A new oil cleaning system which indefinitely extends the working life of oil promises big things for the industrial lubrication market. The Portable Centrifugal Oil Cleaning System filters impurities from lubricants so effectively it may halve consumption.
Lubemaster Australia’s unique design combines well-proven centrifugal technology for particle removal with a vacuum dehydration unit for removing water. “With Lubemaster systems and a little care, oil life can be increased and the quantity of wear particle reduced, thereby increasing the life of the machinery,” according to Bob Smith of LubeMaster..
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“Other systems use finer filters, which greatly reduces flow rates and makes it impractical to clean heavy oils. “Lubemaster can decrease the amount of oil disposed of by industry and make it more economical to use more expensive synthetic oils. “Both these factors save money and are environmentally positive.” The machine has been laboratory-tested to remove particles to sizes less than 1 micron for all oil grades, while maintaining full flow rates. The machine has the potential to save up to 50% of Australia’s annual $2 billion industrial lubrication spend and has now been patented in all major overseas markets. LubeMaster was the recipient of a Commercialising Emerging Technologies (COMET) grant from AusIndustry during the development stages which Bob says, “was crucial in taking Lubemaster ideas closer to market.”
Lubemaster Australia was formed by the owners of Oil Solutions, a company which conducts oil analysis on used oil samples collected from all types of machinery. By conducting a series of tests on the used oil, taken from within an operating machine, and analysing these results, the company is able to determine the condition of the machine, monitor the rate of wear, forecast machine failures, monitor the lubricant’s performance and condition and identify contaminants which may be causing abnormal wear rates and operating conditions; thus it is monitoring the operating standard and is able to quantify any improvements made to the operation. Normally, the main reason for changing oil is to flush the contamination, which builds up over time through normal use of the equipment, from within the machine. Quite often when oil is changed we flush the contamination out as the oil drains, and we dispose of oil which is highly contaminated (with either particle or water), even though in many cases the oil is in perfectly good condition apart from the contamination it is carrying. Over a period of time, Bob watched companies “throwing away millions of litres of good oil” and this scenario inevitably led to the development of the Lubemaster Oil Cleaning Unit (LOCU).
The LOCU is the result of many years of Bob’s experience in the oil analysis industry and has been designed with Bob’s eye to “what works” after a career measuring the contents of sumps and seeing the machine which created it. The LOCU has no major drive parts which could wear out and no operating costs as components are designed to be washed, re-assembled and re-used. Knowing the importance of downtime for any machinery he is servicing, LOCU has wheels so it can be used next to the machines it is servicing, and can operate on a dialysis basis, cleaning oil while the host machine is operating. For environments where acid build-up is the major oil contaminant, a Fullers Earth unit can be added to LOCU to remove the acids. According to Bob , “oil is like a machine, service it and it will last longer.”
“The useful life of oil can be greatly enhanced by proper servicing and keeping the contaminants such as dust and water out of the oil. “Oil alone does not degrade; it is caused to degrade by the contaminants allowed to build up whilst in use such as water in the oil. “This not only destroys the film strength of the oil, destroying its hydrodynamic properties, but it allows the build-up of acids by converting the phosphorous, sulphurs and other elements, allowing them to combine with Hydrogen and Oxygen from moisture and air, and forming acids which are aqueous solutions capable of destroying metal surfaces - We cannot have aqueous solutions without water, so keep out the water thus reduced oil degradation and no acid build up. “If oil is degrading due to heat, we need to use a different oil or reduce the heat by cooling. Again better lubricant management leads to extended oil life. By using the Lubemaster machine to remove water and particle contamination, we are ‘servicing’ our oil and can expect better oil life, in fact if we balance our machine with the right lubricant, we can extend the life of the oil in most cases indefinitely, thus eliminating the need for changing oil again in most situations.
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