When setting up and implementing the proactive oil analysis program at Deeter Foundry, I realized the importance of ensuring the procurement and maintenance of clean oil. Obtaining clean oil from a distributor, however, proved to be more difficult than I expected.
I invited my oil distributor to talk about oil cleanliness, and he was happy to schedule an appointment. During our meeting I requested the ISO cleanliness codes for oil to be delivered to the plant. I also requested to review their bulk-tote cleaning procedures. The only cleaning procedure our distributor reported was a manual external wipe-down with a rag.
I decided to inspect the next tote our plant emptied. When it had been emptied enough to allow for the inspection, I found I was unable to empty it using the drain valve. This was very puzzling. Upon further inspection, I discovered the culprit.
Deeter Foundry is a gray iron foundry that uses sand for molds. Totes travel throughout the plant during the year, and over the course of five years, two inches of sand sediment had accumulated.
“Over the course of five years, two inches of sand sediment had accumulated.”
As there was no internal cleaning procedure in place, I realized that we were introducing contaminated oil into our hydraulic systems.
Since that discovery, we developed procedures for using totes that ensure appropriately clean oil is introduced to the machines. Totes are equipped with quick fittings with caps, limiting the personnel who can use them. If oil does not meet the established cleanliness levels, the distributor is back-charged $1.00 per gallon for the oil needing to be filtered. A 2-micron auxiliary filter unit is installed on the tote containing oil that does not meet specified cleanliness levels. It is filtered for two days and resampled to ensure the oil meets target cleanliness levels. The totes are also vented with desiccant breathers, and a filter pump is used to extract oil from the tote. The tote is sampled to obtain a baseline each time it is filled.
I was amazed at how dirty the totes were when I started monitoring the condition of the oil. I recommend that everyone monitor totes for contamination ingression. It helped us, and it can help you too!
Submitted by Ryan M. Smith, Deeter Foundry