Can You Extend the Life of Your Rotating Equipment?

The Short Answer: Yes

The Long Answer: …

In order to extend or shorten anything we must have a datum to measure changes. The lifespan prediction for your rotating equipment provides such a yardstick and it is calculated under the assumption that the equipment is subject to normal operating conditions for the duration of its life. Therefore any deviation from normal can be either detrimental or positive depending on what condition is changed. Part of the standard is the condition of the lubricating oil which can have a major impact on equipment life.

Shortening Equipment Life

Firstly, we will attend the opposite problem and see how equipment life can be reduced.
Types of damage to rotating equipment can be broadly classed as short or long term. Life extension is influenced principally by long term damages which can be:

  • low cycle fatigue
  • thermally induced creep
  • fouling
  • distortion
    wear

    Examples of corrosion, etching/pitting and embrittlement

  • corrosion
  • erosion
  • wear/loss of dimensional tolerances
  • embrittlement

In previous articles such asĀ How Moisture Kills Compressors, we illustrated how the latter four on the list can all be caused by lube oil that is not in spec. As a brief recapitulation of the relevant points, particulate matter can cause wear by abrasion of surfaces. Water contamination can cause corrosion by enabling acid attack, erosion by cavitation explosions and embrittlement by providing a source of hydrogen.

Lube oil cleanliness has direct and sometimes fatal consequences to machinery. The British Hydraulics Research Association conducted a three year field study on 100 pieces of rotational equipment. The results as shown on the table are astonishing.

It’s clear that dirty oil = shorter life.

Cleanliness Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Extending Equipment Life

Thankfully, the other side of the coin is also true and the solution to extended life is simple: clean oil = longer life. Positively deviating from the normal standard can increase the service period of your equipment. The cleaner the oil the better it will function as a shield for the internal surfaces components and, as shown from the table above, it can increase the lifetime if critical equipment by up to 20 times! Ensuring the equipment lubricant is clean with thorough maintenance programmes is the key to prolonging equipment life. This, in turn, means less down time and less replacing of equipment.

If you think your equipment could do with an injection of youth then contact us.

James McAllister
BioKem Oil Services
james@biokem.com.au

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