"I work in a mine, and our big problem here is controlling oil contamination. Can you offer some advice on how to control it?"

Controlling oil contamination in a mine can be made easier by following a few simple steps. The environment in a mine typically will be either hot or cold but mostly very dusty. Within all this dust are abrasive particles that can attack your equipment. Therefore, the two most important steps that should be taken in controlling oil contamination are filtration and sealing your equipment.

Filtering the oil is key in keeping not only the oil healthy but also the equipment. Adding filtration systems such as kidney-loop systems or even filtration carts can be a good way to control contamination, but before doing this you need to look at sealing the equipment. This involves using the proper breathers, such as desiccant breathers instead of open vents or original equipment manufacturer breathers. Desiccant breathers can filter dust particles down to as much as 3 microns (if not more) in comparison to open vents where the equipment is allowed to breathe in all the particles in the environment.  

A good desiccant breather system is one that achieves the target level for cleanliness and dryness, has the capacity to enable a sufficient service interval between change-outs, and is easily visible for routine inspection during preventive maintenance.

The criticality of the machinery the breather is attached to is important to consider as well. If the machine operates on close tolerances with little room for particle ingression, you may need to get a high-quality breather and change it more regularly.

In addition to using the proper breathers, you should also think about installing quick-connects for both the fill port and drain port. Adding quick-connects to the equipment will keep the system sealed when you need to top-up a machine or perform an oil change as well as enable you to use filtration carts on these pieces of equipment.

Another advantage of installing quick-connects on equipment that use the same oil is that you will be able to use one filtration cart on numerous pieces of equipment, as opposed to purchasing single filtration units for each piece of equipment.

Remember, if your goal is to control contamination, filtration and sealing the equipment from the outside environment are the two most important steps to help you accomplish this.