Managing a manufacturing plant requires attention to detail, especially when it comes to the condition of the machine engines. The lubrication required in a high-demand environment means that you need to keep the oil in good condition. If you're not familiar with the signs of oil problems in your machinery, there are a few things that you should look for. Here's a look at some of the warning signs you should be checking for during your routine inspections.
Oxidation occurs when the hot oil comes in contact with the air. It leads to acid formation in the oil itself. These changes can actually weaken the thermal stability of the oil, making it deteriorate quickly. The compounds formed by the acid are vulnerable to polymerization at lower temperatures than the oil is designed to withstand, which can actually cause solid deposits to form in the oil itself. This leads to sticking throughout the engine components because the oil will circulate through the system, carrying those deposits throughout the machine. Some of the signs you should watch for include clogged filters, trouble starting up the machines, and trouble reaching the operating temperature.
When the oil doesn't circulate sufficiently, it can leave oil contacting the heating element for prolonged periods. This leads to overheating of the oil, which can actually cause it to exceed the safe operating temperatures. This causes the molecules in the oil to crack, which can actually cause the oil to lose viscosity. These changes can also cause carbon formation, which is damaging to the engine. Some of the warning signs of this include filter clogs and poor oil pump response.
Contaminated oil is a common problem in industrial environments. Any kind of condensation that forms inside the oil system will lead to water suspension in the oil. The water will then settle in low-velocity areas inside the system. Since the oil is hot, it can actually raise the water temperature. If the water hits boiling, it will become steam. This can actually cause cavitation inside the pump. This will cause the oil pump to shut down because it will result in a low-pressure reading that will override the pump's safety triggers.
In addition to water, oil can become contaminated with dust particles, dirt, or other airborne byproducts from the machine operation. Even weld spatter and other flakes from the engine components can lead to contamination. This can cause oil pump failure if these particles get lodged inside the pump.
If you need more information about engine oils, consider contacting companies like Small & Sons Oil Dist Co.