EPT Lubricant Purity Solutions for Critical Production Equipment

Feb lead

EPT supplies first-class contamination control and condition monitoring technologies to maintain the quality of oil for critical applications. The firm has been supplying these technologies to the manufacturing and power generation industries since 1995.

Optimisation of lubricant maintenance

The maintenance of lubricants used in critical production equipment is often far below the necessary standards to achieve trouble-free operation, and as a result, production losses frequently occur.

The cost resulting from a single turbine or compressor failure can be more than that of correct lubricant maintenance over the entire life of the equipment.

As such, significant room for optimisation exists; EPT’s programme is designed to achieve exactly this.

The firm goes beyond routine lubricant analysis and maintenance and target the contamination responsible for a number of mechanical issues and failures, including turbine lubricant varnish, compressor seal failures, and servo-valve sticking.

This contamination is removed with a range of advanced lubricant filtration technologies developed by EPT that have been proven to save hundreds of millions of dollars at some of the largest turbine and compressor fleets in the world.

Specialised lubricant testing for easy maintenance

Maintenance budgets are frequently applied on a linear basis, with the same budget allocation to all equipment.

However, equipment failure is not linear, so additional maintenance spending targeting ‘at risk’ units will have a significant return on investment (RoI).

Lubricants are the life blood of production equipment, and significant insight can be gained through routine and ‘as-needed’ specialised lubricant testing.

Filter upgrades and standalone filtration systems for lubricant preservation

Viscosity, water, and ISO particle codes are the cornerstones of routine lubricant analysis.

EPT’s programme stands out as it takes all existing lubricant analysis data into account, analyses it, and then generates a report that prioritises what needs to be completed first and where it needs to be done.

From simple filter upgrades or standalone filtration systems, to inexpensive water removal solutions, EPT’s lubricant analysis services and filtration products will quickly eliminate weak points in lubricant maintenance programmes.

Lubricant testing and chemistry to access for risk factors

As a second stage, EPT’s lab will supplement lubricant testing to measure specific contamination, including varnish, sludge, and fine particulates that are frequently linked with an elevated risk of equipment failure.

Lubricant chemistry will also be reviewed to assess if other risk factors are present. For this, lubricants will be tested, cleaned, and re-tested so that the company’s team of application engineers can specifically discuss individual applications and provide recommendations with a very high degree of confidence and precision.

Lubricant purification technologies to remove particulates and water

Lubricant contamination consists of particulates, water, and dissolved breakdown products.

Conventional filtration products generally only remove particulates and water to varying degrees of effectiveness. Dissolved breakdown products on the other hand are typically not measured and not removed, allowing the lubricant reservoir to accumulate this contamination over time.

EPT’s programme will measure virtually all contamination, assess what form the contamination is in, and what filtration products are ideally suited to remove the contamination. The firm offers a number of best-in-class filtration products that remove significantly more contamination than standard products.

Testing to examine filter efficiency

Most filters are rated at 98%-99.5% efficiency as tested under ideal operating conditions with consistent temperatures, flows, and pressures.

The end-result is filter efficiencies of less than 90%, which explains why ISO codes or NAS values can report elevated particulate levels above the micron rating of the filter being used.

EPT’s line of filter element upgrades is tested under real-life operating conditions where these factors are being changed constantly.

To achieve a 99.5% efficiency rating under these conditions has required a completely re-engineered filter to be designed that uses specialised materials and manufacturing processes.

These filters are available in all sizes to fit in existing filter vessels and are a logical first step in the lubricant maintenance optimisation process.

Water removal technology to lower maintenance costs

In many lubricant applications, atmosphere is typically the primary mode of ingression. Applying any water removal technology in this situation without addressing the ingression point is simply dehydrating the lubricant so that it can absorb more water from the atmosphere.

This situation is extremely common, and results in expensive and energy intensive lubricant maintenance.

EPT’s total moisture removal product (TMR™) removes water in all forms (dissolved, emulsified, and free) but more importantly eliminates the ingression pathway so that permanent, energy-efficient, and cost-effective water removal is achieved.

Technology to remove dissolved break-down products

Varnish and solid deposits only occur once a lubricant has become saturated with dissolved breakdown products. This contamination is always dissolved in the lubricant until the point of saturation occurs when solid particles form, which are attracted to metal surfaces.

EPT’s ion charge bonding (ICB™) technology uses chemically engineered ion exchange resins that produce specific chemical reactions to remove dissolved breakdown products.

ICB offers users high-performance with the assurance of precise chemistry that will not adversely impact the lubricant. The advanced technical and performance properties of ICB have been made possible from 30 years of operating experience and continuous research and product development in this field.

ICB elements are available in standard sizes or as part of an engineered filtration system called SVR. SVR filtration systems are widely used in the industry as a one stop solution to remove lubricant varnish and maintain lubricant systems so that lubricant varnish is not possible.

Sub-micron particulate contamination removal

In some specialised applications, particulates less than 1µ are produced from the high-temperature breakdown of the oil.

Particulates less than 1µ are not reported in conventional lubricant analysis or removed by mechanical filter elements. These particulates accumulate and are responsible for fluid darkening and high patch weight.

EPT’s electrostatic contamination removal (ECR™) eliminates fine particulate by mass rather that physical size, so particles as small as 0.001µ can theoretically be removed.

In specialised applications, such as electro hydraulic control (EHC) systems, ECR can be especially effective at restoring fluid colour and reducing patch weight.

Lubricant quality monitoring programme

EPT’s lubricant quality monitoring programme will demonstrate success achieved at each location. After results are documented, continued monitoring is recommended.

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Varnish removal technologies can be classified into two main categories: 1) Particulate removal including electrostatics, balanced charge agglomeration and depth media filters, and 2) Dissolved breakdown product removal including ion exchange and ion charge bonding technologies.

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Varnish removal technologies can be classified into two main categories: 1) Particulate removal including electrostatics, balanced charge agglomeration and depth media filters, and 2) Dissolved breakdown product removal including ion exchange and ion charge bonding technologies.

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Peter Dufresne (Vice President and Director) www.cleanoil.com