As a commercial oil analysis laboratory, Pittsburgh-based UEC dates back 35 years when its parent company U.S. Steel first began analyzing lubricating oils. For nearly as long, engineers from all industries have learned to rely on the highly illustrated and almost legendary Lubrication Engineers Manual, originally published by U.S. Steel. This text is possibly the most widely used and referenced book ever published on lubrication. Recently the Manual was revised and is currently sold by the Association of Iron and Steel Engineers.

With this rich history it is no wonder that UEC has targeted its oil analysis services towards heavy industry. Actually, UEC operates two laboratories offering a broad range of customer services. The Fuels and Lubricant Specification Testing Lab is one of the country's best-equipped ASTM testing facilities. Typical services encompass a broad spectrum of performance tests for evaluating basic physical and chemical properties of fuels, oils, and greases.

UEC also has a robust Condition Monitoring Services (CMS) lab, set up several years ago to provide periodic oil analysis for plant maintenance operations. This lab targets used oil analysis and provides a host of analytical services to assist maintenance professionals in making decisions "on condition" relating to machine and oil health. The CMS lab is set up to work in partnership with their client's maintenance operations by tapping into its years of practical experience in heavy equipment maintenance and lubrication.

Example of Graph Used on UEC's
Oil Analysis Report.

 

Test Packages. The CMS lab offers an assortment of test packages molded to the machine applications, operating environment, and client goals. Examples of standard test packages include lubricants and fluids from crankcases, turbines, gearboxes, hydraulic systems, and compressors. Also available are test bundles for metal working fluids and grease. A major emphasis of the laboratory is its capabilities in wear particle identification using ferrous density analysis, filtergrams, and debris analysis from lube system filters.

Machine HMO's. The newest service offered by UEC is not unlike the HMO's (Health Maintenance Organizations) common in the medical industry. The service involves a set premium instead of fees based on number of tests which gives the client unlimited sample submission and analysis. If any particular sample is found to be "unhealthy", the extra analytical tests needed to more fully evaluate the problem are included. The cost is fixed regardless of the extent of the exception and confirmation testing that might be needed.

Total Fluid Management Support. In many major industrial plants there is a need for complete oil analysis program turnkeys, cradle-to-grave. The frequent request by clients for turnkey assistance led to UEC's Total Fluid Management Support services. This is a full-service program involving lubricant selection, testing of new oil deliveries, condition monitoring of in-service fluids, and qualifying reconditioned lubrications. This unique program taps into both of UEC's laboratories and vast capabilities for analysis, support, and training.

Customer Service and Consulting. UEC is proud of its close ties with technical professional and standards organizations including two chairman positions with ASTM committees. And, the laboratory manager has the unusual distinction of being a Certified Lubrication Specialist with the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE). Client consulting services include oil analysis program commissioning, machine failure investigations, lubricant compatibility studies, and oil sampling methods.

Quality and Certification. Before the quality and conditions of a lubricating oil can be accurately assessed the quality of the testing laboratory needs to be assured. At UEC, the laboratory quality assurance manager monitors a special statistically controlled program to qualify instruments and procedures routinely. These include checking reference standards and instrument calibrations. UEC participates in a national program of laboratory standardization and is a member of the ASTM Inter-laboratory Cross-check Program. This program correlates data from over one hundred laboratories in a monthly testing program.

For more information on UEC laboratory and consulting services contact Garry Basilone at 412-825-2930.