Accurate Oil Analysis Results Start with Accurate Sample Label

Something as simple as the label on the oil sample bottle can significantly affect the accuracy of results. Too often, lab analysts are left trying to figure out what machine the sample is drawn from.

The important fields for setting initial alarms on fluid sample results are fluid type and machine type. Per Matt McMahon, Eurofins TestOil Analyst III Field Technician, “Often, we’ll receive samples that do not have this information and they end up getting setup with very generic limits or in the case of viscosity, no limits at all. “ 

Matt explains that if there is no fluid type identified, analysts will not be able to alarm viscosity and will apply generic water limits. “Sometimes we receive samples that are simply labeled ‘gear oil’ or ‘hydraulic oil’ and these don’t provide the level of description we need to apply viscosity limits. Often, we’ll receive samples labeled as a generic type such as ‘AW 32.’”

He adds that while this is better than no identification, analysts will at least be able to alarm viscosity even though they won’t be able to provide data in the new oil column on the reports. Proper identification would contain the fluid manufacturer and precise product being tested; for example, “ExxonMobil DTE 24” is more specific than “AW 32.”

As it implies, machine type describes the type of machine that is being tested. This information is used to set the initial wear metal limits and long-term particle count limits. Some examples of these are terms like gearbox, bearing, diesel engine, turbine, hydraulic system. “Sometimes we can figure out the machine type by the name of the machine and lubricant in use,” Matt advises, “But often, when samples come in with no lubricant information and a non-descriptive machine name, these end up with generic limits.  “ 

Even with the machine type and fluid type missing, Eurofins TestOil analysts will do their best to set the machine(s) up in the database, run the sample and get the information to the customer in a timely manner. 

A great way to improve the chances that the sample label is correctly filled out is to take advantage of generating labels in the Eurofins TestOil customer portal DataSight.  Eurofins TestOil can also provide sample labels of existing machines in the customer’s database to make sure that the sample is properly identified. In addition, Eurofins TestOil offers classes that cover correct sample bottle labeling.

“Often, we see handwritten labels with a machine name that doesn’t match existing machines resulting in a new entry being created,” Matt adds. “The label for the new machine created typically will not have any fluid type or machine type information and creates confusion when the customer receives the analysis report—they wonder where the sample history is.” 

Matt recommends addressing the correct way to complete labels early in the customer relationship. “Often if it is not addressed right away, it never seems to be corrected from that point forward,” he says. “If a machine is setup with generic information, the limits applied tend to be loose and problems aren’t alarmed quickly enough for timely maintenance corrective actions.” 

If Eurofins TestOil customers encounter a new machine that should have a history or has incomplete data, we encourage them to contact our lab with specific sample identifying information and ask for an update.  They can also ask for a machine database spreadsheet that will allow them to review all of their machine setups.  At that point, customers can make changes/updates and send the spreadsheet back to our lab.  By providing precise information, we can more accurately target analysis reporting limits and provide succinct recommendations.

                For more information on working with Eurofins TestOil for oil analysis and training visit Contact: 216-251-2510;

About Eurofins TestOil

With more than 30 years of experience in the oil analysis industry, Eurofins TestOil focuses exclusively on assisting industrial facilities with reducing maintenance costs and avoiding unexpected downtime through oil and fuel analysis program implementation. As industry experts in diagnosing oil-related issues in equipment such as turbines, hydraulics, gearboxes, pumps, compressors and diesel generators, Eurofins TestOil provides customers with same-day turnaround on routine oil analysis testing.  For more information on partnering with Eurofins TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit Contact: Michael Barrett 216-251-2510; 

About Eurofins – the global leader in bio-analysis

Eurofins is Testing for Life. Eurofins is the global leader in food, environment, pharmaceutical and cosmetic product testing, and in discovery pharmacology, forensics, advanced material sciences and agroscience Contract Research services. Eurofins is also a market leader in certain testing and laboratory services for genomics, and in the support of clinical studies, as well as in BioPharma Contract Development and Manufacturing. The Group also has a rapidly developing presence in highly specialised and molecular clinical diagnostic testing and in-vitro diagnostic products.

With over 61,000 staff across a network of 940 laboratories in 59 countries, Eurofins’ companies offer a portfolio of over 200,000 analytical methods. Eurofins Shares are listed on Euronext Paris Stock Exchange.

Comments are closed.