Rafe sits down with Dr Guillermo Miro – Application Engineer at Atten2 to discuss all things regarding online/inline oil sampling and analysis. He explains that the current suite of deployable sensors technologies cannot replace the testing offered in standard laboratories, but can offer some complementary data that enhances the overall view of equipment condition.
Rafe Britton: How are the OEMs responding to these new data streams? The reason I ask that is, you know, I come from the gas engine world where oil analysis is king for warranty claims. If you haven’t done your oil analysis, and if you weren’t obeying the OEM limits, then your warranty is junk.
With this new paradigm where we have data sets that aren’t expressed in the old ASTM or DIN formats – how are OEMs using this new data set?
Guillermo Miro: Okay, this is a good question. The OEMs are thinking at the moment – a lot of them are funding the technology. Because the technology is in its infancy. They are finding all the ways to extract a value from the implementation of these technologies and understand them.
For example, in the wind sector, they are in the wind turbine gearbox sector they are advancing these fields. They have online sensors to monitor advanced wear processes with the purpose of having an early warning of a severe wear process. But the typical PF curve, or time to failure in this application is six months, a year, several years, depending on the robustness of the gearbox. So I would say you are switching from a semi unplanned outage to a planned outage.
You can do so much [more, to improve the oil condition]. You can improve the lube oil flow to the gearbox, or you can increase the filtration to maintain good oil condition; but they are not [currently] working on these digital approaches because the sensors that are available for them are just monitoring very late wear events. But some of the other OEMs and other sectors are trying to use the sensors to, for example, increase the equivalent operating hours. With unplanned outages you mentioned gas engines, but for example in gas turbines every unplanned outage is automatically getting you some hours of operation, but they currently just give a number like 8,000 hours, 10,000 hours.
Why 10,000 hours? It is base on their tests in the past. But from the experience of online sensors we know that each of these are different. In the end, you can have more accurate operating hours if your events are not so severe. And there are the other OEMs that are using sensors to cut some failures that they found in the design or in the commissioning part of some equipment. So they are just using sensors to help them understand better what is happening on their equipment.