Proper Fluid Sampling Procedures

While lubrication analysis is a quick and cost-effective way to gauge the health of equipment, proper sampling is the foundation of accurate results that have the potential to prevent downtime and extend the life of both the equipment and the lubricant. Following are 6 basic sampling guidelines.

1.  Equipment Selection

Management needs to identify the equipment to be sampled; equipment critical to plant operations should have priority. Then they should write detailed procedures, establish routes, and create sampling schedules.

2.  Sampling Frequency

When deciding on frequency, it is important to consider the objectives of the lubrication analysis program. There is no universal formula for determining frequency, but most experts consider monthly sampling to be optimum for critical machinery.

3.  Sample Point Location

Ensure the sample location is representative of the system and be careful not to contaminate the sample during the process. A sampling location should be identified to allow for trouble-free, repetitive, and representative sampling.

4.  Who Should Pull Samples

The person taking the sample is just as important as the person interpreting the results. Insufficient training often leads to the sample taker being the weakest link in the predictive maintenance chain.

Eurofins TestOil offers onsite and offsite private and public training classes in lubrication fundamentals and practices.

5.  Sample Collection

The way a sample is collected, the tools used, and the procedures followed, dictate how informative and beneficial the sample will be. That is why it is of great importance that the sample be taken correctly. The best method depends on the type of system being sampled.

6.  Shipping Samples

The sample bottle should be wiped to remove residual lubricant. Then the pre-printed sample label should be completed—noting the date and any lubricant change information. Once the label is affixed to the bottle, the bottle should be placed in the sample mailer or a sturdy box and shipped to the lab using the preferred carrier.

The ebook on this subject “The Right Path,” which contains significantly more detailed information, is available for download at:

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