Understanding the advancements in online oil condition monitoring (OCM) is critical in establishing the value it can bring; Keep reading to hear about how we got here!

Online oil condition monitoring has advanced a lot in recent years. Early systems relied on dielectric sensors and chip detectors to provide oil health and wear debris monitoring capabilities. While viscometers, water-in-oil detection, optical particle counters, inductive coil wear debris monitoring, and other technologies were later introduced and were able to provide some additional insights into general oil quality, they were still lacking in a number of ways. These sensors still were missing critical measurements and did not have the sensitivity required to provide any meaningful data for reliability programs.

While these sensors helped establish that online oil condition monitoring sensors are useful and can add value to a business’ operations, they did not have the same practicality or value that current sensor models are able to deliver. Sensor technology has increased a substantial amount in recent years. Sensors have been able to greatly improve sensitivity, range of detection, and correlation with the oil lab samples that are currently relied on upon for informed decision-making and asset and equipment management. Modern inductive coil sensors are now twice as sensitive as the previous generation’s sensors, allowing for a wear debris detection that is roughly twice as small for the same bore diameter.

Recent models of sensors have also introduced electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) technology which are capable of correlating or directly measuring multiple critical aspects of the oil, such as overall health, oxidation, total base number (TBN), total acid number (TAN), contaminants such as water or soot, and more. Poseidon Systems’ online debris monitoring sensors are capable of detecting particles with an estimated spherical diameter of 40 micron ferrous and 150 micron non-ferrous and larger, which is the largest of any available wear debris sensor available.

While oil sensors were once only capable of substantiating and mimicking lab sample testing, the tables have turned and now oil sensors should be used to identify issues which can be confirmed by offline oil sampling. An example of this utility can be seem in the comparison chart below. The sharp contrast between older dielectric sensors which were limited in capability and the newer sensors that utilize impedance spectroscopy and are able to detect a multitude of important features showcases how far online OCM has come and how new sensors can add value to operations.

Further, these sensors are now capable of being and often are bundled with other technologies such as vibration, smart Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices, data science, and more as single offerings. This additionally adds value as compared to previous generations; it enables instant understanding of oil condition in real-time as it comes from the sensor.

To read more about how online oil condition monitoring is a best practice for reliability programs, check out our article on the subject here!