Over the past two decades we have seen lubrication contamination control technology evolve with more effective options to keeping your lube oil cleanliness at OEM specification. From the early “Bowser” systems we have evolved to centrifuges, dehydrators, air stripping, coalescing filtration, microglass filter technology and varnish mitigation. All valid options for keeping the circulating lubricants clean. With the technologies evolution maintenance and reliability teams have moved away from executing the basic “cleaning” of their lube oil reservoirs on regular intervals. Bypassing this step during regular scheduled inspections and maintenance. This can be a costly mistake.
The lube oil reservoir still functions in the way it was designed. Dissipating heat and dropping water and particulate contamination to the bottom of the reservoir. (See Figure 1 below) Without regular cleaning of the reservoir itself the contamination can build up and find its way to the system pumps. If you are utilizing a filtration or water removal unit you can maintain cleanliness to the next scheduled outage. The risks come when reservoir cleanings are bypassed leaving a potential of contamination build up in the reservoir making it past the filtration and to critical components. At a minimum the increased cost of filtration or running side stream oil purification units cannot be overlooked. Keep your system up and running by performing regular reservoir cleaning (See Figure 2) and oil filtration of your system. This will help prevent the long-term build-up of contamination and unwanted downtime due to lubricant based failures. (See Figure 3)
Table 1: Recommended Frequency of Reservoir Cleaning