As companies turn to finer filtration to extend the life of their most critical rotating equipment more debris is captured in filters and less remains in the oil. Wear debris analysis through oil analysis is no longer enough to predict impending failure. The next generation of wear debris analysis requires Filter Debris Analysis (FDA) to uncover the wealth of information buried in your filter and gain a comprehensive assessment of machine wear.
Advanced warning of abnormal wear in critical operational assets provides decision makers valuable insight on the health of their rotating equipment. Armed with this information, the uncertainty behind maintenance decisions is eliminated enabling the proper scheduling of maintenance actions, ultimately, saving money by avoiding operational upsets and minimizing maintenance costs.
Filter Debris Analysis
Ever wonder what gets trapped in your filter? Our proprietary technology for extracting and analyzing filter debris is unique to TestOil.
In the late 1990’s, the U.S. Navy was experiencing one in-flight shutdown per month on its Prowler aircraft. These aircraft are critical for aircraft carrier deployment in providing advanced electronic countermeasure capabilities. The Navy identified an urgent need for early detection of the failures in the J52-P-408 turbojet engines. The root cause of the failures was traced to #4½ roller bearing failure. These failures were not detected by traditional monitoring techniques. GasTOPS with its Filter Debris Analysis (FDA) instrument was tasked with finding a solution for early detection of these engine failures. GasTOPS is a company with 25 years of experience in supplying innovative fluid sensing and analysis solutions with specialized engineering & technical services for advanced machinery monitoring and maintenance systems.
GasTOPS worked closely with the US Navy and scientists from the Military’s Joint Oil Analysis Program to develop and qualify their automated, field-deployable filter debris analysis (FDA) technique to identify early indication of the #4½ bearing failure. In the first six months, FDA using the GasTOPS FilterCHECK 300 instrument successfully diagnosed six #4½ bearing failures (verified by engine tear down). The US Navy’s J-52 program has achieved 95% success rate for hits (with no misses or escapes) on oil-wetted components since employing GasTOPS’ FDA. Automated FDA technology has been credited with keeping this invaluable aircraft operational and functional during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. FDA meets the SAE standard for a condition monitoring technique.
The GasTOPS / TestOil team has transferred this technology, proven successful in a military application, to industry. In the same way FDA predicts engine failure in military jets, the technology is utilized by maintenance managers to predict component wear in critical rotating equipment, thus avoiding operational downtime and reducing maintenance costs.
The FDA instrument is a self-contained unit which employs an automated method for filter washing to extract all inorganic debris from the filter with high repeatability and reproducibility. The modular design can accommodate irregular filters such as large sized filters and bag or sock filters. A used filter is placed in the system wash chamber and all debris is removed from the filter using a combination of fluid and compressed air. In addition, attachments are connected to the filter in order to seal them and perform a true “back-flush” with the solvent and compressed air. The attachments are also capable of performing a more repeatable wash of the filter, and achieve a better representation of debris caught within the media for analysis. The wash fluid carrying the filter debris is collected and then analyzed in the lab.
Once testing is complete the data is assembled in a comprehensive test report. Analysts review the data and conclude an appropriate determination of the machine’s condition. In addition, the report displays images of the filter and patches, microscopic views of the patches, and pie charts displaying elemental data.
In traditional oil analysis, the only particles available for analysis are those circulating in the oil (smaller than the filter size) or immediately released in the oil prior to filtering. Given the fine filtration used in rotating equipment today to produce longer life cycles, 95% of the wear debris that could provide useful insight into machinery condition is caught in the filter and never ends up in an oil sample. Typically, all the debris is discarded with the filter. Increasingly, fine filtration is making conventional monitoring techniques less effective at providing reliable indication of machinery component wear. FDA captures this lost information and identifies the specific components that are wearing, providing improved diagnostic and prognostic information about impending failures.