How to manage the cost of Lubricant Filtration
The cost of removing dirt from oil is substantial, mainly when plants and fleets operate in dusty environments. We are aware of the fact that contamination control is optional but an important maintenance strategy. You may find it surprising, but most oils purchased these days are not filtered before being sold. It may look transparent, but it has particles that are not expected to be in new oil. The existing contaminants of lubricants must be addressed first before putting into service. Achieving cleanliness of oil at economical rates should be taken care of by smart maintenance professionals.
As already mentioned, many new lubricants may have impurities that contribute to premature filter plugging. An oil change can be more economical than filtration (in some cases). In simple words, filters last if they don’t plug in particles/impurities. A careful inspection must be done in this case. If you change filters very often, it will be a waste of resources. The additional cost includes inventory, labour cost, disposal of used filter and waste oil, scheduling cost, etc. If you change a filter too late, then it can be a danger for the oil and machine. Many technologies like bypass indicators, delta-P indicators, online particle counting, and alerts are available to improve the filter change intervals. It’s very important to remove the particles at the same rate they enter into the oil.
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Following are the factors which improve filters and their economy:
- Filter with the right micron – Filters must have the right micron size to ensure the proper flow of lubricant. The appropriate micron should be checked before selecting a filter.
- Temperature – A lubricant may have difficulty passing through a filter in cold temperatures compared to warm temperatures.
- Viscosity – Lubricant viscosity is an important aspect too. For Low viscosity lubricant, a low micron rating filter should be considered and vice versa. This is due to the machine tolerance.
- Moisture – If there is less moisture, then a spin-on or drop-in filter can be used to remove water from a machine. If the water is in a large amount, then a vacuum dehydrator can be the best option to remove water from a lubricant, as in this case, heat and suction are used to remove moisture.
Thus, it is important to select filters considering size, media type, capacity, filter design, dirt-holding, location of usage, pressure, flow, etc.
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