Filtration Checkup

Diligence is a central tenant of proactive machinery maintenance and a requirement when it comes to ensuring optimum machine performance.

Quality oil filtration is no different and should be monitored regularly.

14 Questions To Ask During An Oil Filtration Checkup:

  1. Has the immediate working area been thoroughly cleaned before any area of the system is opened?
    • Cleaning the work area prior to working on the machine prevents the ingression of contamination that might be present in the machine’s external environment.
  2. Have the lubricants been pre-filtered before being added to the system
    • Lubricants and oils, even when new, can contain contamination particles. New lubricants should always be filtered before being introduced into a machine — a task made easy with filter carts.
  3. Are all the breathers, external seals, and other contamination exclusion tools working properly, and are they regularly inspected and serviced?
    • These tools prevent contaminants from entering into the machine’s lubrication system. Preventing particles from entering the machine is easier and more cost-effective than removing them once they’ve ingressed.
  4. Are the specified lubricants and fluids being used?
    • Refer to existing procedures or the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) recommendations. Ensuring that lubricants are properly labeled guards against mix-ups; using the wrong lubricant can be detrimental to a machine’s health.
  5. Are the lubricants and fluids being stored properly in the appropriate, clean environment?
    • A well-organized and properly maintained lube room protects the health of your lubricants and streamlines lubrication tasks.
  6. Are all leaks, particularly those in dirty environments, being repaired quickly?
    • Leaks are a waste of lubricants, which, in turn, is a waste of money. External leaks are easier to spot than internal leaks, which are noticeable by a drop in oil levels, and can be confirmed with ultrasonic equipment. Leaks also create a new entry point for contamination.  
  7. After any major component failure and replacement, is the entire system thoroughly cleaned and completely serviced?
    • Opening a machine to repair or replace components presents an opportunity to perform mechanical cleaning of the machine’s internal surfaces. Additionally, the reservoir should be opened and cleaned by hand.
  1. If flushing is performed, are the flushing fluids and rinsing fluids clean?
    • Like the new oil being introduced to the machine, the flush fluid (which may be an oil, a detergent, a solvent, etc.) and the rinse fluid (in most cases, the same type of oil as the new oil being added) must be cleaned of contaminants.
  2. Are all replacement components thoroughly cleaned prior to installation?
    • Like new oils, new components need to be cleaned properly before being introduced to the machine. New components can carry contaminant particles left behind during the component’s machining process.
  3. When hose connections, valve ports, and fittings are opened or disconnected, are the connections immediately capped with clean and effective plugs?
    • Anytime a new pathway for contamination ingression is opened, it should be quickly and properly covered; doing so prevents particles from entering into the lubrication system.
  4. Are the filters meeting the equipment manufacturer’s specifications and cleanliness targets?
    • Oil samples taken upstream and downstream from the filter can provide an insight into the effectiveness of the filter. Using high-quality filters ensures unwanted particles are removed from the lubricating oil.
  5. Are the lubricated systems being regularly monitored for correct operating temperatures?
    • All lubrications have an acceptable temperature range limit (for both high and low temperatures). Instabilities in operating temperatures can result in these limits being violated, which can lead to conditional failures.
  6. Are maintenance personnel wearing clean clothing and using clean tools and equipment?
    • Again, with the cleanliness. Dirt and other particles on clothing and tools can enter the machine’s lubrication system, causing further contamination.
  7. Do the maintenance personnel and technicians understand the need for cleanliness, and have they been trained in the correct contamination control practices?
    • The most important aspect of maintenance is a properly educated team. How can you expect technicians and operators to do the job right if they don’t know how to do the job? Providing your team with the right skills and knowledge ensures that tasks are carried out properly.