Fleet managers thinking about purchasing some type of lubricant analysis tools often have no idea about the difference between onsite and offsite analysis. Many believe they’re one and the same, and that they can be used interchangeably. This may be the case for those with highly sophisticated onsite labs, but for most setups, there’s just no substitute for quality offsite lubricant testing.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of your onsite lubricant analysis tools. When you know which lubricant qualities to test and what issues to look for, your current onsite tools can provide you with valuable immediate feedback.
Viscosity is a lubricant’s most important quality. For this reason, it makes sense to prioritize viscosity when it comes to testing incoming, new, and in-service lubricants. One of the most popular onsite viscosity testing tools is the viscosity comparator, which compare a known reference viscosity to the oil sample being tested.
Water is one of the most destructive contaminants in lubricants, and efforts to exclude and remove it have been elusive. Thus, it’s in your best interest to monitor your lubricant’s water content on a regular basis, especially when it comes to your most sensitive and critical equipment. A low-tech albeit extremely effective method of detecting water in oil is the hot plate crackle test.