Field Oil Analysis with Lisa Williams (Ametek Spectro Scientific)

Episode 52 May 07, 2024 00:50:09
Field Oil Analysis with Lisa Williams (Ametek Spectro Scientific)
Lubrication Experts
Field Oil Analysis with Lisa Williams (Ametek Spectro Scientific)

May 07 2024 | 00:50:09


Hosted By

Rafe Britton

Show Notes

Understanding Field Oil Analysis with Lisa Williams from Ametek In this informative episode, Lisa Williams from Ametek, an expert in the oil analysis field, shares her knowledge about oil analysis testing. She provides insights on when to set up an oil analysis lab, how to interpret results, and the decision making between field tests and third-party lab analysis. Lisa also underscores the importance of proper training and interpretation in enhancing reliability. Additionally, she briefly discusses the future of the oil analysis industry, primarily emphasizing on the growing need for automation and documentation of industry practices. 00:43 Introduction and Guest Presentation 01:40 Understanding Oil Analysis and Field Testing 02:15 The Importance of Field Testing in Industrial Organizations 02:34 Guest's Background and Experience in Oil Analysis 03:29 Discussion on Oil Analysis in Different Industries 04:04 The Role of Oil Analysis in Organizational Decision Making 05:30 Cost Considerations in Oil Analysis 06:35 The Importance of Sample Volume in Oil Analysis 08:05 The Role of Oil Analysis in Machine Reliability 08:44 The Challenges of Justifying Costs in Maintenance Industry 09:30 The Benefits of On-Site Oil Analysis 11:23 Discussion on the Importance of Regular Oil Analysis 15:51 The Importance of Documenting Oil Analysis Processes 44:20 The Future of Oil Analysis 49:27 Conclusion and Final Thoughts

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: Today's episode is sponsored by DL Chemical. They sell a range of polybutenes, as well as ethylene propylene copolymers, which are called d polybutene and D synol. Now, I'm actually more familiar with the d synol range, where I've used DS 600 and DS 1100 in a range of industrial gear oils. I've actually been really impressed by how well they incorporate into Pao fluids, especially considering how thick they are. But they've also got really high viscosity index, which can contribute a lot to your formulation. And overall, I've been really impressed with their oxidation stability in service as well. Considering how large the molecule is, they seem to be really shear stable. So if you're looking for an alternate to a very heavy pao, give them a try. Good day, everyone. Welcome to lubrication Experts. And today I have a very special guest. It's Lisa Williams from Ametek Spectroscientific. I'm giving the full name because I believe Ametek kind of took over the Spectro business a little while ago. But if you've been in the oil analysis game and maybe have some instruments, you're probably more likely familiar with the spectroscientific brand. Obviously, they sell a whole range of different equipment. Lisa has an incredible amount of experience in oil analysis, kind of across the board, which is one of the reasons that I really wanted to have her on the podcast. So Lisa has a background, like in laboratory testing, has previously worked at MRG Labs with our friend Rich Wurtzbach, who was actually the first guest on this podcast, was episode number one, and also has a background in kind of field testing and field analysis, which I think is a really interesting area for us to explore. We were talking a little bit before this, and basically, I feel like field testing in the sense of crackle test, patch test, that kind of stuff is very well understood and well defined. And then you've got the kind of third party lab testing where you send your grease or oil samples off for analysis. I feel like everyone is very familiar with that kind of thing. And then there's a sort of gray area in between where there is field testing, but with maybe more, let's say, sophisticated equipment. It's kind of like a very small version of what you would find in a third party lab. And I think that there's huge value in doing that, especially in larger industrial organizations. But how do you make decisions around when that's appropriate for you? What kind of equipment should you be buying? How do you set up your field testing program? All of that is something that I'm hoping that we can cover today. Lisa brings a wealth of experience. Not only has she got the background on the commercial side, but she's also the chair of the in service lubricant testing group with ASTM as well. So, you know, credentials galore here. So, Lisa, thanks for joining us on the podcast. [00:02:51] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for having me. [00:02:53] Speaker A: Yeah, this is gonna be. This is gonna be really good. And what's interesting is that despite the fact that we are more than 50 episodes in at this point, amazingly, we've only really done one, maybe two episodes on oil analysis. So, which is, which is wild, considering how important oil analysis is. So this will be a really important one for all our listeners. [00:03:18] Speaker B: So, yeah, I'm excited to share a little bit more about oil analysis and on site and in testing in a laboratory. [00:03:28] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah, I'm really excited. So maybe we start with the kind of, like, the obvious question, when should some kind of site, or, you know, I'm mostly focusing here on industrial, maybe some really, really large fleets. When do you think that they should be considering a field testing program versus the standard? I send my results off to the lab, so, you know. And what are some of the kind of benefits of bringing your testing program on site? [00:04:04] Speaker B: Yeah, I think. I think it's a really good place to start as far as just kind of understanding overall where you are at as a. As an organization that values oil analysis as kind of like a value add to your business or whether or not it's kind of just like, all right, well, it's a checklist item. We have to get this done. And, you know, I'm checking it off, kind of sort of looking at the data and. But not really. So I think you first kind of have to decide, like, how serious are we as an organization about oil analysis? And so when you have that backing of the organization to say, okay, we're going to go ahead and we're going to pursue this, and then you can kind of go a few different ways. So. And that's when it kind of diverges to, okay, do we want to go and work with a third party lab, or do we want to go and try to do this on our own and kind of set up a series of tests that allow us to evaluate our oils on site? So I think that making that decision of kind of where to diverge to really comes down to the sample volume and manpower. And then, obviously, I probably should have said, first and foremost, cost and what kind of costs you have, what kind of budgets you have available. So first, I guess, let me start with cost, because that's really first and foremost on our minds, really every day. But so cost is really just more of a discussion of just like, okay, this sample is going to cost me dollar eight to run on site, and this sample is going to cost me dollar 25 to ship to a third party lab. It's more than that because you have, typically when you're purchasing equipment, it's coming out of different buckets of money. When you're purchasing on site equipment, it's probably coming out of like a capital budget versus you're just spending $25 monthly or quarterly times whatever number of samples you're doing and sending those out to a lab. It's probably two different buckets of money that you're dealing with from a finance perspective. So I think that's the first question that you really need to discover and see if that bucket of money is available to you and where it is. But really the second thing to think about also is sample volume. And I don't mean like, how much can I fill the sample bottle, I mean, like, number of samples that you're running. So you don't really, I don't want to really, like, put a number on, on it as far as like, oh, okay, if I'm running seven samples a month, does it make better sense to ship it to a third party lab versus run that on site? Because that then kind of diverges to another point of, well, those seven samples, I may need to know immediately what those results are so that I can make decisions and not shut my plant down or that emergency diesel generator. It has to be running if something would happen. So I have to have those results immediately. You know, things like that should play into that overall decision as to whether or not you have the freedom of sending samples to a lab and waiting, or you need to have that result immediately. So volume of samples needs to be thought about as well. And I think if you can kind of take that, those two things as a whole and put them together, it makes sense. It may make sense overall to bring things on site, but then it may make sense to either keep with a third party lab or establish a relationship with a third party lab. [00:08:03] Speaker A: Yeah, that's really interesting. And obviously, the cost thing, it's a reasonably complex calculation because not only did you say that the money is coming out of different buckets, but obviously, anytime we're talking about oil analysis, we're also considering sort of like the opportunity cost. And what's the cost of downtime? You know, if you can, if you can pick up a failure a little bit earlier, you know, what, what does that do for you? Machine reliability. And typically, you know, a failure on site is going to vastly outweigh the cost of capital equipment that you have to put in for developing kind of an oil analysis program. I think for me at least, you know, I always think we're kind of. [00:08:45] Speaker B: In a interesting industry of we have to justify our costs that hopefully don't happen. Right. I mean, as a maintenance industry, we have to make sure that there are no catastrophic failures. I mean, that's the ultimate goal, obviously, but we have to ask for money to make sure that a catastrophic failure doesn't happen. God forbid. And that's such a challenging place to be in, especially in this day and age with management wanting to see proof before issuing money. It's just, it's a hard business case, but it definitely can be done. [00:09:28] Speaker A: Yeah. And then there's intangibles too. Right? So I find with a couple of my clients that the fact that they have an onsite oil analysis lab actually encourages more regular analysis. So that's one of the benefits that I see. And that's not really something that you can quantify and sort of like take to management as a, oh, we wouldn't do this otherwise, but if we had the equipment, we'll test more frequently. But what I have found is that, you know, often if you're paying, you know, whatever it is, 25, up to $40 for a sample, depending on what region of the world you're in, sometimes there's a reluctance to test, you know, where it's a gearbox or hydraulic system more frequently. But when you have the equipment on site, you think, oh, I can just, you know, take a sample and get it tested now, and maybe you do it on a bit more of a regular interval. And I at least find that the downstream benefits of that, you know, being able to do a lot more trending, for example, and having a lot more data density to work with when you're trying to make predictions, that's for me, one of the benefits, even if the results that you get out of them compared to a third party setup, might not be quite as extensive in some cases, obviously, depending on what equipment you end up purchasing. But, yeah, that's one of the downstream benefits. I think one thing that would be also helpful to understand is maybe like typical industries, which would be well suited to kind of field, field analysis. And like, within those industries, how do you use a combination of maybe like the ASTM standards and maybe some FMEA to figure out which of the, which are the components in my fleet or my plant? Should I be testing and kind of like on what interval should I be monitoring them? [00:11:29] Speaker B: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that might be one of the hardest things to, to overcome. And I think that we can tend to overthink it. And so when I, when I think about this process of really like test selection and what we're going to monitor and how frequently we're going to monitor it, the ultimate way to do it, if we had full freedom, would be to run kind of a sampling study to figure out, okay, well, let's use a car, for example. You know, everybody drives a vehicle and we nowadays saying up to eight to 10,000 miles between an oil change, I mean, even with our vehicles, we're still not really at that condition based strategy yet. But, you know, is it appropriate even I have, and I haven't even done this with my own vehicle and I've got on site equipment sitting, sitting next to me that I could use. But at 8000 miles, is it really necessary that I change the oil? Is my oil oxidized? How's the viscosity doing? How are my antioxidants doing? How are my wear levels? I haven't. Those are things that you would typically want to ask yourself before going ahead and changing the oil. And if we were able to conduct like a small sampling study where we picked a couple components, let's just use gearboxes, for example, and we were able to monitor them over the course of a few months and figure out, okay, quarterly does work for us. And that would be kind of the ultimate way to do it is to have data to drive that decision and say, okay, the where particle analysis that we did on it is telling us some really good things on a quarterly basis. And so we'll run wear analysis and we'll do this quarterly and make assessment that way. I think the, from an FMEA process, failure modes and effects analysis, I think that probably is the reality of where most of us are, is like something failed. Now we're going to test it, which is okay. I mean, it is okay. Obviously, we want to eliminate failures 100%. And that would be a perfect world, but we don't live in a perfect world. But anytime a failure happens, we don't just want to go in and replace a bearing, replace a gearbox and move on. I mean, we want to take the time and figure out why that happened. And I think another interesting point that I've learned is when I first started out in the industry, I thought, well, it's probably always oil related. It's not always oil related. So taking that time to do FMeA to learn that it's not oil related may actually help you realize that oil analysis may not help in this situation. So I think that's another valuable lesson. But in general, there are some guidelines for out there. So, like when you're not familiar with this and hey, somebody comes in and they're like, hey, you're going to be responsible for running the oil program. And let's be honest, I mean, that's happening now more than ever. And people are like, okay, what does that even mean? You know, like, I went to school for engineering and you're talking about this thing called tribology and oil analysis, and I didn't take a single class on that. So what now? And I mean, at least that's how it was for me. And you start to kind of poke around and see what books are out there to help you make these kind of decisions. And I did pull a couple things out from my library, but this is an ICML document. This is ICML 55.1. But ICML 55.2 just came out, and there's an entire section in there that talks about setting up a lab, whether that be, and helping you make a decision about whether or not going to a third party lab, going in like a hybrid function of how maybe we want to do a little bit of on site screening, testing and use a third party lab, or we want to bring it completely on site. So it talks about that. But not only does it talk about that, it talks about the very beginning. Like, your initial question of, like, we need to pick out what equipment we're going to monitor and how do we do that. And it talks about not making it too complicated. And then it describes what test Lake is recommended for gearboxes, hydraulic systems, turbines, and give some recommended tests, and then it gives some recommendations to think about on determining sampling frequency. I would say, in general, just a general rule of thumb, if everything that I just said completely overwhelmed you, to just go on a quarterly sampling frequency and start there, I think that's probably the easiest thing to do. And then start to look at the data. And if the data is kind of just trending like this and it's not really changing too much, you may be sampling or you may be testing too frequently. [00:16:53] Speaker A: So, yeah, yeah, that's interesting. And great tip to check out the, the ICML documentation. So I'm one of those heathens that no longer reads physical books and I only do ebooks. [00:17:07] Speaker B: Right. I mean, it's hard to read a book anymore. Yeah. [00:17:10] Speaker A: So I've got the PDF copy, which is, which is fantastic. Right. So I think, you know, ICML 55.2 is kind of like the missing piece of the puzzle. And we did cover this previously. We did an entire podcast on 55.2, so I'll link that in the description if anyone wants to check it out. Yeah, and. But I think the great thing about 55.2, I think that last podcast came out just as 55.2 was being released, and I've actually had the opportunity to read it now. And the great thing about it is that it's very actionable. So 55.1 kind of sets up a framework and helps your business kind of think about how oil analysis and how lubricants relate to asset management. But 55.2 is much more. Here is how you go about it with actual steps. And I should quickly give a plug to lisa because she did actually write the 55.2 section specifically on field analysis and how you make these decisions. And it's very well laid out. Right. So for anyone who is looking to develop a program, go there. [00:18:21] Speaker B: The 60 minutes that we have, the section seven of ICML 55.2, I think, came out to be about 42 pages. So of fun, but really being able to summarize all that in 60 minutes is going to be hard. But they're 42 pages of basically recommending going how to go through this process of failure modes and effects analysis, selecting the right equipment to test what would be appropriate to test, setting sampling frequency and choosing your test slate. So I think it's just a really good reference for people who got kind of put into this job of managing an on site lab or even managing third party data and understanding what to do. [00:19:08] Speaker A: Yeah. And especially because when you first get thrown into something like this and you're asked about, you know, whether it's third party testing or field testing, up until this point, really, the only kind of major reference was to go to the actual ASTM standards. Right. Which are obviously very good and very detailed, but at the field level, it's probably overkill. Not only that, but you also don't have access to them. Like you've got to purchase each one individually, unless your organization is kind of like a, you know, member of something that has access to all the ASTM papers. So that in itself is, can be quite a difficult task. But when it's all just kind of distilled down into this one document that makes it makes it so much easier. And so maybe something I would be interested in getting your opinion on is when it comes to field testing, this is just a framework that I've used to sort of make decisions. And this was before I had access to 55.2, was that in some instances, I've kind of guided a few of my customers to say, well, you know, obviously there's basically infinite combinations of equipment that you could buy for your site, and obviously that comes with cost. And some pieces of equipment are way more expensive than others. So I got a bit of sticker shock when I first saw prices come through for ICP, specifically, that one gave me a heart attack. Others, you know, viscometer or something like that, can be relatively inexpensive, right. For so, you know, obviously no one has unlimited budget. And so the way that I've kind of thought about it is, you know, maybe you want to use field analysis for kind of leading indicators and third party analysis for lagging indicators. So, you know, as an example, you know, with turbine or condition monitoring, you know, if you're looking at lubricant and lubricant breakdown, maybe something that you want to be able to test on site is acid number, you know, in the case of polyolesters, or you might want to be able to test, let's say, for example, NPC, if you're, you know, concerned about varnish buildup, which these days everyone seems to be, and lagging indicators, which would be things like wear metals and ICP, you can do that on a regular basis, kind of at the lab. Is that a reasonable framework to use, or would you look at it a different way? [00:21:44] Speaker B: No, I think that is a reasonable way to look at it. I think things on site testing can, like you say, can range from having a spectrometer, a metal spectrometer on site, to something as simple as a viscometer on site and screening samples that way. Varnish, of course, is something. The roller test is another one. And moisture, all of those could be monitored on site for specifically in turbine applications. And if something would be seen to kind of go awry, as far as that trending goes, we could then outsource that sample to a third party lab. I think as far as price range goes, of course, depending on how much you spend to kind of go to the Cadillac version of, hey, you know, I'm all in, I'm going to spend 200k on getting a spectrometer and a viscometer and getting chemistry kind of integrity monitoring device varnish, you could just go, go crazy and end up spending a lot of money. I think that there is a balance that you can achieve in developing like a screening program to say, okay, we're going to run these five tests on site. If any of them flag, we're going to then outsource that sample. And I think that's a way, especially if you're new to oil analysis, just in general. And it's something that you want to get more involved with as an organization. It's a way to have some control over your data, and it's a way to then also establish a relationship with a third party lab that can help you manage the, manage the data, too, because I think that's another part of this, is when you're doing testing on site, we have to know what we're looking at. So that's kind of a whole other part of this that I'm sure we'll get into later. But you have to know what you're looking at when you're running these on site tests. The only thing I would change as far as leading to lagging indicator theory that you propose. I like it. Except I would add in viscosity. Even though that's a lagging indicator test. I think you can tell a lot about just running viscosity on site. It can be a world of things. I think viscosity can be oxidation, it can be fuel dilution, can be moisture, it can be lubricant mixing. I think it can be a world of things. But I think changes in viscosity dictate a lot. So just a simple viscosity test on site may be able to really help us solve some things. [00:24:51] Speaker A: Yeah, and that's obviously like a lot for everyone to think about. But I should say from the outset as well, with the ICP stuff like, yes, the equipment can be expensive, but absolutely justified in a lot of instances. You know, some of the bigger mining customers, for example, that are doing hundreds and hundreds of samples on, on many assets for them, it makes absolute sense, right, to have an ICP unit on site because you can pretty easily justify the cost reasonably quickly, especially if you're able to pull the money from a, from a capital budget. So it is, you know, highly dependent on the kind of industry you're in, the size of the site that you're on, and all things like that. But definitely some, some really good tips in there from, from you, Lisa. One thing that I've actually heard you talk a little bit about as well is using a field test station to be able to test new oils. So stuff that, you know, we're not talking about used oil analysis testing now. Now we're talking about new oil analysis testing. I think that's probably something that I haven't really seen really anyone do, except in the case of maybe deliveries. Right. So you're, you know, you've, your oil supplier is, is delivering you 20,000 liters of hydraulic oil, and you have specified a cleanliness standard. And partially this is driven by the oems. Right. Because the likes of Caterpillar give you specifications on engine oil as well as hydraulic oil cleanliness. Now, the downfall that I see personally is that people test at delivery. So they test basically what's coming out of the tanker, and then they shovel that into a dirty storage tank and completely ruin their particle. You talk a little bit more broadly about testing new oils when they're in storage. What do you see as being the advantages of doing that and how does it impact kind of reliability down the line? [00:26:59] Speaker B: Yeah. So the first thing that comes to mind, and I'll just tell this quick story because it sticks in my mind so vividly, is when I was, I've been working in a lab environment or with lab equipment now 17 years. So probably my first year on the job, I was working in a lab at MRG, and we were doing some testing on some greases, and we were running a ruler test on a grease. And for those of you that are not familiar with the ruler test, you must have a brand new sample of oil or grease in order to compare it to the in service sample. And so we went ahead and we run this test and we were getting a zero antioxidant response from, from the grease. And we were getting an antioxidant response from the in service sample. Wasn't a big response, but it was a response. That's really weird. Let's go ahead. Let's run it again. So we ran it three times and still getting this kind of flat line of antioxidant from the new grease. Well, come to find out, there was no, there were no additives that had been added to this particular batch of grease. And that kind of led to a whole other discussion of quality issues with this particular batch of grease. So my point being with this story is, as far as quality management goes, antioxidants are just something very important to monitor in a new oil or new grease over time, whether you're using it or not, it's going to deplete. So in lube storage, we really should practice good inventory have good inventory practices where we're rotating and utilizing the lubricant quickly so that the antioxidants are not depleting at a rapid rate. And then we put in a antioxidant free oil or antioxidant free grease. Like that is what happened when we were running this test. So that would be one reason why it would be important to do testing and to just make sure that our inventory practices are good from a wood storage standpoint. But you brought up a really good point about just quality control in general when oils and greases are being delivered. But oil more, more in particular is it's just as far as when oil gets delivered. The assumption that oil is clean, I think, is made a lot. So we really do need to take care of that idea of and get some data behind that idea of oil isn't always clean upon delivery. And being able to do that initial on site testing is pretty important to make sure that we're receiving, either receiving clean oil or we're making the determination that we need to clean it up before we put it in the equipment. [00:30:22] Speaker A: Yeah, definitely. I mean, so the way I always kind of describe it to my customers is that, you know, there is a good reason why oil is not clean to begin with. Right. Basically, you know, think about it from the oil company's perspective. If you're making hydraulic oil, you know, that hydraulic oil is potentially going to a range of different customers. So some of them might be in plastic injection molding where oil cleanliness is extremely important. And if you have dirty oil, then potentially it runs you into issues down the line with gal sticking and all sorts of stuff. Right. Versus you've got someone who is, I don't know, in something I see a lot country, new South Wales, you know, quarries who, let's say, are not so great with, let's say, hose integrity, let's call it. Basically, they're spraying hydraulic oil all over the place. And, you know, for them, it. Does cleanliness matter? No, not really. So, you know, from an oil company's perspective, if they were going to make everything to a cleanliness standard, which customer do they make it for? So the idea is that they just make hydraulic oil and, you know, it's really up to the end user to clean it up to the specification that they need. Because obviously, you know, any cleaning that is done at the manufacturing plant, that's time and money which would end up being added to the dollar per liter cost. Right now there are, you know, I can think of, you know, a good example would be Chevron's ISO clean program where there are, you know, companies that will certify, you know, lubricants to a cleanliness standard. But generally you do pay a little bit extra for that. Right. Because there is a little bit more time and cost associated with cleaning it up. So. So, yeah, there's just something to be aware of. Yeah. Like you said, oil does not turn up, you know, in a clean state, and if you want it clean to a specific cleanliness level, that's kind of on you. So that's. That's a, that's definitely a good point. [00:32:25] Speaker B: Um, and, well, I bring up a good point, too, about just, yeah, we won't throw, uh, oil formulators and manufacturers under the bus here. I mean, they got to do one size fits all, and that's where they are. And it is up to us, the end user, to say, okay, well, 17 1513 is my code. I'm not there yet. I got a filter, so. Yeah, very good point. [00:32:47] Speaker A: Yeah, definitely. And, uh, you know, often, if that's not kind of in your wheelhouse, there are definitely providers. I know that there are a handful of providers in Australia as well as in the US who kind of do this on contract. So if you do need a specialist, I can encourage you to reach out to one of those. Okay, so now we've kind of talked through how you might go about setting up an onsite lab, the circumstances in which you might do it. You know, the fact that you probably not just testing used lubricants but also potentially new oils as well. Now we come sort of to the personnel part. Right? So you need someone to actually do the testing. And like you said, in a lot of circumstances, it's literally just, you know, someone points at you and says you, you are going to be the oil testing person and you kind of, like, look around and hope that they weren't pointing at you and they were pointing at someone behind you. [00:33:50] Speaker B: Right. [00:33:51] Speaker A: So let's say, for example, I'm completely green and I have no familiarity with oil, oil analysis. And I think, oh, my goodness, like, where do I go from here? I probably need to learn about oil analysis somewhere. And it would be good if the, the training that was offered was kind of more tailored to sort of that sort of field testing. So are there any certification programs? You know, does the likes of what ICML is like, LLA or stles, Oma programs, do they cover field testing that's like this? So, you know, where would, where would someone go? [00:34:32] Speaker B: So I think that there are. There are a lot of options. There are a lot of different avenues that you could go. I'm going to first start out with my story because I was completely green with this when I started. So my background is in chemistry. I did my senior thesis project on converting effort. I was looking at ethanol as a fuel source, and I was kind of in like a completely different space. And so I graduate from college and I land my first job, and I'm a lab manager at an oil analysis lab. And I'm like, great, this is a great gig. I had interned for them and I had great organizational skills. I could hold my own when it came to a chemistry discussion or engineering discussion. But there was this concept called tribology that I had never, never heard of. And I remember being put in a class and it was an ML MLA one class. And I took it pretty early in my career, and it started getting me familiar with all of the different, all the different tests that a lab runs. But it also familiarizes you with the machine part of it and machine care part of it. And I think that it's really important to have both of those pieces. There's an LLA route, which is a laboratory lubricant analyst route, which strictly talks about lubricant testing. And I like that class a lot. I've taught it, I've taken the exam. But I think that that maybe is something that's a little bit more down the road once you have a little bit more experience under your belt. But what I would recommend is ICML's MLA one or STL's ooa one or Oma. I said Ooa, Oma one. And I think that that kind of gives you this introduction to the industry of oil analysis. It gives you a good balance between, hey, this is what's happening on site, this is how to care for a machine. And then also this is the testing that you can do to condition monitor the machine. So I would recommend that. And as you grow in the industry, I think getting very specialized testing on, if you decide to purchase on site equipment, you obviously then will want to get very instrument specific training. I know it's vector scientific, where we do send out our field engineers for a few days to spend with the person who purchased the equipment, and they'll go over the equipment and best practices and making sure that the data is good that's coming out of the, out of the instrument and kind of help you with workflow. So I think that where we can go wrong in it is say, hey, here's this one site project that we're going to give you and we give it to mister or misses engineer, but we don't give them any background as to why. And I feel like with any job, when we don't understand why we're doing it, what the value is, it doesn't lead to sustainment of a program, it doesn't lead to a passion of the program. And so I really think being able to start out with that MLA one class and then kind of building into an instrument specific kind of instruction on site really leads to the kind of the best ultimate combination. And I will say also that, and I think we're all guilty of this as our jobs are getting more and more busy, is trying to get yourself off site, go to a different location that you're not sitting at your desk taking these online classes where people have access to you, they're knocking on their door. It really is the type of class, it's a combination of engineering and chemistry and on site experience that these classes are. And they require your full attention. These aren't easy topics, so by any sense of the means, and you should be proud of yourself that you're in these classes and learning this stuff, but it does require some devotion. And of course, you know, if you want the certification, you have a test you have to take at the end of the week. So you want to be able to listen and focus and be able to study throughout the week. So that would be my recommendation. Regardless of whether or not you are deciding to bring it on site or even starting a relationship with a third party lab. I think being able to have those discussions, even with your advisor at a third party lab to help make decisions about how this data is going to help our plant is very important. [00:39:46] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. It's interesting. Like, I even offer online training and I still think it's no substitute for in person. Right. Like I, you know, would much prefer if possible, to be able to do that sort of in person training because like you said, you know, level of concentration, but also interaction is, there's really no replacement for in person. And something I was thinking about when you were talking about that was, was, you know, if you can get that training and that familiarity with the tools that you have and kind of what oil analysis is, I actually think that this kind of level of field analysis is in many respects the best way to overcome what I see as being probably the big weakness of third party testing, which is the interpretation level, you know, so everyone who's done third party oil analysis will know that, you know, the the insights that you get, it's kind of up to you to interpret. And sometimes the, the interpretation that you get is pretty generic. Now, that's not the fault of the third party labs. It's, it's that they're not on site. Right. They don't know your equipment as intimately as you do. And so the very nature of their, you know, basically algorithmic recommendations has to be reasonably high level. You know, for you at the field level. If you can get that understanding of both your equipment as well as the, the oil analysis side, then, you know, hopefully there's the kind of like the marriage of the best of both worlds and you can get those results relatively quickly, but also with a, with a much deeper level of interpretation. So. And you know, that's kind of like the holy grail of oil analysis, right? [00:41:33] Speaker B: It is. I mean, if you can bring together the engineering experience and combine that with the data and be able to make a decision off of that, I mean, that's really, that's dynamite. I mean, that's, that's gold right there. And as you were talking, I'm thinking, I've been on both ends of that. So as far as creating oil analysis reports for a third party lab, if you want to make specific recommendations, you're on the phone with that engineer and you're having that discussion and it is just, it's not sustainable in a lot of cases. And so you, you can turn to these, these more generic statements and then you are putting it up to the engineer to, if they have questions, they're calling you and scheduling a time to talk to you and, and, and ask you what you've seen. And does this make sense? Or why am I seeing this number high? And that's a lot of back and forth that I just feel like we had more time for that 15 years ago than we do now. I don't know. But I really do feel like that amount of time has changed. But I certainly did it. I did it when I was in the lab. But on the other side of that. So at Spectra scientific, that's one thing that we really value, is we really want, and we have software designed for that, is we really want the engineer on site to be dictating alarms, dictating things like particle count levels that maybe we are recommending one thing, but the site needs, need something else and, or why something's wearing and, you know, a certain metal level that is, is up. And we may have no idea why that's wearing from at Spectra scientific, but the engineer on site may have a perfect idea because that he understands, he or she understands that machine. So I really think that that's where the power of oil analysis lies, is when that engineer with the experience paired with understanding of the data is so powerful. And if you don't have any kind of real formalized training of understanding the power of oil data and you just kind of know how the machine works or how it hear how it smells or what it sounds like and like that's all data. I mean, even though we're just using our senses, that's all we can put data to that. And when you can put data with that, it really is very powerful. [00:44:20] Speaker A: Yeah, yeah. And actually, if anyone is interested in sort of how to set, how limits are set and how you might want to set your own. A couple of weeks ago, we did a podcast with Elaine Hepley from Polaris Labs. And so I'll link that in the description as well because we kind of covered that topic in a little bit of detail. So, yeah, I mean, that's great. [00:44:41] Speaker B: That is excellent. I think that having that information paired with getting a kind of a clump of data to work with to start with is excellent. [00:44:50] Speaker A: Now, as we start to sort of get into the end of these podcasts, I always like to ask questions about what does the future look like? So maybe a question for you which is a bit more kind of speculative. You put your, put your tinfoil hat on or look into crystal ball or whatever it is. What do you think the future of? Well, we can broaden out to oil analysis, but also talk specifically about field analysis. What do you think it looks like? Is it the same tools, but they get more refined? Is it better tools that become available to us? How do you see it sort of playing out? Maybe the next ten years or so? [00:45:32] Speaker B: Yeah, I think that sensor technology is going to continue to evolve. I think there's a lot of value with sensor technology in how it benefits the oil analysis industry, but I think we still have a little ways to go in that development process. But I think that it will significantly contribute to the next ten years of the oil analysis industry. I think we really need to, as a industry, get things documented better. And what I mean by that is we have a lot of people out there that are really knowledgeable about just looking at data and knowing, just knowing from years of experience that something is wrong, something needs to be changed, and eventually those people are going to want to retire. And so I think we need to do a better job getting things documented, whether that be in a software format that we can use for years and years to come, or rather just be a work instruction on site. So I think it's really important to, over these next ten years, to really make sure we get things documented from key people. I think that there will be, there will continue to be a need for third party labs. There will continue to be a need for on site analysis. I think each will continue to have their own space. I think that on site folks who are utilizing on site technologies can continue to pull off of the experience of what we have from our third party labs. I think there will continue to be relationships there, but I think we are, as an industry, leaning more towards figuring out how to automate things and make things easier on ourselves rather than typing up these reports, individual reports. I think that this automation is really where we're headed as an industry. Each of these pieces will continue to have their own space within the industry. [00:48:04] Speaker A: Yeah. Yeah, that's really interesting. And like you talk about, you know, obviously with a lot of experience that feels like it's on the verge of, of leaving, you know, that. And that's true across the board. Right. It's. It's true in industry, it's true in the oil analysis labs, even true to a certain extent in the ASTM committees if anyone wants to get involved. So mainly anyone US based. Right. So if there's anyone kind of us based that can make the ASTM committee meetings. Lisa would love to hear from you. [00:48:41] Speaker B: Yes, that's right. So you don't have to be us based, but all the meetings are us based. So if you have trouble getting to the US, it's. It is definitely easier to be us based. [00:48:51] Speaker A: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. [00:48:52] Speaker B: So we would welcome the expertise we have. We have like 43 standards in our, within our committee jurisdiction and all of the labs that are running oil testing are utilizing these standards. And so we, we need technical expertise in these committees. Continuing to provide feedback of, hey, that's not right in the standard. That's. We should change that. And we welcome new ideas and new people, for sure. So, shameless plug for my. [00:49:29] Speaker A: Yeah. Awesome, awesome. Well, with that. With that kind of call to arms and that call to action, Lisa, thanks so much for joining us today. I think you provided like a wealth of insight. And, you know, I hope hopefully there's some really good takeaways for people about when, where, how and why you should set up either a field lab or third party or analysis. Like you said, we want to get away from it being a tick the box exercise. It's not a compliance thing. It's there to give you insights and improve your reliability. So, no, really, really appreciate your time, and, yeah, we'll talk again soon. [00:50:07] Speaker B: Absolutely. Thank you.

Other Episodes

Episode 27

September 20, 2022 00:40:31
Episode Cover

Compressor Oils with Jim Carey (ex Mobil)

Compressor oils are awesome. It's the ultimate blend of mechanical engineering, chemistry and fluid dynamics. But in my experience with many industrial customers, there...


Episode 51

January 26, 2024 00:36:33
Episode Cover

Re-Refined Base Oils with Dr Joel Garrett (Safety Kleen)

Demystifying Re-Refined Base Oils: Quality, Sustainability, and Future Trends In this episode, we delve into the world of re refined base oils, thanks to...


Episode 44

August 17, 2023 00:39:31
Episode Cover

Synthetic Base Oils with John Sander (Lubrication Engineers)

Synthetic base oils are everywhere. But you might be surprised to learn how many there are, and when they're used. In this episode we...