Oil Analysis: An essential part of engine monitoring programs

An essential part of engine monitoring programs By Joe Escobar Routine oil analysis has become quite the standard in our industry. Many of the engine manufacturers recommend regular sampling as part of a preventive maintenance program. The...


What to do with all of this data
After the debris is identified, the lab enters the data into a database. It is then compared to previous analysis results. It may also be compared to similar engine models on other aircraft. This is where the experience and knowledge of the laboratory personnel are important. Different engines have different material makeup, and presence of a certain metal in one type engine may be a minor indication whereas in another engine, it may be cause for concern. It is important for an oil analysis laboratory to have the knowledge base and the close working relationship with the engine manufacturer in order to establish baseline figures and analyze unusual analysis results.

Many companies have established their own methods of tracking the results they get back from the oil analysis lab. Jet-Care offers an electronic tracking software called Engine Condition Health Online (ECHO) in order to help customers track oil analysis results. In ECHO, Jet-Care sends the software out to the customers, who install it on their computers. Then, whenever an analysis is performed, the results are e-mailed to the customer. This allows for a very fast exchange of information from the lab to the operation. Engines can be tracked and any unusual trends can be identified.

It's not just a one-time shot
Oil analysis determines the amount and type of particles in the oil. Something that needs to be remembered is that any type of oil analysis is not very valuable on a one-time basis. Oil analysis relies on being able to determine increases in any particular particle count or an introduction of new particles in order to determine the health of the engine. In order to reap the benefits of oil analysis, there needs to be an established sampling or inspection interval.

Anson Mount, chief of maintenance for Klein Tools corporate aviation department, uses oil analysis as a predictive tool for all their aircraft. "Oil analysis can tell you a lot about what is going on with the engine," he shared. "But it's something that must be done on a regular basis. A one-time analysis is not going to tell you anything. We have our oil sampled on a regular 25-hour interval."

Oil analysis has become an important part of engine preventive maintenance programs and has been embraced by engine and oil manufacturers alike. With its ability to detect wear and contamination, it is a valuable part of any engine monitoring program.

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