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Tips for controlling turbomachinery contamination

Turbomachinery is the epitome of extremely productive equipment. However, it is also known for requiring high levels of lubricant, and running up high equipment costs, which is why contamination control is so vital.

The best contamination control strategy is one that is able to identify any potential contaminants and work out what their source is, as well as being able to establish methods to measure and control contaminants on a consistent basis. By being able to work out cleanliness targets and maximum levels of concentration, it will be much easier to find the right approach to removing contaminants.

Here are some tips for managing contamination:

Tips for contamination control

Often, contaminants affect the stability and foam tendency of turbomachinery, along with the separability of water. So, if you find more foam that usual, or you are having issues with demulsibility, it may well be a sign that your lubricant has become contaminated.

Varnish issues

If you notice the performance of your lubricant or varnish has declined, this could be a sign that they have become contaminated with solvents, other lubricants, assembly oils or cleaning agents, and will need to be decontaminated.

Don’t worry about oil additive removal

When using various contamination removal methods, it is not unusual to find that some oil additives are also removed. Most of the time, this is not something you need to be worried about because it is much more important that you are able to clean the oil than it is that all oil additives remain. However, in some cases, if it appears that additive depletion is extreme, or that it is causing a problem, you may want to conduct an oil analysis and take things from there.

False positives

It is important to bear in mind that false positives can be produced by oil sample contamination, even though the in-service lubricant is not actually contaminated, so it is important to control samples for this. In order to do so, you must re-sample and re-test oil to be sure of the result.

Synthetic lubes

Synthetic lubes, like those produced by Fuchs and Q8, are often better at resisting very high temperatures, which means that they may be a better choice for use in turbomachinery.

As you can see, there is a lot to think about when it comes to avoiding and getting rid of contamination in turbomachinery, but it is important that you implement these tips on a regular basis, if you are to save money and keep your equipment in top shape.

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