on Crea Laboratories’ range of products to keep their critical assets up and running. Mines are often in remote locations making shipping of oil samples to labs difficult, costly, or simply impossible. Other reasons for doing fluid analysis on site include:

Fleet “Greening”: Changing fluids when the fluids signal, they need to be changed is the safest way to implement a program to extend oil drain interval. (In our analysis of more than one million samples, over 65% of oil changes were unnecessary). This is good for you and good for the environment.

On-premises analysis allows you to identify hidden or emerging problems long before they become catastrophic.
Reduces operating costs by extending oil drain interval and making minor repairs before they become major. Also, fewer breakdowns or unscheduled repairs increase productivity.
Including oil analysis in a comprehensive preventative maintenance program provides real time equipment condition monitoring and component wear trending.

Mines or construction sites in remote locations often wait weeks for their fluid analysis reports and pay over five times the cost per sample versus an internal analysis solution. Equipment is often severely damaged by the time an off-site lab provides a diagnostic report.

Typical Tests – Wear

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.

Chemistry

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.

Viscosity

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

Oxidation, Nitration, Sulfation

Lubricating oil at elevated temperatures can react with oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere, as well as sulfur in fuel, to form undesirable by-products that can affect the oil’s viscosity and lead to corrosion or damage of equipment.

Contamination

Fuel Dilution

Fuel dilution in oil is a condition caused by excess, unburned fuel mixing with engine oil in an engine crankcase. Hydrocarbon-based fuel, usually with a lower vapor pressure than the lubricant, has a thinning effect, lowering the oil viscosity. Oil film strength is reduced, increasing the cylinder liner and bearing wear.

Glycol

Glycol is found in engine coolant. If glycol is found in engine oil it typically indicates there is a leak in the engine that can cause catastrophic damage to the cylinder or cylinder wall.

Soot

Soot is a product of combustion and has always been found in engine oils. Soot can use up an oil’s additives and deposit on vital engine surfaces.

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