Solutions from Atten2 to prevent breakdowns caused by lubricating oils contamination

Contamination of lubricating oils is a very common problem that can occur in any phase of its life cycle, causing unintended breakdown and production stoppages. The presence of contaminants in the lubricating fluid is not an isolated matter, occurring rarely or confined to one particular sector. On the contrary, it is a very frequent transversal problem for all industry sectors and is especially common in sectors located in highly demanding environmental conditions such as mining (dust), any offshore industry (water), and in manufacturing plants that use diesel motors (soot).

Why is it a good idea to implement Atten2 sensor technology?

Principally, to anticipate trouble. The Atten2 sensor system allows the early detection of contaminants in the oil and makes it possible to prevent or minimise the impact of possible breakdowns that arise from this problem of lubrication.

Unlike preventive maintenance techniques, the lubricant condition real time monitoring of the of Atten2 sensors gives visibility to the problems before they become a critical element, thus allowing corrective measures to be taken.

By preventing or minimising the impact of the breakdowns, Atten2 technology positively affects the prolongation of the useful life of the machines, which returns in the form of financial savings for the companies that implement these sensors.

In conventional maintenance practices, contaminating particles in the oil are detected through a sample that is analysed in a laboratory. Thus, it is a snapshot of a particular moment (and perhaps not the most significant) that does not relate the machine operating condition with the lubricating fluid condition. Also, it is a laborious process that is costly and that has a time lag between taking the sample and seeing the results.

With Atten2 real time monitoring oil condition can be known at all times and can be associated to the operation conditions of the machinery. That is to say, it is able to determine whether a high number of particles in the oil stems from highly demanding specific operating condition. Moreover, the data provided by the Atten2 systems do not need an expert to identify external contaminants in lubricating oils.

How does Atten2 identify external contaminants in lubricating oils?

The Atten2 sensors are capable of detecting contamination in the lubrication oil by detecting bubbles in the oil and measuring the particles in suspension. This makes Atten2 sensors the only ones on the market that are able to effectively differentiate the particles from the bubbles.

Detection of bubbles

The detection of bubbles can have a double significance: The ingress in the lubrication system of air or of water.

As has been said, the presence of water in the oil can cause chemical reactions that produce sludge and, lead in turn to blockages in the machinery and even accelerate the degradation of the lubricant itself. What is more, it also affects the corrosion of the materials.

In the case of air bubbles, these are indicators of an excessive intake of air, bringing contaminants such as dust or environmental water with it into the lubrication system. The presence of air also affects the quality of the lubrication, since it may happen that the film generated by the separation between surfaces is not sufficient.

Detection of sizes and shapes of the particles

Atten2 technology also makes it possible to detect fluid particles, and to identify their origin from their shape. In other words, the sensors not only indicate the presence of particles, but they also provide information about where they come from, which can help to reveal other additional problems. Fibres, for example, are very long structures that can be generated by faults in the seals, bearings or gear mechanisms.

These particles are dragged by the oil and, as well as making it dirty, they can cause accelerated wear of components by circulating through the various parts of the machine. The particles that are generated from fatigue are very flat, rounded particles, while those that originate from cutting by abrasion are spiral in shape. All of this information obtained through the Atten2 technology makes it possible to have a detailed understanding of the root cause of the contamination of the lubricant and to take appropriate action.

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