Oil Analysis / Lubricant Analysis

Table of Contents

Oil analysis, also known as lubricant analysis, is a process that helps you understand the condition of your oil and lubricants. By performing regular oil analysis tests, you can identify problems early on and prevent them from causing serious damage to your assets. Oil contamination is one of the biggest threats to industrial equipment, and regular testing can help you identify and address this issue before it causes any damage.

The 2 Types of Oil Analysis

There are two main types of oil analysis: in-line oil analysis and oil analysis at a lab. In-line lubricant analysis is done with sensors that are placed directly in the lubrication system. They constantly monitor the condition of the oil. This type of lubricant analysis is very effective at identifying problems early on, but it can be expensive to implement. Oil analysis at a lab is less expensive, but it requires you to take samples of your oil and send them to a lab for analysis. While it may be a bit more work, sending your oil samples to a lab for analysis is the best way to get comprehensive results. No matter which type of lubricant analysis you choose, the important thing is that you perform it regularly. By performing regular lubricant analysis, you can extend the life of your equipment and prevent costly repairs.

How does Oil Analysis Work?

Oil analysis labs offer a variety of different tests to help technicians determine the best course for their company’s needs. Some companies choose individualized, asset-specific options while others may have all assets monitored equally with one package deal. This decision largely depends on how vital each type of machine is in comparison with other potential problems that could arise during operation.

What are the Different Types of Lubricant Analysis Tests?

There are many different kinds of lubricant analysis tests, each with its own purpose. This is a short list of the most common tests divided by the main thing they test for.

Condition of Lubricant


  • ICP Spectrometry
  • Percent Water by KF (Karl Fischer)
  • ISO Particle Count
  • OPC (Optical Particle Classification) Particle Count
  • Percent Soot
  • Percent Fuel Dilution
  • Percent Glycol

Component Wear

  • ICP Spectrometry
  • Total Magnetic Iron
  • Sediment with Photo
  • Analytical Ferrography
  • XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) Spectrometry
  • Filter Debris Analysis
  • SEM (Scanning Electron Microscopy) Analysis

What are the Benefits of Testing Your Lubricants?

If you’re like most business owners, you’re always looking for ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency. One way to do this is by performing lubricant analysis on your equipment. Lubricant analysis can help you identify problems early, so you can fix them before they cause major damage. It can also help you optimize your equipment’s performance and extend its life. Some of the other benefits of oil analysis include:

  • Helping you reduce lubricant contamination and its effect on your assets.
  • Decreasing unplanned downtime by catching problems early.
  • Saving money by avoiding unplanned downtime and increasing production.
  • Reducing maintenance costs thanks to better lubrication management and component life.
  • Improving asset reliability.
  • Reducing component wear and extending the useful life of assets.
  • Giving direction to your preventive maintenance tasks.
  • Providing visibility into your asset health.

So if you’re not already using oil analysis, now is the time to start! All you have to do is create the systems and processes to maintain a regular oil analysis program. Collect samples, test your lubricant, interpret the results, identify corrective actions, and do the work to improve your lubrication management.

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