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Oil Cleanliness

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Introduction

Oil cleanliness play’s a huge role across a wide range of industries around the world every day. From the garbage trucks that collect your rubbish, to the power station that generates your electricity oil cleanliness is vital in ensuring the reliable operation of this equipment. Our team has compiled some information to provide some education around how oil is measured, why oil is measured and what can be done to mitigate and clean dirty oil to ensure down time and costly repairs are minimised wherever possible.

Power Generation

Mining

Marine

General Industry

New Oil is Typically Dirty Oil…

New oil can be one of the worst sources of particulate and water contamination.

25/22/19 is a common ISO code for new oil which is not suitable for hydraulic or lubrication systems. A good target for new oil cleanliness is 16/14/11.

Understanding ISO Codes

The ISO cleanliness code (per ISO4406-1999) is used to quantify particulate contamination levels per millilitre of fluid at 3 sizes 4m[c], 6m[c] and 14m[c]. The ISO code is expressed in 3 numbers (example: 19/17/14). Each number represents a contaminant level code for the correlating particle size. The code includes all particles of the specified size and larger. It is important to note that each time a code increases the quantity range of particles is doubling and inversely as a code decreases by one the contaminant level is cut in half.

ISO 4406:1999 Code Chart
Range
Code
Particles per Millilitre
More Than Up To/Including
24 80000 160000
23 40000 80000
22 20000 40000
21 10000 20000
20 5000 10000
19 2500 5000
18 1300 2500
17 640 1300
16 320 640
15 160 320
14 80 160
13 40 80
12 20 40
11 10 20
10 5 10
9 2.5 5
8 1.3 2.5
7 0.64 1.3
6 0.32 0.64
Particle Size Particles
per
Millilitre
ISO 4406 Code
Range
ISO
Code
4μm[c] 151773 80000~16000 24
4.6μm[c] 87210
6μm[c] 38363 20000~40000 22
10μm[c] 8229
14μm[c] 3339 2500~5000 19
21μm[c] 1048
38μm[c] 112
68μm[c] 2
Particle
Size
Particles
per
Millilitre
ISO 4406 Code
Range
ISO
Code
4μm[c] 69 40~80 13
4.6μm[c] 35
6μm[c] 7 5~10 10
10μm[c] 5
14μm[c] 0.4 0.32~0.64 6
21μm[c] 0.1
38μm[c] 0.0
68μm[c] 0.0

TARGET ISO CODES

When setting target ISO fluid cleanliness codes for hydraulic and lubrication systems it is important to keep in mind the objectives to be achieved. Maximizing equipment reliability and safety, minimizing repair and replacement costs, extending useful fluid life, satisfying warranty requirements, and minimizing production down-time are attainable goals. Once a target ISO cleanliness code is set following a progression of steps to achieve that target, monitor it, and maintain it will yield justifiable rewards for your efforts. Make an impact on reliability by controlling contamination.

Recommended* Target ISO Cleanliness Codes and media selection for systems us petroleum based fluids per ISO4406:1999 for particle sizes 4µ[c] / 6µ[c] / 14µ[c]

Set the Target.

The first step in identifying a target ISO code for a system is to identify the most sensitive component on an individual system, or the most sensitive component supplied by a central reservoir. If a central reservoir supplies several systems the overall cleanliness must be maintained, or the most sensitive component must be protected by filtration that cleans the fluid to the target before reaching that component.

Other Considerations.

Table 1 recommends conservative target ISO cleanliness codes based on several component manufacturers guidelines and extensive field studies for standard industrial operating conditions in systems using petroleum based fluids. If a non-petroleum based fluid is used (i.e. water glycol) the target ISO code should be set one value lower for each size (4μ[c] / 6μ[c] / 14μ[c]). If a combination of the following conditions exists in the system the target ISO code should also be set one value lower:

• Component is critical to safety or overall system reliability.
• Frequent cold start.
• Excessive shock or vibration.
• Other severe operation conditions.

Pumps Pressure
< 138 bar
< 2000 psi
Media
βPx[c] = 1000
(βpx = 200)
Pressure
138-207 bar
2000 – 3000
psi
Media
βx[c]=1000
(βx = 200)
Pressure
> 207 bar
> 3000 psi
Media
βx[c]=1000
(βx = 200)
Fixed Gear 20/18/15 22μ[c] (25μ) 19/17/15 12μ[c] (12μ)
Fixed Piston 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ)
Fixed Vane 20/18/15 22μ[c] (25μ) 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ)
Variable Piston 18/16/13 [c] (6μ) 17/15/13 [c] (6μ) 16/14/12 [c] (3μ)
Variable Vane 18/16/13 [c] (6μ) 17/15/12 [c] (3μ)
Valves
Cartridge 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ)
Check Valve 20/18/15 22μ[c] (25μ) 20/18/15 22μ[c] (25μ) 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ)
Directional
(solenoid)
20/18/15 22μ[c] (25μ) 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ)
Flow Control 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ)
Pressure Control
(modulating)
19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ)
Proportional
Cartridge Valve
17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ)
Proportional
Directional
17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ)
Proportional
Flow Control
17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 17/15/12 [c] (3μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ)
Proportional
Pressure Control
17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ)
Servo Valve 16/14/11 [c] (6μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ) 15/13/10 [c] (3μ)
Bearings
Ball Bearing 15/13/10 [c] (3μ)
Gearbox (industrial) 17/15/13 12μ[c] (12μ)
Journal Bearing
(high speed)
17/15/12 [c] (6μ)
Journal Bearing
(low speed)
17/15/12 [c] (6μ)
Roller Bearing 16/14/11 [c] (6μ)
Actuators
Cylinders 17/15/12 [c] (6μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ) 15/13/10 [c] (3μ)
Vane Motors 20/18/15 22μ[c] (25μ) 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ)
Axial Piston Motors 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ) 17/15/12 [c] (6μ)
Gear Motors 20/18/14 22μ[c] (25μ) 19/17/13 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ)
Radial Piston Motors 20/18/15 22μ[c] (25μ) 19/17/14 12μ[c] (12μ) 18/16/13 12μ[c] (12μ)
Test Stands, Hydrostatic
Test Stands 15/13/10 [c] (3μ) 15/13/10 [c] (3μ) 15/13/10 [c] (3μ)
Vane Motors 20/18/15 [c] (6μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ) 16/14/11 [c] (3μ)

‘Depending upon system volume and severity of operating conditions a combination of filters with varying degrees of filtration efficiency might be required (I.e. pressure, return, and off-line filters) to achieve and maintain the desired fluid cleanliness.

Example ISO Code
Operating Pressure 156 bar, 2200 psi
Most Sensitive Component Directional Solenoid 19/17/14 Recommended Baseline ISO Code
Fluid Type Water Glycol 18/16/13 Adjust Down One Class
Operating Conditions Remote Location, Repair
Difficult, High Ingression Rate
17/15/12 Adjust Down One Class,Combination of
Critical Nature, Severe Conditions

Dual Glass Verse Cellulose Media

Glass media has superior fluid compatibility versus cellulose with hydraulic fluids, synthetics, solvents, and high water based fluids. Glass media also has a significant filtration efficiency advantage over cellulose, and is classified as “absolute” where cellulose media efficiency is classified as “nominal”.

Elements of different media with the same “micron rating” can have substantially different filtration efficiency. Figure 1 provides a visual representation of the difference between absolute and nominal filter efficiency.

The illustrated glass element would typically deliver an ISO Fluid Cleanliness Code of 18/15/8 to 15/13/9 or better depending upon the system conditions and ingression rate. The cellulose element would typically achieve a code no better than 22/20/17.

Runaway contamination levels at 4μ[c] and 6μ[c] are very common when cellulose media is applied where a high population of fine particles exponentially generate more particles in a chain reaction of internally generated contaminate.

Inorganic glass fibers are much more uniform in diameter and are smaller than cellulose fibers. Organic cellulose fibers can be unpredictable in size and effective useful life. Smaller fiber size means more fibers and more void volume space to capture and retain contaminate.

Glass media has much better dirt holding capacity than cellulose. When upgrading to an absolute efficiency glass media element the system cleanliness must be stabilized. During this clean-up period the glass element halts the runaway contamination as the ISO cleanliness codes are brought into the target cleanliness range. As the glass element removes years of accumulated fine particles the element life might be temporarily short.

Once the system is clean the glass element can last up to 4-5 times longer than the cellulose element that was upgraded as shown in figure 2.

IMPROVE CLEANLINESS

Cleaner Fluid, Longer Component & Fluid Life, More Uptime!

When setting target ISO fluid cleanliness codes for hydraulic and lubrication systems it is important to keep in mind the objectives to be achieved. Maximizing equipment reliability and safety, minimizing repair and replacement costs, extending useful fluid life, satisfying warranty requirements, and minimizing production down-time are attainable goals. Once a target ISO cleanliness code is set following a progression of steps to achieve that target, monitor it, and maintain it will yield justifiable rewards for your efforts. Make an impact on reliability by controlling contamination.

Hydraulic Component
Develop a Fluid Cleanliness Target

Winnellie Hydraulics can help you develop a plan to achieve and maintain target fluid cleanliness. Arm yourself with the support, training, tools and practices to operate more efficiently, maximize uptime and save money.

Current ISO
Code
Target ISO
Code
Target ISO
Code
Target ISO
Code
Target ISO
Code
2 x Life 3 x Life 4 x Life 5 x Life
28/26/23 25/23/21 25/22/19 23/21/18 22/20/17
27/25/22 25/23/19 23/21/18 22/20/17 21/19/16
26/24/21 23/21/18 22/20/17 21/19/16 21/19/15
25/23/20 22/20/17 21/19/16 20/18/15 19/17/14
25/22/19 21/19/16 20/18/15 19/17/14 18/16/13
23/21/18 20/18/15 19/17/14 18/16/13 17/1512
22/20/17 19/17/14 18/16/13 17/15/12 16/14/11
21/19/16 18/16/13 17/15/12 16/14/11 15/13/10
20/18/15 17/15/12 16/14/11 15/13/10 14/12/9
19/17/14 16/14/11 15/13/10 14/12/9 14/12/8
18/16/13 15/13/10 14/12/9 13/11/8
17/15/12 14/12/9 13/11/8
16/14/11 13/11/8
15/13/10 13/11/8
14/12/9 13/11/8

Succeed with a Total Systems Cleanliness Approach

Developing a Total System Cleanliness approach to control contamination and care for fluids from arrival to disposal will ultimately result in more reliable plant operation and save money. Several steps to achieve Total Systems Cleanliness include: evaluate and survey all hydraulic and lubrication systems, establish an oil analysis program and schedule, insist on specific fluid cleanliness levels for all new fluids, establish a baseline and target fluid cleanliness for each system, filter all new fluids upon arrival and during transfer, seal all reservoirs and bulk tanks, install high quality particulate and desiccant breathers, enhance air and liquid filtration on existing systems wherever suitable, use portable or permanent off-line filtration to enhance existing filtration, improve bulk oil storage and handling during transfer, remove water and make a commitment to fluid cleanliness.

The visible cost of proper contamination control and total systems cleanliness is less than 3% of the total cost of contamination when not kept under control. Keep your head above the surface and avoid the resource draining costs associated with fluid contamination issues including:

  • Downtime and lost production
  • Component repair/replacement
  • Reduced useful fluid life
  • Wasted materials and supplies ($)
  • Root cause analysis meetings
  • Maintenance labour costs
  • Unreliable machine performance
  • Wasted time and energy ($)
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