Effective Oil Analysis, Guaranteed Machinery Uptime
The agricultural industry – grain producers in particular – should adopt oil analysis as one of the main techniques they employ in condition monitoring of their mobile machinery. Given the impact of rising input costs on their revenue – something that is entirely out of their control – the ‘low hanging fruit’ grain producers can utilise is increasing equipment uptime through improving predictive maintenance.
By Eric Peters
There is no more resounding clarion call for commercial grain farmers in Africa to ensure that their machinery is working optimally at all times than in present economic conditions. The global oil price is rising, triggered by Russia’s “Attack on Ukraine”, based on the recent trend of events. Unfortunately, fertiliser (AN/LAN (28), Ureum (46), and Kaliumchloried) is on a similar price trajectory. High oil prices will result in an increase in input costs like fertiliser and herbicides and insecticides, due to rising transportation costs, as most are imported. Markedly, sanctions against Russia have resulted in low supply of fertiliser globally of which Russia is world’s biggest producer. Consequently, it is incredible to imagine a farming business, weighed down by these factors, experiencing a sudden breakdown of critical lubricated mobile machinery in the throes of productivity.
Proactive predictive maintenance
The only sure-fire way to pre-empt the occurrence of a costly breakdown of critical machinery is through executing a proactive predictive maintenance plan. Fortunately, farmers have numerous advanced condition monitoring technologies at their disposal for their convenience. It is all a matter of making an informed choice on their exact needs.
Read Also: Oil sample analysis
Amongst several techniques that are employed in contemporary preventative maintenance is oil analysis. In different industries, oil analysis is now ranked as one of the most effective predictive maintenance interventions by engineers in across industries. Through oil analysis, which assures reliability and availability of machinery, guarantees that equipment is working optimally.
Oil analysis involves the scientific analysis of used oil sample and other fluids from mechanical and electrical systems. The data gathered from a machine or component provides insight into the condition of that asset. Then, based on this, a decision is made on whether or not remedial action should be taken on the asset to ensure optimal operating performance and its lifespan. Analysing an oil sample from a machine or a component can be likened to analysing a blood sample from a person: The results determine the health status of the unit, just like the results determine a person’s health.
Machinery downtime can be very costly, seeing the loss of productivity due to downtime, which translates into reduction in revenue, above and beyond unscheduled component replacement costs. Data on the estimated cost is obscure, but one thing is certain – it is astronomical and not worth gambling on. This is without mentioning the safety risks that machine failure can pose to operators or the machine itself when it is involved in an accident. Therefore, it has to be tackled promptly.
In a nutshell, if implemented as required, oil analysis in predictive maintenance is a worthwhile step which guarantees the following:
This is the time for Africa’s food producers to rise to the occasion, as the continent faces what could be easily – God forbid – the worst food shortage crisis in recent memory. There is a need for the agricultural sector to be aware of its role and gain insight into the value of investment in techniques that increase the availability and reliability of their mobile machinery. This is because their revenue is more likely to take a huge knock – any envisaged increase in food prices may be offset by huge increase in input costs. For this reason, farmers have to seek sustainable means of ensuring that their operations remain sustainable. Farming – food and animal production is a numbers game, where fine margins can make a huge difference. And the low-hanging fruit that is readily available for farmers to explore is predictive condition monitoring. There is a compelling business case for the agricultural industry to adopt oil analysis as one of the main techniques they employ in predictive condition monitoring to guarantee increased mobile machinery uptime.
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