Oil analysis is a cost effective method for determining the condition of existing lubricants and hence, predicting remaining service life.
Programs can consist of either in-house or external testing which tests for four major indicators, base oil degradation, water content, presence of contaminants, and presence of iron particles. As an example, in food plants it is common to have water contamination of gearboxes as a result of daily high pressure washdowns. Even very small concentrations of water will lead to premature bearing and gear failure due to corrosion.
Full spectrographical analysis by approved laboratories can be used to verify findings and for further investigation of oil condition which in turn, can be used as part of root cause failure analysis.