Understanding Oil Degradation and Preventing Breakdowns

mres-oil-management.jpgWhat do dozers, dump trucks, cranes, tractors, coach busses, and cars have in common?  They are all reliant on lubrication to perform their functions.  Amongst auto manufacturers, automatic lubrication has become the industry standard, simply because they've proven to increase durability, longevity, and they save money with less part failure.  Do the same standards apply to the aforementioned heavy machinery?  Yes they do, and they're essential in limiting breakdowns.  

The quickest way to find yourself with a breakdown is the result of oil degradation.  When the oil no longer greases it's points, the machine can no longer function, and something is bound to give.  The three most common types of oil degradation are: thermal failure, compressive heating; and, by far the most common is good old fashioned oxidation.  From a chemistry standpoint, each of these three processes result in the base oil molecules fundamentally changing over time to become ineffective for the task.  

Oil oxidation is no different than any other type of oxidation, such as rusting, in that it is the result of the molecule interacting with oxygen.  When the oxygen is added to oil, it produces a new chemical species that has zero effect in the lubrication process. That's probably more chemistry than you needed to know.  At the end of the day, all you need to know is that you're oil base needs to retain a certain level of health in order to properly function, and that requires some simple knowledge of chemistry to recognize the signs of oil degradation when you perform your regular tests.

Keeping an eye on your oil levels is a serious task that can be both time consuming and costly over time.  But, nothing will relinquish more time and money than a breakdown, so there is no excuse not to constantly monitor your machinery.  Fortunately, technology has reached a point where all oil management is handled automatically.  Products, like Oilmaster, can automatically check and replenish oil on combustion engines.  It will monitor the oil level when the ignition is on and will add oil as necessary, by pumping a small quantity of oil from the integrated reservoir to the engine sump.

Oilmaster then ensures that the engine will run at the perfect oil level at all times. Because this level is often substantially lower than the maximum level mark, businesses profit thanks to the savings it generates by ensuring significantly lower oil consumption.  Oil degradation will still happen but at a less frequent interval and breakdowns are prevented as a result.

Heavy machinery is the bread and butter for so many companies, and preventing breakdowns can be the life blood of said companies.  In addition to preventing oil degradation, advanced technology in the greasing process can also be pertinent in preventing breakdowns.  Check out some of the automated lubrication products available today, and you'll see why the market is booming right now.   

To read more about the chemistry behind oil degradation, click here.  To learn more about getting your fleet fitted with automated products that assist in preventing breakdowns, contact one of our specialists today.

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