We all know that the lubricating oils which go into industrial machinery are very important. After all, they reduce friction and overall wear on the entire system.
Unfortunately, the very qualities which make oil the first choice for lubrication also render it capable of picking up particulate matter during normal running processes. The wear-and-tear caused by the particles is why oil changes are a must.
But how does this process work? We’ll break down the various ways that your oil ends up with increasing levels of gunk, slough, and particles and what kind of solutions are currently available.
Avoiding wear and tear
Oil is frequently used to keep metal parts from grinding each other into bits while processing. Others are used to keep heat and friction down during cutting, to allow for smooth polishes, and can generally be found coating the interior of an incredible array of tools.
Oil is an essential part of preventing wear and tear in the first place, but it’s not a perfect solution. Lubrication oil naturally takes on particulate matter from the normal processes of machinery, depending on the process.
When it comes down to it, keeping your oil as clean as possible is the best solution for prolonging the life of your machinery.
The particle matters
The life of your oil is determined by more than the amount of particulate matter which makes its way into the reservoir. It’s also dependent on the particle types that make up the whole mass of sludge and other contaminants that appear in oil over time.
Each application is a little bit different, mainly because the various qualities of the particles contained within varies depending on both the operation of the machine in question and environmental conditions.
All of the following matter when it comes to determining oil lifespan:
- Particle hardness-Harder particles create more wear over time and this is one of the most important factors in oil lifespan in your machinery. Keep in mind that some fine dusts can turn out to be quite hard. Most dirt, for instance, is comparable to glass on the Moh’s scale due to being largely made of silica compounds.
- Particle shape-The shape of the particle determines how much material they can slough off on collision with the working parts of the machine. Spherical waste, for instance, is much less likely to abrade or scratch internal components than chips which are quite common in various machining processes.
- Particle size-Larger particles have less surface area compared to the same mass of particles at a smaller size. Since this is all happening on the microscopic scale it can result in exponential damage as the particles shrink. A single large particle is much less damaging than 100 smaller ones given equal amounts of contaminants.
- Particle density-The last of the big physical properties that determine wear is how dense they are. Denser particles settle more quickly but in high velocity systems they can also cause a lot of damage as they’re consistently moved along.
In addition to the physical properties making up the particles themselves, in some cases there are also problems with the chemical make-up of the contaminants.
Metallic particles can induce oxidation of certain components of the oil, for instance, and those which are ferromagnetic can find themselves stuck to components like solenoids which use electromagnets.
The important thing to note is this: the particulate matter contained in used oils is damaging physically to machinery and can also be damaging through electrical and chemical properties depending on the machine in question.
Each particle in the mass of contaminants can be individually damaging, and when you add in the oxidation potential and other chemical reactions that can occur within the oil it’s easy to see why there’s a limited lifespan to lubricating oils.
So, what’s the solution?
Finding solutions for particulate wear
At first glance, we see that the degradation of the oils used for machines of any stripe is pretty much inevitable. A perfect machine isn’t possible, so until someone decides to step up and break the laws of physics for our industrial processes… we have to find solutions which work in the real world.
In the past, people would simply replace the oil as time went on. In the early days of plentiful and cheap oil it was cost-efficient and little thought was giving to the devastating ecological impact of oil extraction.
However, as time has gone on the cost of extraction in oil fields around the world is rising and people have become awakened to the devastating impact of oil extraction. Awareness about some of the methods, such as fracking and the borderline insane measures used to draw oil from tar sands has made proceeding with new extraction sites much more difficult than in the past.
One of the first lines of defense is making sure your oil change intervals occur at the right time. This usually means pulling a sample from available lubricating oil when your next change is done and sending it to a lab for testing. Testing can help confirm whether or not the change was necessary or overdue and allow you to get a better grip.
It still doesn’t solve the problem of expense, however. Oil is expensive financially and the constant need for new oil causes a lot of environmental damage.
With RecondOil’s Double Separation Technology (DST), lubrication oils can be used time and time again. DST can be run in-line with your system, cleaning the oil as time goes on, or you can send your oil away for replacement at one of our processing plants.
Oil is a complex mixture and virtually all oils require some sort of additives. These complex chemicals are tailored for each individual use of the oil, so they need to be added back in for the best end results.
We not only offer the ability to recycle your oil but also tailor make additive packages to make the oil even easier on your assets. It’s a big win.
Additionally, since our system uses oil which has already been extracted before being recycled, the overall carbon dioxide and environmental footprint of the oil extracted is lowered by a substantial amount.
A win for the environment, and a win for your pocket in the end.
Is it time to try something new?
Particulate wear in machinery is a major issue, especially since the bulk of it comes from the very fluid that’s supposed to prevent wear in the first place.
Oil particulates are a major concern whenever lubrication and machinery meet. While preventative maintenance and regular testing are both good ideas they don’t save you a whole lot in the end and do nothing to solve the larger problems inherent to oil extraction.
If you think that being able to remove 99.9% of particulate matter in your lubrication oil, lowering overall emissions, and being able to get lubrication oil cheaper sounds like a good idea then you’re in the right place.
Why not contact us and see what DSTechnology can do for you?