9. Low-cost and labor-saving lubricating oil analyzerfor driving equipments

Optical emission spectrometers are currently used to analyze the concentration of iron powder mixed in with oil, as a measure to detect signs of abnormal wear and seizure occurring inside driving equipments such as engines and to prevent damage to equipment on commercial lines. However, current analyzers are large and expensive, and require skill acquisition to use them and for data analysis, so that places where such devices can be installed are limited to base factories and other large facilities. For that reason, in practice, collected oil samples need to be transported to a dedicated place for analysis, resulting in the problem of a longer time being required to obtain the analysis results.

Therefore, an oil analyzer that is easy to use and that can diagnose equipment conditions at vehicle maintenance sites has been developed (Fig. 1, Fig. 2).
This analyzer is equipped with a sensor capable of electrically analyzing the iron powder concentration in oil by flowing the oil through an internal coil. The accuracy of abnormality determination with this sensor is equal to or better than that of the conventional method using optical emission spectrometry. The structure of the analyzer has been designed to allow easy installation in the vicinity of vehicles, while the oil passage inside the analyzer has been shortened to downsize and shorten the analysis time, taking usage at inspection and repair sites into consideration.

With this analyzer, analysis of the iron powder concentration in oil can be completed in about 20 minutes in the vicinity of the vehicle without the need to place a sample of the oil in a container, leading to a significant reduction of analysis time compared to the conventional method (Fig. 3). In addition, the analyzer price is less than one-fifth of a conventional optical emission spectrometer. Moreover, as this sensor can be mounted on equipment for vehicles, it is expected to be used for monitoring the iron powder concentration in oil in real time in future.