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Safely Restarting Machinery That’s Been Idled

CLEVELAND,  June 3, 2020 TestOil, the industry leader in lubricant analysis, has the expertise on staff to help customers safely recommission machinery that has been idled due to the COVID-19 shutdown. Although it’s tempting to just flip the switch, TestOil recommends due diligence before restarting; beginning with a visual inspection to check for rust, leaking gaskets, seals, cracks, proper oil levels, oil color, etc.
                The next step is to consider the variables that may have affected the condition of idled equipment. These include:
• Type of Equipment: If some equipment, for example rotating machinery, sits idle in one position for an unusually long period of time several issues can arise, such as noise and vibration that will be apparent at start-up. False brinelling of bearings can occur in the areas that experience vibration and shafts can bow if left in one position for an extended period.
• Proper/Improper Shutdown: At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost no one was prepared for the severity and length of the situation. However, for machinery that was properly shut down, the path to recommissioning will be smoother.
• Condition of the Equipment before Shutdown: The age and the number of operating hours on a piece of machinery will have a bearing on how well it fares during shutdown. If it was placed in service fairly recently, it should bounce back with few issues (the OEM will be an excellent source of recommissioning advice). On the other hand, if it is out-of-warranty or close to end-of-life, this may be a good time to think about replacing it or at least securing a backup—depending on how critical the machine is to operations.
• Operating Environment: Further complicating the situation, the onset of the COVID-19 shutdown occurred during a period of seasonal change in most parts of the U.S. As facilities shut down, most either increased or decreased the interior temperature to save on energy bills. These temperature fluctuations and associated condensation can affect the state of idled machinery.
• Length of Shutdown: The longer machinery sits idle, the more susceptible it is to contamination, corrosion, the ingress/egress of fluids and in the extreme insects and rodents. This is particularly true if the equipment operates or was stored outside.

                Depending on the extent of these variables and whether there are obvious issues, TestOil may recommend testing the oil before restarting--although it’s usually best to sample the oil while the machinery is in operation.
                TestOil Data Analyst Frank Rex said, “You don’t want to hit ‘go’ and put it into service right away. Start it up to see if it is operating properly first. Many problems can be detected by test-running the equipment.”
                TestOil has the resources to help customers successfully restart idled machinery and maintain it in optimal condition after that. In addition to a team of oil analysis experts, TestOil offers a number of programs designed to help extend the life of equipment and avoid unscheduled downtime.
                TestOil President Mary Messuti said, “Many companies were not prepared for extent and length of the machinery shutdown during the COVID-19 situation. Given this, it stands to reason that most businesses don’t have a plan for recommissioning either. This is one of many areas where our experts can help. Partnering with TestOil will simplify the process and deliver the peace of mind needed to continue building a strong organization that thrives well into the future.”
                With more than 30 years of experience in the oil analysis industry, TestOil focuses exclusively on assisting industrial facilities with reducing maintenance costs and avoiding unexpected downtime through oil analysis program implementation. As industry experts in diagnosing oil-related issues in equipment such as turbines, hydraulics, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and diesel generators, TestOil provides customers with a guarantee of same-day turnaround on all routine testing. With in-house, certified training professionals, TestOil offers lubrication and oil analysis training, private onsite training, certification training and exams, and educational webinars. For more information on partnering with TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit

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