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Basics of Coolant Management

Industrial Lubricants are always a vast and interesting subject to discuss and share. Broadly Industrial Lubricants can be discussed in two verticals – one is of course Factory, Plant & Machinery [ FPM ] products like Hydraulics, Gear Oils, Compressor Oils, etc. Another is Lubricants used in processing. In the later segment, one of the most sensitive portfolios is water extendable cutting coolants used in metal processing industries. Many technical publications and in-depth experiences are shared for the maintenance of cutting coolants. However, today's effort is to address the basics of maintenance of Soluble cutting coolants either mineral based conventional high oil content products or new generation semi-synthetic products. Before going into maintenance practices let us have a quick look at the composition and chemistry of Cutting coolants. New generation cutting oils are a complex combination of Lubricity components blended with Emulsifiers, Co-emulsifiers, Corrosion Inhib

Relation Between Friction, Wear & Lubricants

(R.S) What is Friction:-   Friction is the resistance to motion and wear is the loss of material as a result of friction, contact fatigue and corrosion. Reducing friction is a key objective of lubrication, but there are many other benefits of this process. Lubricating films can help prevent corrosion by protecting the surface from water and other corrosive substances. Different Types of Friction:- Sliding Friction:-  The term sliding friction refers to the resistance created by two objects sliding against each other. This can also be called kinetic friction. Sliding friction is intended to stop an object from moving.    Rolling Friction:-  In simple words Rolling friction is the force resisting the motion when a body rolls on a surface.     Also there some more types of friction is there like Boring Friction, Mix of Sliding & Rolling Friction, Internal Friction of a deform-able body. Majorly in all types of application, we can see these types of friction & the main purpose of

Can Lubricants Increase Friction?

  Lubricants like any types of greases & oils usually used to reduce the effect (heat generated when the surface move) of friction or we can say that its decrease the friction between surfaces in mutual contact rather increasing friction. A good lubricants or proper lubrication process does not only reduce friction but also it has multi functional tasks mentioned below. 1st & for most lubricants used to separate or lubricate two moving surfaces. 2nd A good lubricant or if you have selected proper lubrication process then lubricants can be a good sealant & can be used for sealing process. 3rd one of the major role of lubricants is to reduce the heat generated by two moving surfaces in mutual contact. Lubricants can act as coolant. Last but not the least Lubricating oils & greases can also protect material from different types of foreign particles, which can damage the materials like bearing, gears etc. & protects from oxidization and corrosion. To clarify how lubrica

Investigating Lubricant Failures In Ammonia plants

Ammonia (NH3) is one of the most highly produced inorganic, synthetic chemicals & is critical in the manufacturing of fertilizers. There are numerous large-scale ammonia production plants available worldwide and as per 2016 report, produced a total of 144 million tonnes of nitrogen. There are numerous critical applications used in ammonia plants, needs specialty lubricants to run the machine. However, today's effort is to address investigating lubricant failures on Ammonia plants.


A lubricant’s function and characteristics must be understood before its failure can be analyzed. Lubricants can fail in numerous ways such as; oxidation, contamination, thermal breakdown, micro dieseling, additive depletion or electrostatic spark discharge. However, with each failure mode there are associated conditions (such as temperature or contaminants) and outcomes (for example tar deposits, coke or sludge) that can aid in identification of the failure mode. The outcomes or deposits are essential in determining the way a lubricant degraded if a root cause analysis was performed for that component.

Additionally, oil analysis tests can be done to recognize failure modes either before or after the failure. Whilst there are many oil analysis detection methods, not all can be carried out on a single component. Therefore, there must be a strategic selection of oil analysis tests that can form a baseline suite which will enable end users to identify and possibly rectify issues in the lubricant before it fails. From the research conducted, it can be deduced that a primary suite of tests should include; Linear Sweep Voltammetry (Remaining Useful Life Evaluation Routine), Acid Number, Fourier Transform Infrared, Viscosity, Quantitative Spectrophotometric Analysis / Membrane Patch Calorimetry / Ultra Centrifuge and Rotating Pressure Vessel Oxidation Test. These can aid in the identification of the type of degradation and can be used in the root cause analysis to determine corrective actions to avoid future failures.

It has been determined that while root cause analysis is a powerful tool it is not always applied correctly when investigating lubrication failures. The five phases of data collection, assessment, corrective actions, informing and follow up are quintessential stages that must be adhered to during an investigation to identify the reasons for a lubricant failure. The first two stages of data collection and assessment form the basis for determining the reason/s for failure. As such, close attention to areas of data collection such as the lubricants, filters and separators, deposits, oil analysis tests, sump conditions, lubrication system and system parameters must be observed during the investigation. Similarly, during the assessment stage verifications of insufficient or excessive lubricant volume, wrong or contaminated lubricant, lubricant failure and abnormal wear debris generations must be examined thoroughly. It is believed that if industrial plants properly employ root cause analysis then there will be a marked decrease in failures.

Any failure within industrial plants leads to unplanned downtime which in turn incurs cost to the organization. These costs are significantly high and methods to avoid these are usually employed. However, if proper condition monitoring techniques such as oil analysis are not adequately applied in the appropriate frequencies then failures can occur without sufficient warning. If root cause analyses are also not conducted, then the failures become repetitive and are never solved. It has been found that with ammonia plants, some of the basic suites of tests are not adequate to identify impending failures. The deposits formed in most ammonia plants typically consist of primary amides, carboxylic acids and ammonium salts. Therefore, to identify the onset of a typical lubrication failure for an ammonia plant, the user should test for the presence of carboxylic acids and monitor the condition of the lubricant in service with the use of Viscosity, Acid Number, Membrane Patch Calorimetry, Remaining Useful Life Evaluation Routine, Rotating Pressure Vessel Oxidation and Fourier Transform Infrared tests. If the service of chemical filtration is available to the end user, then this should be employed to remove the carboxylic acids from the lubricant since these initiate the reaction with ammonia to produce varnish or sludge within the system. 

Root cause analysis is imperative to identify the reasons for lubrication failures and these should be performed before assigning blame to ammonia gas / liquid in a system.


Author Bio:-
Ms. Sanya Mathura MLE
Managing Director | Senior Consultant,
Strategic Reliability Solutions Ltd.

Brief self-introduction:

Sanya is the Founder of Strategic Reliability Solutions Ltd based in Trinidad and operates in the capacity of Managing Director and Senior Consultant. She works with global affiliates in the areas of Reliability and Asset Management to bring these specialty niches to her clients.

Sanya possesses a strong engineering background with a BSc in Electrical & Computer Engineering and MSc in Engineering Asset Management. After completion of her thesis “An investigation into the root causes of lubricant degradation in critical equipment in an Ammonia complex”, she was made aware of the plight that reliability faces within and outside of the Caribbean. As such, she decided to ensure that every attempt was made to make reliability the backbone upon which the industry operates by forming Strategic Reliability Solutions Ltd.

Sanya has worked in the lubrication industry for the past several years and has used her engineering background to assist various industries with lubrication related issues both locally in Trinidad and Tobago, regionally and internationally. She has solved lubrication problems and provided training in the Automotive, Industrial, Marine, Construction and Transportation sectors.


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