Emerson Process Management has patented a new approach to the analysis of metal particles removed from production machines. Their new process can determine the root cause and severity of mechanical wear problems detected through routine oil analysis.
Newly issued US Patent No. 6,418,799, “Sampling Apparatus”, describes methods developed by Emerson to rapidly separate ferrous particles from non-ferrous and large particles from smaller ones for microscopic analysis – and to do so much more quickly than previous methods. A process that once took 15 minutes per sample can now be completed in less than one minute. The characteristics of individual particles can then be evaluated.
Emerson has published a free “Wear Particle Identification Guide” based on the technology. According to the guide, corrosion, abrasion, adhesion, and fatigue cause 85 percent of the abnormal wear debris found in industrial machinery, and each condition produces unique particles. Abrasive wear particles look like ribbons because they are caused by a lathe-like cutting action. Adhesive particles look like they’ve been melted and smeared with black oxide. The results of fatigue look like chunks of platelets that have dislodged from divots that are left behind, and corrosive particles look like rust and other metal oxides.
Using this information, users can determine relevant courses of action, such as “check for looseness” or “check mechanical vibration”, rather than simply “change oil”.
Read the full story on the Emerson web site.