Criticality and Oil Analysis: How Often Should Critical Equipment be Tested?

Critical machinery does need to have its oil tested more frequently than other machinery simply because the consequences of inoperability are more severe.  

                TestOil Data/Field Analyst Matt McMahon explains, “Some companies officially rank criticality and some don’t. However, even without a criticality ranking system in place, most people know that anything they don’t have a back-up for is critical, as is anything that has the potential to shut the plant down. Our customers understand the importance of criticality.”

                Matt recommends an onsite visit for new TestOil customers.  During this visit, the analyst will perform an audit to assess criticality. “Unless you are dealing with a customer that is highly experienced with oil analysis an onsite visit is recommended,” he adds.  

                Criticality is an important factor for establishing the frequency of oil testing, but it is not the only consideration. These additional factors, in order of importance, include:

  1. Safety—if the machine fails, does it create a safety risk?
  2. Machine replacement lead time and whether or not there are spares available
  3. Machine failure history, does the machine have a history of frequent failures?
  4. Challenges to fluid health—i.e. environmental conditions

                Once priorities have been established, TestOil will put machines on a testing schedule. The default is monthly. “But it really has to be a customer decision in regard to balancing the cost of oil analysis with maintenance objectives,” Matt says. “Some customers sample some machines on a weekly basis and some customers think they can get by with annual sampling; annual sampling is not recommended because we can’t get a meaningful trend regarding machine health. For a new program with a mix of critical and non-critical machines—everything should be sampled at least monthly for at least a quarter—just to establish a trend.”

                For companies that need help getting an oil sampling program off the ground, TestOil offers KickStart PRO, which includes a series of on-site and virtual visits coupled with personalized training to ensure retention. Before handoff, customers will be equipped with the appropriate next steps to ensure their continued efforts return maximum value.

                Matt summarizes, “Assessing criticality will allow customers to catch issues before it is too late and take advantage of opportunities to prevent unscheduled downtime.”

                For more information on working with TestOil for oil analysis and training visit Contact: 216-251-2510; [email protected].

                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. TestOil PRO certified lubrication professionals educate the industry on oil analysis through public and private onsite training. These highly experienced professionals provide a variety of onsite services; from collecting oil samples to conducting failure analyses to writing work orders. For more information on partnering with TestOil on oil analysis programs or training opportunities visit Contact: Michael Barrett 216-251-2510; [email protected]

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