How Clean Is Your New Oil?

New Oil vs Clean Oil

Who here believes that new oil is clean enough to be using right away? The majority of maintenance personnel assume that their oil supplier is providing a product that is suitable for immediate use in their hydraulic/lube systems, however; this is furthest from the truth.

Before the oil reaches your facility, it has been exposed to possible contamination at least three times. Whether it is from original contamination, environmental (air), or contact with containers and hoses – your oil is a sponge that absorbs any available dirt & moisture. Every time oils or lubricants are transferred they should be filtered and most oil manufactures have processes in place to make sure a relatively “clean” product hits the market but how clean are the barrels or bulk oil tanks?

It is important to ask if your supplier uses new or reconditioned containers, and if they require certain cleanliness from their suppliers. New barrels are exposed to metal particulate, either from grinding or welding, due to them being manufactured in a metal fabrication facility. With there being no current standard for container cleanliness, even plastic totes and buckets are exposed to collecting contamination through the manufacturing process. Have you ever seen how much dust is attracted to a piece of plastic with a static charge?

Oil stored in bulk tanks aren’t 100% sealed systems either. If hoses aren’t properly sealed they will collect road grime from travel or dust from the facility environment. The oil should be filtered when they enter and exit the tanks & tankers. Bulk tanks should have covers with adequate breathers to keep out contamination & moisture from the top. It is not uncommon to see some tanks with a simple “J” vent which at best keeps large birds out.

As a purchaser you have the right to know and specify your oil cleanliness requirements, but sadly ultra clean oil rarely arrives at the same ISO code as it left at the distribution center. As seen there are too many variables at play during transportation. Larger Hydraulic Services has been asked several times how can we (the distributor) ensure cleaner oil arriving at customer facilities, and simply put it is impossible from a container standpoint. Oil must be filtered before it is put to use and that is the only way to guarantee clean oil…. temporarily.

To learn more about maintaining clean oil, please give Larger Hydraulic Services a call. Your provider of systems plumbing and fine filtration systems.