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How to Develop an Oil Analysis Strategy

Implementing a monthly oil analysis program at your plant can boost the efficiency and overall performance of your equipment while reducing the chance of an unexpected failure and costly downtime.

We recently sat down to talk about the importance of routine oil analysis. In this month’s Reliability Interview, Brian Dzoh, Reliability Expert at Proconex, discussed how to get a successful oil analysis program in motion.

Why Choose to Keep Routine Oil Analysis In-house?

The first step for developing an oil analysis strategy is to think about what kind of program is right for your needs. An in-house program certainly has its benefits. By hiring a qualified PdM technician to join your team, you have an open communication line and near-instant accessibility to analyzing test results and setting your next plan of action.

Make sure you hire an expert with a seasoned background in predictive maintenance who’s familiar with your plant’s type of machinery to do the testing.

With an in-house program, you’ll also need to invest in the correct equipment in order to monitor lubricant and machine condition. Here are some suggestions:

  • Particle analyzers
  • Viscosity analyzers
  • Liquid contamination analyzers
  • Chemistry analyzers
Why Opt to Partner with a Contractor or Laboratory?

If you choose to partner with a contractor or a lab, you won’t need to purchase the same equipment as you might need to by developing an in-house program, but you’ll be tasked with finding an experienced service provider that has access to the know-how, technology, and equipment required for an effective, ongoing oil analysis program.

With this option, you’ll need to provide the contractor or lab with test samples using syringes and tubing to route the sample into a test bottle to be delivered to the test site.

How Do You Identify the Equipment to Monitor in Your Plant?

You want to monitor the machinery that’s most critical to your day-to-day processes. This equipment is often more expensive to repair and can really hold your operations up in the case of a failure, so getting it on an oil analysis plan is where you’ll reap the most benefit.

Once you retrieve all the data of your chosen equipment, you’ll need to configure how often samples will be pulled, which can vary by equipment size, use, and application.

How Do You Conduct an Oil Analysis?

Once you receive your oil analysis report, either from your in-house technician or from the contracted testing team, you’ll be able to see the condition of your most important machinery.

With the right testing equipment, standard oil analyses will yield rich information that’ll enable you to identify early signs of wear and issues that should be taken care of sooner rather than later. Get repairs scheduled based on your analysis, and repeat at least once per month.


With the ability to decrease overall maintenance costs and protect your most important equipment, routine oil analysis is an essential facet of any PdM program in an industrial setting. We hope these tips help you get an oil analysis plan rolling for your plant.

View more Reliability Interview topics.