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Oil Cleanliness

At Particle Test we often get asked, “what is oil cleanliness and how should I measure oil cleanliness?” Oil cleanliness as the name suggests is how clean your oil is, but more to the point oil cleanliness is telling you how effectively your lubricant is working. Oil cleanliness is normal measured through the use of the ISO4406 or ISO code, NAS or the SAE 749D.
If the ISO4406, NAS or SAE 749D reports poor oil cleanliness this is telling the operator that the lubricating properties of your oil are not at an optimum state. As the oil gets contaminated with particles, these particles will start to abrade the surface of all moving parts in the compartment. This is due to the clearance between moving parts such as gears. The ISO code looks at 4mm, 6mm and 14mm as these are the size of importance when we start to look at the clearance of moving parts.
In the day of proactive maintenance we can no longer just rely on scheduled servicing to be sure that our equipment is working at optimum. Regularly monitoring our oil cleanliness is essential. This can be done through a laboratory system however this can still mean a couple of days to find out if we have a problem, which now has no doubt got worse. The best solution where possible is online or onsite monitoring of your oil cleanliness.
Particle Test have a range of PAMAS laboratory, onsite and online oil cleanliness particle counters.



Article first posted : 11th of July, 2007

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